Monday, March 7, 2016

Building a Kid's Loft Bed and First Room For Unde $100. AKA, DIY Hack Carpentry

I'm dreaming of my own room.
We only have one room for two kids to share for toys, a playspace and any private bedrooms. Our house is 1300 Sq Ft, with only three rooms upstairs, and a single bathroom.

I need my space man

Shaw was sleeping on the floor on a mattress while he was in the "learning how to use a real bed" stage, but with Ivy crawling around messing with his toys, something had to be done to get him his own space!

Bed's are too expensive

We started shopping for bunkbeds, but they are CRAZY EXPENSIVE! I grew up building things and my father and lots of folks in my community were carpenters and DIY "back-to-the-landers" so I figured I could hack together for much cheaper, and Shaw and Ivy would also benefit from seeing how to build things and save money. 

Goals, Parts, Plans, and Links. 

Are below.

Loft Bed Goals

  1. Safe
  2. Under $100.00 with very low waste wood.
  3. All lumber fit on or in a normal car (under 8 feet long)
  4. Simple tools only, a hand saw, drill gun, square, level, pencil, sandpaper.
  5. No fancy carpentry. 
  6. Both a bed, but not scary high up, and under the bed, a "room" with an anti-sibling door and wall. 
  7. Natural safe wood, with no stain or painting needed. 
Light activated night light down below. 
I got my own room. With a control center even!
I'm a big proponent of using old stuff as enrichment for kids. This metal wheel, computer keyboard, hing, keys, etc. was all "garbage" but he loves his "control center." Since birth Shaw's been crazy for any type of wheel's to turn.

 He loves his first door, with an inside anti-sibling latch. 
At last a reading and play space safe from the sister! 

Parts and Plans


  • Space 78” by 54” maximum outside
  • Mattress 74” x 38” x 09”  roughly. 


NOTE: I'm confirming this this week by measuring again, do your own confirming and sketchin on paper to make sure!

  • 100, 2.5” to 2.5” deck screws, self tapping, tightening with square drive.
  • 25, 1/4" screws for decking and rails.
  • 3, 2” x 6” x 8’. Supports for box frame with scrap for door.
  • 10, 2” x 4” x 8’ legs and rafters. (Try and get at least four pieces that are very straight and knottless with one pretty, non labeled, side for at least 59”)
  • ½" CDX rough plywood, PRECUT BY LUMBER YARD 40” by 78”.
  • 6, 1” x 3” x 8’. Railings. Thes can be 2 x 4"s

Cut List

At Lumber Yard. Having it cut at lumber yard saves hassle and makes a nice fit on top of car), keep scraps

  • ½” CDX rough plywood @ 40” x 78”

At home with a simple hand saw, or at the lumber yard.

  • 2” x 6” --- 2 @ 43” Side of main frame
  • 2” x 6” --- 2 @ 75” Ends of main frame
  • 2” x 4” --- 4 @ 59”. Remainder for bottom part of legs.
  • 2” x 4” --- 3 @ 37” Rafters for frame
  • 1” x 3” --- 4 @ ?
  • 1” x 3” --- 2 @ ?

Construction Photos

We started at the lumber yard. A fun activity any day!

$82.00.  Of course there was a second trip for some more screws and then an online order of handles.

Amazing screws they may nowadays! No drill needed, but they don't split wood, and they counter sink amazingly well, and even have a bit in each box.

Make sure to get 2 1/2" ones so you can sink them into the wood for a smooth surface, but also not have the point come out the other side of of the 3" thick 2x4s. 

It all fit on a normal car.

TIP: Get the plywood cut at the lumber yard, to size. It's only two quick cuts, with most yards will do for very cheap, or free. 

Bonding activity for sure.

Instead of 4"x4"s for the bed posts, I used 2x4s, with a short piece that the cross piece 2"x6"s can rest on to take the weight.

And the "slave" together the two 2 x4's.

And put the 2x6" accross.

Make sure everything is square and level at each step.

Simple 3/4" rough plywood on top.

Railing ended up being too low. But the extension I put on ended up being good because I can take it off in a few year if I want and still have a normal railing.

A first I used that white bed rail.

Then I build a rail extension.

With the 2x6" scrap I made a door simply by using slanted screws. They don't split the wood as easily like the old screws did, so this is possible to do.

Low waste.

I put on some handles at the end. He's wearing safety Goggles since were were using the drill gun. Starting good habits young.

Some Other Bunk and Loft Bed Plans


Pre-Made Bunks


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