The Wilde Olive Blog: DIY Toddler Bed


DIY Toddler Bed

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Around the time our son was going to turn two this past fall, my husband and I (mostly me at first) started cooking up a plan for a toddler bed. We used a hand-me-down crib that did not convert and every other bed in our home is way too high for him to transition to right now. My dream bed/room for him when he's maybe four involves this bed, but the price tag on it will have to wait for now.

When I started browsing pinterest, I did find a few tutorials that were kiiiinnd of what I was looking for but needed some tweaking. I was thinking simple platform bed, fits his crib mattress, not too high from the floor, safe, and white paint. So here is my vision and a lot of hard work from my husband! I will still have to adjust the decor in his room a little more because the crib left a big blank wall, so I hope to show you a finished room later this month or maybe next. If you are handy AT ALL you can do this! 

When building this bed we wanted to spend as little as possible but still have a solid sustainable bed that my husband and I could lay down on too when needed. We also needed it to be able to handle bouncing and general horse play! I have to say it does this well. My husband is 200+ lbs and lays down on it regularly and it doesn't make a creak. Of course, if you are not planning for it to hold an adult and general horseplay you probably wouldn't need all the supports we used below.

Most of our supplies came from Home Depot and are standard cuts of wood, however, you may be able to have some pieces cut if needed at your hardware store/lumber yard. Here's what you'll need! 


  • Two 1x8" Select Pine Lumber 8 ft long  (upgrade to Poplar if you are willing to spend more.) Frame
  • Two 2x4" by 8 ft long pieces of lumber Supports
  • 1 7/16" 4ft by 8ft OSB Sheathing (this is kind of like plywood) Platform Base
  • 1 Box 2 1/2 in screws
  • 1 Tube white caulk
  • 1 Small Tub DAP spackle
  • 4 small L brackets with 2 holes on each side.
  • 8 3/4" screws (for L bracket)
  • Paint or Stain


Start with the Frame:

  1.  Cut Pine exterior boards using a Compound Miter Saw (we borrowed one and have on more than one occasion)
    • Cut the two boards for the length of the bed 53 1/4" on the outside with a 45 degree miter joint.
    • Cut the two boards for the width 30" on the outside with a 45 degree miter joint.
    1. Stand up boards to assemble.
    2. Brace on bottom by screwing in L brackets close to the bottom on the inside of the bed frame (be sure to go low enough not to block the 2x4 support boards. Also be careful not to go out the front side of the board with the screw)
    Add the Supports:
    1. Using the miter saw cut 2x4" boards to make 5 supports. Each support will be 28 1/4" long.
    2. Mark with a pencil 2 1/2 inches down from the top of the frame boards on the inside at each of the 4 corners. (This will leave the mattress 2" inset from the top of the frame after you put the OSB Sheathing on top of the frame.) This will be the top of the 2x4 brace. Put one 2x4 brace at each end of the bed. Screw 2 screws at each end of each side of the exterior frame. This will hold the frame together. Be sure to line up your miter joints before securing the brace.
    3. Measure and Divide the remaining space between the braces by 4 and use that to measure the distance between the next 3 braces. Screw those in 2 1/2" down (the top of the 2x4) from the top of the frame with two screws on each end from the exterior of the bed. See photo above for brace spacing. 
    4. Be sure to set all screws in to the frame. You will spackle and paint over later. You don't want the screw flush or sticking out of the board. 
    Platform Base:
    1. Cut OSB Sheathing into a 52" by 28 1/4" piece using a jig saw
    2. Place sheathing on top of frame and screw into braces
    Check for sturdiness of course!

    The Finish:
    1. Caulk gap between sheathing and frame. Caulk miter joints.
    2. Spackle over the the screw holes. Let caulk and spackle dry.
    3. After spackle dries, sand flush by hand or with random orbital sander. I used a 100 grit to start then finished with a 120 grit. If spackle does not look flush after sanding reapply spackle and repeat this step
    4. Wipe down all surfaces with damp rag (not wet). Let dry
    5. Prime. Let dry.
    6. Paint

    It took us a few weeks to get around to the painting part, so I didn't get a picture of that process. We used a the semi-gloss with primer included that we use for our baseboards and trim. 

    Two weeks ago we put it in Jonah's room and he thinks it's great. For a while he told me "no" he wanted to stay in his crib, but this bed was taking up room in my extra bedroom/sewing/studio and I couldn't take it anymore. He was ready and he thinks its pretty cool. More on his transition later.

    When do you transition your kids our of their cribs?

    Here is  a peek at what his room originally looked like: Jonah's Nursery
    and what his room looks like today: Toddler Boy Room


    1. This is great! I'm so torn about what to do when our big kid finally trasnitions out of his crib ( not that I'm in a hurry, we're happy to keep him in baby jail as long as it's safe and he's not climbing out). I'm really tempted to go straight to a full bed, because we have an exta one and we've got the room for it, but I hate to think we might move eventually and have to downsize him later.

    2. Where are those curtains from? Loveee this :)

    3. How much did it end up costing you?

      1. Around $80 for the supplies we didn't already have. So most wood and screws.

    4. Hello
      Very nice project, I love it, but I have a doubt, on chipboard that you used for the bottom. Have you ever thought that certain materials emit toxic gases, such as formaldehyde. I studied the problem when I decorated my kids room. I have found that exist some companies that manufacture Montessori floor beds, 100% ecological and safe.


      1. OSB is done of the most ecofriendly material around. So much so, we're going to cover the interior walls of both our barndominiums with it, sealed with no-voc sealant. A very good option for interior building.

      2. OSB is done of the most ecofriendly material around. So much so, we're going to cover the interior walls of both our barndominiums with it, sealed with no-voc sealant. A very good option for interior building.

    5. Love this! Found it on pinterest. We have a crib that transitions into a toddler bed but I would really like a bed like this in my daughter's room when we move her to that option anyway. It would be much easier for her to get into! Did you use a rail at all to ensure that he didn't fall of the edge or did he do okay without that?
      Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

      1. No railing. We did put down some soft blankets for a little while bc there were a few spills onto the floor- down of which never even woke him up

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    8. Lovely!
      I also want to do the same one for my love son. With handtools, can i do it?

      1. Yes. I would say you would need to use nails instead of screws in that case and have the store miter the wood for you

    9. Great job! In my case, I went to the "lazy" route and just bought a ready-made toddler bed. Apart from the sander, did you use other power tools like a framing nailer?

      1. Thanks Kristine! We used a miter saw to so the corners of the main frame and a power drill/screw driver. We used wood screws- no nails in this project.

    10. I love this! Could the dimensions be increased for a twin bed?


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