A Big Boy Bed

The small bedroom makeover is still in progress, and the next step is a new bed! Since this is the bedroom with the ensuite bathroom, it will be where overnight guests stay, so the new bed has the accomodate two adults. However, 99.5% of the time it will be occupied by one little boy (and someday in the not-too-distant-future, likely his very large dog) so I didn’t want it to take up the entire room. When I came across this picture on Pinterest, I knew it was exactly what I wanted – a day bed with a pop-up trundle.


This picture comes from the Ana White site. She’s pretty amazing and posts all her plans online for free. This particular bed, though, was a modification from another one of her projects, so there weren’t any detailed plans I could use. After a lot of thought and conversations with Tony, I set up my own plan and went to buy materials. All the wood is pine or common board, so I was able to keep materials at under $100!

Materials and Cut List:

1 8ft. 4×4 Untreated Pine board (Cut in half at 48in. each for back posts)

5 8ft. 2x4s (2 at 36 in. for front posts, 2 at 43in. 40.5in. for side rails, 1 at 77in. for headboard, 1 at 79.5in.  for the front rail support)

13 8ft. 1x6s (28 at 32in. each for headboard and side piece slats, 4 at 38.5in. 36in. to hold slats together horizontally)

I love 1 8ft. 1×8 (Cut to 77in. and decorative cut made with jigsaw)

Wood Glue

1 box 1 1/4in. Kreg Jig screws

1 box 2 1/2in. Kreg Jig screws

1 box 1 1/2in. Kreg Jig screws

1in. Finish nails I already had on hand

I was able to buy and cut the boards in one weekend, then it took about 3 hours to sand them all down. I had to break that up between two days – sanding is hard work! I was okay with some imperfection, so I only did one round of sanding with 120 grit sand paper, and I was cognizant of where the boards would be placed on the bed. For example, I only sanded one side of the boards that would make up the headboard, because the back would be against a wall, and I didn’t sand the 2x4s that would support the mattress.


Tony cut my decorative top piece with the jigsaw. I’m really good with the miter saw, but those freehand saws still freak me out a bit. 


Time to Build!

Step 1: Assemble headboard

I first attached the two 4×4 posts to the 2×4 mattress base and the 1×8 decorative piece. By propping the 1×8 up on some scrap wood, it was level with the thicker 2×4. I used 1.5in. Kreg Jig screws to attach the 1×8 (even though the holes were drilled at .75in.) and 2.5in. KJ screws for the 2×4. I also put some glue between boards before screwing them together. Tony assured me this would be helpful.


Next I laid out all the vertical slats. My boards were just over 5.5in., which meant they were longer than my headboard, so Tony used the circular saw to cut .5in. off the two end boards. Three pops with nail gun per top and bottom of each board made thus step a snap.


The top is my 2×4 sits at 14.75in. Since were putting the pop-up trundle underneath, we had to match the height as exactly as possible.


Step 2: Assemble sides

This is the area that I deviated most from the inspiration image. Why? Because this bed is a beast, and I needed to reduce its footprint as much as possible! That’s why I chose to use a 2×4 as the front posts instead of another 4×4. That reduced some of the decor elements, but it also bought me a few inches of overall width.

The most important step here was drilling the Kreg Jig holes in the right places so as to hide as many of them as possible! Here’s a pic from the inside:


Attaching the 2×4 front post to the 2×4 side rail in the the right spot was probably the most challenging task of the day! 


Then the slats were laid down and nail gunned on.

The outside does have 4 sets of holes that will attach the side to the headboard. I did this intentionally so that the whole thing can be taken apart and moved. We will leave this house someday, and I’d hate to have to leave the bed behind!

After completing the left side, it was time to mirror it for the right.  This was my really big mistake of the project. Every project has one. I knew I needed to mirror the first side. I changed directions on the run to help me remember, then I ended up building the exact same thing, and I only realized it as I was attaching the last slatTony talked me off the ledge, I fixed the error, and I was off to the next step. 

Step 3: Attach the side pieces and build the front rail

This step had to be done in the bedroom for a couple reasons: 1) This thing is flipping heavy. I definitely couldn’t lift it all assembled. 2) Have I mentioned it’s HUGE? No way would it get through our narrow hallway.

Attaching the sides was easy with 9 2.5in. KJ screws. The front rail is just a 2×4 (to support the mattress slats) masked by a 1×6. I chose to install the 2×4 horizontally to maximize the amount of space for the trundle to roll underneath. It has 5 sets of KJ holes to attach it to the 1×6 and 2 sets on each side to attach it to the side rails.

And here’s the somewhat completed bed!

The next step will be finishing, sealing, and adding the mattress support slats!

Oh, and don’t worry – we didn’t work ALL of Thanksgiving Break!

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One Response to A Big Boy Bed

  1. Dad says:

    Another fabulous project!

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