When Ursula outgrew her crib, and then the conversion crib with only three sides, I decided to stretch the life of her very nice mattress further by turning it into a toddler bed (amazingly, she slept on this until recently, and she's six and a half). Even though I saw some nice ones, rather than buying a frame, I decided to save money and build my own for her.
This simple design allowed us to store her clothes underneath and fit into the side of the room without taking up too much of a footprint. The inspiration? Ursula said she wanted a "Princess Bed" so I went to work to create a version inspired by the Far East, complete with skins, lights, canopy and two heads.
WHAT YOU NEED
6 Pieces of cut 3/4" smooth birch plywood (all of these will come from one sheet)
- 2 side panels @ 28" x 22"
- 1 top panel @ 36" x 52"
- 1 bottom panel @ 28" x 48"
- 1 divider @ 28" x 12.5"
- 1 back panel @ 48" x 13.25"
1. Get Your Wood Cut - The nice thing about this project is that if you don't want to cut your own wood, you can just take the dimensions to your local lumber yard and have them quickly cut them out of one piece of plywood. That's exactly what I did, and then I rolled them home on a dolley and carried them up to our apartment.
2. Measure & Screw Pieces Together - Again, this should only take about 15 minutes as you sink 2-3 screws into the sides to keep them together. You will barely need to measure or mark, as the pieces want to fit together in the way they've been cut. Start with the bottom and the middle divider. Mark the middle on both edges and hold your divider at your marks while screwing in. Then attach the back panel, and then the top bed surface. Now you have a fairly stable platform with no sides.
Finally, position your sides with ends on the floor and screw the bottom in first and then to the top bed surface. The fit here is not square, but it is very strong as the sides angle up away from the base.
3. Staple Bed Skirt On - I used a bed skirt from a crib bed that I cut up and then stapled around the base of the wood frame. It is a nice way of hiding the wood and creating a covering for the opening, where you can store clothing or books.
4. Dress The Bed - Have fun and dress the bed in any way you want. I actually propped ours up on mugs to give it some lift off of the ground and then when to town covering it with sheepskins, blankets and pillows on each side. I also put pillows along the backside as the frame creates a nice space in the back for pillows and makes it double as a day bed.
5. Make it Princess - The final touch is the gauze canopy and the lights which hang within or from it. The canopy is a 100% cotton one that I found at Amazon here, and the lights are LED and amazing and can be left on as a nightlight when needed. They can be found at Resto here. The bed skirt is from Matteo and the fake fur is from Restoration Hardware.
And one final pic showing it in a daily, unstraightened up state, but you can see how nicely it fits into the small room.