Building A Bunk Bed

Bunk Bed with Chalk Board Wall

The kids new bunk bed is finished and we love it! It fits the back wall in their room so well and really opens up the floor for playing. Emma loves being able to sleep on the top bunk and Brendan transitioned out of his crib into the bottom bunk even better then we expected.

Building a Bunk Bed - full side view

We used Ana White’s building plans for her Classic Bunk Beds. I love the simple lines of it and the fact that the top bunk rail is so substantial and integrated into the whole design. It’s perfect for young sleepers.

The smartest part of the whole design is that each of the four sides are built separately and then bolted together. So it’s easy to disassemble if we want to move it at some point in the future.

Building a Bunk Bed at Our Home Notebook

We followed the building plans pretty closely, making a few adjustments to better suit our needs. We switched the ladder to the left hand side of the bed, instead of the right side where it was originally, because it made more sense in our space.

Building a Bunk Bed - front view

As stated in the comments of Ana White’s plan, you will need a little more wood then is on the shopping list. We bought two extra 1″ x 4″ boards that were 6′ long for the front rails on the top bunk, which worked out perfectly. We also bought enough wood for thirteen 1″ x 3″ mattress slats for each bunk, which she suggests you calculate yourself, depending on your mattress recommendations.

Building a Bunk Bed - ladder

We used peel and stick velcro to secure the mattress slats to the side rails, once the bed was finished and assembled. We wanted something that would hold them in place, but also be easily removable in case we need to take it down to move it at some point in the future. The velcro seems to do the job perfectly!

Building a Bunk Bed - velcro to hold mattress slats in place

Building a Bunk Bed - assembled

We bought sixteen 2-3/4″ long carriage bolts to assemble the pieces of the bed together, placing them between the rails so the ends wouldn’t be in the way. Dan got acorn nuts to use with them so there wouldn’t be any sharp edges on the inside.

Building a Bunk Bed - corner bolts with acorn nuts

To finish the bed we used our favourite dark brown stain, Minwax’s Dark Walnut. To protect the wood we used a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil followed by a coat of Minwax’s Paste Finishing Wax for extra durability and that soft sheen that I love so much. It compliments the rustic feel of the wood beautifully.

Building a Bunk Bed - wood finish

Emma and Brendan were so excited to get it set up in their room! Brendan’s been sleeping on his big bed like a champ and it was so sweet to see him go to sleep in it that first night as if he’d been doing it for forever. He looks so little in that big bed but I know it won’t be long until he fills it out!

Building a Bunk Bed - kids playing

Emma loves having the top bunk and keeps a bunch of her favourite things up there to go to bed with. I’ve been finding pencils, paper, tape, books and a doll or two around her blankets after rest time so she’s been having a lot of fun up there!

Do you have bunk beds for your kids? Isn’t it amazing how much they can open up a room?

Building a Bunk Bed - the new bed

Linked to: City Farmhouse, Craftberry Bush, AKA Design, Miss Mustard Seed, Remodelaholic, Tatertots & Jello, The Blissful Bee

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    • says

      Thanks! It’s always a hard call isn’t it? When to buy and when to make? I went back and forth a bit on what to do for our kids as well but finding a building plan we loved so much made it easier to decide to go for the build this time.

  1. says

    Your bunk bed turned out great and looks about my level of diy.

    For your finish, what would you say the Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil adds? Your blog says to protect the wood, but I’m not sure I know what that means. Would I be alright with just the stain and finishing wax? Also, did you stain and finish first, then assemble?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Thanks Dale! As far as finish goes, the hemp oil and finishing wax are both top coats that are applied on top of your stain and protect the wood finish from wear and tear. You can use them together but you can definitely just use the finishing wax to protect the wood. I prefer using finishing wax in most cases, as I love the soft sheen it has.

      The hemp oil was a bit of an experiment for us, as I’d never tried it before, but I think I’ll end up using it on more rustic furniture pieces in the future, as it’s super easy to put on and does a good job of protecting the wood, but it doesn’t leave an actual soft layer of finish on top of the wood like the finishing wax does, which I like for most pieces. For our master bed we just used the finishing wax and it’s held up beautifully so I think you’d be fine with that!

      As for when to do it, we decided to build the entire bed first, then we unbolted the four sides from each other to stain them and add the top coat. After it was all dry we brought it into the bedroom and bolted the four side together again and added the mattress slats with velcro.

      Hope that helps! Have fun building.

  2. Dan says

    Hi, your bed is beautiful! I am preparing to build a bunk bed based on the same design. I, too, would like to use carriage bolts so that the head lays flat as possible, how did you cut out for the square neck of the bolts?

    • says

      Thanks, Dan. We didn’t actually cut a square hole for the carriage bolt to rest in. As we tightened them up we drew the neck of the bolt into the wood until the head was flush. The neck of the bolts were so small that seemed to work well. Happy building!

  3. Court says

    Hi! I know this post is from a while ago, but I just found it on Pinterest and I love your version of these bunk beds! I’m thinking of making the same ones, but am having a hard time deciding what type of wood to use. What kind of wood did you use for these?

  4. Karen says

    Hi there! We are just about done sanding our kids’ bunkbeds, and I was wondering what kind of mattresses you are using? We have a standard thickness mattress for the bottom bunk but need to find something for the top bunk. Thanks!

    • says

      We actually used standard single mattresses for both the top and bottom bunks, but it really depends on how thick your mattresses are. Our mattress on the top bunk comes up to the middle of the second slat so there’s plenty of railing depth around the bed still. I hope you find one that works for you, Karen!

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