Sunday, May 1, 2016

DIY Bunkbed

We have needed a new bed for our girls for months. They share a room and Sidda has been sleeping on a day bed and Anya on a toddler bed. But the toddler bed just wasn't cutting it anymore. Anya was just getting too big and wasn't having a good night sleep any night... ever.

But we couldn't just get a new twin bed. The room would be stuffed if we second bed was added. So the search was on to find a bunk bed for the girls.

But here's the problem. Good quality sturdy bunk beds are completely out of our price range. And we had no desire to get a cheap one that would fall apart in a matter of months.

So, Michael decided it he wanted to take this on and build a bunk bed for a reasonable price that would last and be sturdy.

I'll let him explain the rest.


This was a big deal for me. My other woodworking endeavors include: a planter... which is still standing and functioning though. I  looked online for different plans and other DIY sites, but these guys had thousands of dollars of tools at their disposal. So I pulled out a pencil and paper and started drawing and doing some arithmetic.

My main concern in this whole project was not having a pancake for an Anya. I wanted to be sure the top bunk didn't fall and there was no wobble factor whatsoever. I kept thinking of for a bed on top of another, but couldn't get comfortable with the support. I finally had an aha moment while at work and came down and drew up plans. I looked at the Lowes website to figure out cost and measurements and the time to get the wood was ready.

As follows is the step by step I went through and some thoughts:

Starting at the top I measured the twin mattress in Sidda's bed. I wanted to make sure I didn't build and entire bunk bed only to have the mattress not fit. I went with 76" x 36" It left, in theory, about an inch and a half of wiggle room for sheets.

Next picture straight down is deciding that the entire bed would be supported by 4 4x4 post. This was in my wheelhouse, because it's how I made the raised planter. I went with 2x6's for the frames for each mattress so the mattress wouldn't pop over too much. I also liked a nice sturdy piece of would that would serve as the main framework for the bed. No wobbly here folks. The 4 post would go on the outside with the 2x6x76's attached directly to the board. A 1x2x76 would attach to each of those to hold the slates that hold the mattress up.

Picture to the right is the bread and butter of the support for the top bunk. It's the difference between just hoping screws would hold up the bed and using gravity to my advantage. It'll make sense in a second. So the 2 6's in the picture are the bed frame. Those are attached to the post. Well directly below and above each frame are 2x4's that atttch to the post. SO the top bunk is not only attached to the post via screws. It was a dedicated 2x4 system holding it up as well using gravity to furthur secure it into place. Even if the screws fail from the frame to the post it has another system holding it. Genius? I don't know maybe...

The picture down from the frame and to its' right is the spacing for the slates. And the final picture below is some math to help me cute out my genius support system.



These two pages are the math. I calculated what size wood I would be purchasing, what cuts I would make from that wood, I boxed the working cuts and how much would be left over, which were starred as extra. This gave me my shopping list for lumber. I'm not going to comment much more. The handwriting is illegible for the most part but it makes sense to me. 

Now was time for the shopping.


And you'll see some of that wood is being held up by a sweet mobile table that I could not have done this project without. Now time for the cutting. Unfortunately, I only had a circular saw. A miter saw would be an infinite times amount better. Next time I need to cut wood I'll need to save up for a miter first. Here is it cut:

That took quite a while but the Behemoth of a task was yet to come: Sanding. I had a power sander and went through about 30 sheets of sandpaper through out maybe 5 hours of work over a couple of days but how glorious the wood looked and felt:



Next was time to stain and then seal the wood. We, because Jessica helped(she's gorgeous by the way), we stained three sides of the wood. Flipped it a couple of hours later and stained the other side. We waited a few days then sealed three sides, then a couple hours later sealed the 4th: 
see, beautiful

Now the moment of truth had arrived. I really had to build this things. No instruction sheets, no manual, no wizened old sage to direct my motions. It was me, my drill and my clamps. I built the the sides first:


Man it took so long just to build one side now I had to do it all over again. But it was strong and level and looked pretty good. Here's a side view of the rails that will hold the slates: 

You can also see above and below the 2x6 my genius 2x4 supports doing their job. Everything was screwed on to each other. No nails, no glue.

I kinda decided on the fly that I would attach the slates to each frame first to make absolutely sure the mattress would fit. It wasn't meant to support the frame, just make sure that everything was going to fit. And it did:

Everything looked great, plenty, but not to much room for the mattress so now it was time for the side rails and ladder.

The side rails and ladder would be built into the frame. It all held the bed together and was firm and looked nice. The final screw going in:

Just add two mattresses and some sheets and some super excited kids:

It doesn't wobble or sway, so possibly not earthquake resistant... but Sidda gets up no problem, only one hit to the head from the fan, and Anya uses a little stool to pop in her bed. She stays in bed all night, praise the Lord!

Jessica and I walk by and she makes me feel proud and I feel proud for providing something my family needed with my two hands. I've already promised MJ a loft bed and now the project list is getting big. Thank you God for allowing me this family and this time.

And there you have it!

Michael did an awesome job and the kids have been sleeping on it for the past week and there is no squished baby, no falling off issues, just full nights of great sleep.


And it here is a picture of Michael with the bed he made!