How to Build a Fort Bed

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 05/06/2010 - 21:17
Difficulty
Intermediate
| Print this plan

A simple fort bed for creating an elevated children's sleeping space. Can be used upside down.




I have a present for you.  Mom to mom, think of it as a Mother's Day Present.  Because another amazing Mom gave it to me.

It's at the very bottom of this post.  And it looks like this:


And it WORKS!  That's right, we have a WORKING PRINT button!  I tested it out myself, and it is perfect! To find the print button, you must scroll to the very bottom of the plan, right above the comments.  You must be on the post page, and not the main page.  And no, it's not a third party software or anything like that, it is quite simply, a print button.

And please, don't thank me.  I can hack furniture, but hacking blogger, hmmmm . . . that takes someone Very Special.  Very Very Special.



Jessica from Very Baby was kind enough to give us all a working Print Button.  Despite running multiple businesses and being a Mom, Jessica took her time to figure out how to save us all some ink!  So if you have a second, you can drop over and visit Jessica at Very Baby


Those are cloth diapers.  I've never found myself (should I ever have a second child) looking forward to changing diapers, but these cloth diapers make me forget what diapering is really all about.  And here's the real kicker - Jessica sells the PATTERNS to make these diapers (and all the supplies).


Right down to the little tags marking the size and proudly displaying that your cloth diapers were home sewn.  I cannot think of a better (and more unique) baby shower gift!


Thanks for the Mother's Day present, Jessica.  I love it, probably not as much as I'm going to love my fingerpainted card Grace is "secretly" making me or the pancakes my husband will whip up (even if they are from a box), but the print button is definitely a day maker!

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Oh, and one more suprise!  Yesterday I felt a little guilty putting up a teen loft bed and not a tot one too.  So Grace and I went "shopping" in Google Sketchup and came up with this . . .

And Grace (and my niece Hannah) called it a "fort bed"


Because they want to hang curtains up and make a fort.  Your creativity is your only limitation on this project.

Image from Ohdeedoh

This bed (purchased from IKEA) got the chalkboard treatment.  Love this idea!


Overall Dimensions are show above.  Click on READ MORE below.
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 This free furniture plan was brought to you by

mamachee

Thanks Mamachee!  Love your patterns!
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Shopping List


1- 4x8 Sheet of 3/4" Particle Board
4 - 1x2 Boards, 8' Long
7 - 1x3 Boards, 8' Long
11 - 2x2 Boards, 8' Long
3" Screws
1 1/4" Screws
Wood Glue
Finishing Supplies

Tools


Saw
Measuring Tape
Square
Level
Drill or Screwgun with countersink bits

Cut List


1 - 3/4" Particle Board @ 39" x 11 1/2" (Open End Panel Board)
1 - 2/4" Particle Board @ 39" x 46" (Closed End Panel)
7 - 1x2 @ 39" (Panel Trim Pieces)
1 - 2x2 @ 39" (Bottom of Open Panel End)
4 - 2x2 @ 46" (Legs)
3 - 2x2 @ 16" (Ladder Rungs)
5 - 2x2 @ 75" (Side Panel Full Length Boards)
3 - 2x2 @ 57 1/2" (Ladder Panel Guardrail Boards)
14 - 1x3 @ 39" (Slats)


Overall Dimensions are shown above.  Composition is pine boards and 3/4" sheet goods, particle board would be inexpensive and effective for this application.

General Instructions


Cut all of our boards and finish individually.  You should assemble this bed in the room.  You can assemble the "panels" as shown in the steps in your garage and move into the room and then assemble the panels.  You should always work on a clean level surface and check for square after each step.  Be safe, have fun, use good boards, you know the drill.  Oh, and predrill your screw holes!


Step 1: Open End Panel { Part 1 }
Fasten with glue and screws the 1x2s to the particle board.  This can be a permanent joint.


Step 2: Open End Panel { Part 2 }
Fasten the legs and the bottom end panel piece to the legs as shown above.  Use 3" screws.  Predrill your screw holes.  Use glue, as this can also be a permanent joint.


Step 3: Closed End Panel { Part 1 }
Build your closed end just like your open end, first by gluing and screwing with 1 1/4" screws the trim boards to the particle board pieces.


Step 4: Closed End Panel { Part 2 }
Add the legs with 3" screws and glue.  Keep outside edges flush.


Step 5: Ladder Side Panel
Construct the ladder side panel as shown above, using glue and 3" screws.


Step 6: Back Rail Boards & Bottom
Using 3" screws, attach the back boards as shown above.


Step 7: Slats
With every plan, there is a tricky part.  And putting these slats on is going to be your tricky part.  OPTION #1: You could screw from the outsides of the sides of the bed into the ends of the slats, but then you have lots of screw heads showing.


OPTION #2 You could also glue and screw a 1x2 on edge to the rails.


OPTION #3 If you have a Kreg Jig, you could drill pocket holes and fasten to the rails in this manner


OPTION #4 If you've got teenagers using the bed, steel angle like this piece would both strengthen your rails and fasten your slats to your rails.  Simply screw with 1 1/4" screws to the inside of the rails and rest your slats on top.  From underneath, use a couple of screws to fasten your slats down.

Notes


To make your bed even stronger or to take an "wiggle" out, you can use Simpson Strong tie like the one below at the corners of the legs.

In return for providing you with free furniture plans, I request that you add comments on your building experience to assist other building the same projects. Photos of your work is greatly appreciated, please add to our flickr brag board group www.flickr.com/groups/knockoffwood .*** ***All rights reserved. Private use only. Plans from this page are not to be used for commercial purposes or republished without the express written consent of the publisher, Ana White, Knock-Off Wood*** ***While I do strive to produce accurate plans, I cannot guarantee each plan for accuracy. Not every plan that I post have I had the opportunity to build myself. Some plans have not been tested. It is recommended that you draw out the plans and have a clear understanding of how the project will fit together before beginning. I hope that if you do find a flaw in any plans, you will contact me immediately***

Dimensions
Overall Dimensions are shown above. Composition is pine boards and 3/4″ sheet goods, particle board would be inexpensive and effective for this application.

Preparation

Shopping List

1- 4×8 Sheet of 3/4″ Particle Board
4 – 1×2 Boards, 8′ Long
7 – 1×3 Boards, 8′ Long
11 – 2×2 Boards, 8′ Long
3″ Screws
1 1/4″ Screws
Wood Glue
Finishing Supplies

Common Materials
120 grit sandpaper
primer
wood conditioner
paint
paint brush
Cut List

1 – 3/4″ Particle Board @ 39″ x 11 1/2″ (Open End Panel Board)
1 – 2/4″ Particle Board @ 39″ x 46″ (Closed End Panel)
7 – 1×2 @ 39″ (Panel Trim Pieces)
1 – 2×2 @ 39″ (Bottom of Open Panel End)
4 – 2×2 @ 46″ (Legs)
3 – 2×2 @ 16″ (Ladder Rungs)
5 – 2×2 @ 75″ (Side Panel Full Length Boards)
3 – 2×2 @ 57 1/2″ (Ladder Panel Guardrail Boards)
14 – 1×3 @ 39″ (Slats)

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Drill
Circular Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Cut all of our boards and finish individually. You should assemble this bed in the room. You can assemble the “panels” as shown in the steps in your garage and move into the room and then assemble the panels. You should always work on a clean level surface and check for square after each step. Be safe, have fun, use good boards, you know the drill. Oh, and predrill your screw holes!

Instructions

Step 1

Open End Panel { Part 1 }
Fasten with glue and screws the 1x2s to the particle board. This can be a permanent joint.

Step 2

Open End Panel { Part 2 }
Fasten the legs and the bottom end panel piece to the legs as shown above. Use 3″ screws. Predrill your screw holes. Use glue, as this can also be a permanent joint

Step 3

Closed End Panel { Part 1 }
Build your closed end just like your open end, first by gluing and screwing with 1 1/4″ screws the trim boards to the particle board pieces.

Step 4

Closed End Panel { Part 2 }
Add the legs with 3″ screws and glue. Keep outside edges flush.

Step 5

Step 6

Back Rail Boards & Bottom
Using 3″ screws, attach the back boards as shown above.

Step 7

Slats
With every plan, there is a tricky part. And putting these slats on is going to be your tricky part. OPTION #1: You could screw from the outsides of the sides of the bed into the ends of the slats, but then you have lots of screw heads showin

Step 8

OPTION #2 You could also glue and screw a 1×2 on edge to the rails.

Step 9

OPTION #3 If you have a Kreg Jig™, you could drill pocket holes and fasten to the rails in this manner

Step 10

OPTION #4 If you’ve got teenagers using the bed, steel angle like this piece would both strengthen your rails and fasten your slats to your rails. Simply screw with 1 1/4″ screws to the inside of the rails and rest your slats on top. From underneath, use a couple of screws to fasten your slats down.

Step 11

Notes
To make your bed even stronger or to take an “wiggle” out, you can use Simpson Strong tie like the one below at the corners of the legs.

Help Improve This Plan

We apologize if there was an error in this plan. Please help us out and report any errors here.

Comments

Keri Ann (not verified)

Sat, 08/14/2010 - 10:50

Ana,
We made this bed last night, it cost us about $175 for a FULL modification, we made it with pine and metal L brackets and self sinking deck screws. We also added 1x3 to the bottom of the slats and side supports with another 2" to accomidate for the thick mattress and a decorative 1x3 on the top of the header and footer. I love it! Our extra toddler matterss fits in the bottom for our 3 year old to spend the night or doubles as a couch with the help of old crib bumper that I modified. I just havent decided to either laquer or paint navy blue.....our other furniture in the room is pine as well.... Thanks. I look forward to building more!!!! (this is our first KOW build!) Will post brag photo!

Sandra (not verified)

Sat, 08/14/2010 - 18:20

Keri Ann - I was wondering if you could post your FULL size modifications to this bed. My husband and I were just looking at this plan wishing it was full size. Thanks!

Greg (not verified)

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 12:58

I made one of these for my son, and had a blast building it, too! Our son's room has a 6-1/2 foot ceiling and slopes even lower over his bed, so when my wife saw your plan for a mini loft bed and saw that it fit the space, she was very excited.

Now, your "rules" say that the "price" of using your plans is to tell you how they turned out, so here goes:

First, there is a piece missing from your cut list (*GASP*). The missing piece is the inner leg of the ladder, which is 2 x 2 @ 44-1/2". Luckily, I had some trellis pieces that were 2x2, and once painted it looked just like the other pieces.

There is also a tricky point in the assembly, where that same inner ladder leg meets the platform for the bed. There are two pieces of wood to be attached at the same height on opposite sides, the top ladder rung and the front crossbeam of the platform. These can't be screwed together without committing a "Sin of Carpentry", i.e., driving the screws at an angle and hope it'll be okay :-). Again luckily, I've been squirrelling away spare Ikea bits for years, so I have lots of 3/4" pegs. I drilled a 3/4" hole through the inner leg, drilled a hole into the end of the two cross pieces, glued in the pegs, and attached them that way.

FYI, we painted the panels white with magnetic primer (instant magnet boards!), and the rods red. The color scheme combined with the visible screw heads looks somewhat a fire engine with rivets all over.

During construction, I pre-drilled a few holes in the wrong places; I hid the extra holes by screwing in more 1-1/4" screws.

Another thing I noticed was that, the completed bed had 4" to 6" of sway in the head-to-foot direction, enough that I didn't think the loft was safe to sleep in without cross braces. With a red-and-white bed to work with, I purchased shelf brackets, about 8 inches deep, metal, and already painted white. Couldn't ask for more, especially because the color matched.

Our son loves it! He prefers sleeping on a mattress "inside" the loft, in other words, on the floor. We had two twin mattresses from a trundle bed we've had since *I* slept in it as a little kid, so with the smaller (33" wide) mattress in the 39" loft, we filled in the gap with a body pillow, several stuffed animals, and a life-sized stuffed emperor penguin ... but that's a different story!

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 04/27/2011 - 17:57

What would you say would be a good size to make this as a toddler bed? This would be my first project lol so I dont want to mess it up!

Kirk Lorange (not verified)

Mon, 02/20/2012 - 19:33

Thanks for inspiring me to build this bed. My 4 year old daughter was promised one from IKEA but after finding this page and doing my sums, I realized I could buy all the materials PLUS the power tools need for less that the cost of the IKEA model.

I used a 'cross halving joint' where the top rung seems to meet the mattress support. IKEA use a metal pin affair, I notice someone else here screwed at an angle, but the cross halving joint is the best, I reckon. The mattress support beam is one piece, the ladder upright is one piece. Simply cut away half of each piece where they cross over and bob's your uncle. I used glue and a couple of screws to secure it.

I also used panels for the sides rather than rails. My daughter wanted it like the IKEA bed, so I routed out grooves in my 2X2s and slid the panels in during assembly. It all worked out well, you just need to be very accurate in measuring everything. I had never used a router before and I practiced on some extra bits of timber.

I left one panel out of the end and added a shelf so my daughter could play shop or café. It also took away from the boxiness and claustrophobic vibe that I felt before I did that. I had already installed all four, so I had to cut and rip it out with my router and bare hands, but I'm glad I did.

Finally, I added two diagonal braces, one to the end and one to the side. It was quite wobbly before I did that but it's solid as a rock now. My wife and daughter will put some curtains inside and it will all be hidden.

The slats sit on wood rails, only about 3/4 of an inch thick, which I glued and screwed on. I then screwed the slats onto the rails, so it's all very solid.

All the screws are countersunk, the holes filled with wood putty and we painted it all white.

Click the link below for a picture, I only just finished it so it hasn't been decorated yet. We bought a hood from IKEA and we'll attach it as soon as the paint is completely dry.

http://www.kirklorange.com/pics/bed.jpg

Cheers and thanks again inspiring me to become a woodworker!

Kirk Lorange

CharityW0314

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 12:13

I bought this exact bed from IKEA! Two in fact! Talk about a lot money spent! We got one for our then 7 ear old son and 3 year old daughter! I could saved a lot of money if I built them myself! 1st piece of advice is assemble in the room as they are big and heavy! Secondly we went to Lowe's to the swing set section and bought the rubber heavy duty handles you attach to swin sets (can be spray painted) we added one on each side of the top front of the ladder, and also one on the very top of the edge of head board near the ladder. This was to insure that the kids could safely get up and down it as there is not much area to grab on too! We also store bought bed side, slip under mattress safety rail to ensure no accident roll outs as sides are not to high with mattress. They work great! Just few tips we have picked up so far! A final thought though my kids have wanted the under side of theirs closed off to make a hide out area. I'm trying to decide between a solid maybe painted/decorated plywood piece with opening for "door" or some kind of rod/curtain enclosure. Would love to hear anyone's advice/suggestions!

KireneF

Sat, 07/20/2019 - 19:45

I am so glad that I found these plans. I had seen the bed made from IKEA cabinets that provided a hidden space underneath the bed. Unfortunately, my daughter has a small bedroom, and the IKEA cabinet bed idea doesn't work well with a twin size bed. That's when I found this plan. I modified it to include a headboard and enclosed the bottom, using 1x6 boards to create shelving. The result is this:

Image may contain: indoor

 

The cabinet on the left opens to a crawl through to a hidden area under the bed. My daughter says it turned out even better than she imagined! Thank you for the inspiration. Reading through your detailed plans and the comments made me think I could take on this project despite being a novice who has never built anything before.