Build Two Toddler Beds for $75

Friends! I’m so excited to tell you about this project. When we moved in, we decided to put two toddler-size beds in Oscar’s and Betty’s small bedroom, but every bed option that I loved was really expensive. Especially when you multiplied by two. So I decided to build my own.

Two super-simple, upholstered platform-ish beds. They are adorable. Especially side-by-side. They are low to the floor, so if Betty rolls off in her sleep, she won’t get hurt (this is Betty’s first bed since leaving her crib). They use crib-size mattresses, so they don’t have a big footprint. And they were a total bargain to build — $75 total for both. So I suppose that means you could build just one for about $37.

Here are the directions, in case you want to make your own. The instructions are for two beds, but if you only need one, just half everything. Or find a buddy who also wants to build a bed and work together.

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Part one: Build the base.

Materials to Build Two Beds (about $25):
-4 pieces plywood, 3/8″ thick. 10″ x 51″
-4 pieces plywood, 3/8″ thick. 10″ x 25″
(I had these pieces cut from one 4’x8′ piece of 3/8″ plywood that cost $8.)
-4 pieces of 2″ x 2″ wood. 48″ long
(I bought one 2 x 2 board that was 8′ long and had it cut in half. They are about $3 each.)
-2 pieces plywood, 1/4″ thick. 24″ x 48″
(These are typically available in this exact size for about $3 at Home Depot.)
-Screws #6, 1 1/4 inch.
(A box of 100 sells for about $5.)
-drill.

Directions:
-Make a rectangular box with the 10″ pieces of wood. Two short pieces and two long pieces. Attach with 3 screws on each side. This is easier if you pre-drill.
-On the long sides, make a mark at 2.5 inches along the outside and at 2 inches along the inside.
-Align one piece of the 2 x 2 inch wood so that the top hits just under the inside marks. Use clamps to brace or have a helper hold in place.
-From the outside of the box drill in along the 2.5 mark at 5 places along the rail. Repeat on other side of box.

-Lay 24 x 48 plywood on rails. Attach with 2 screws on each side.
And that’s it. The mattress will rest inside the two inch lip. Don’t worry if the box is a bit rough — if the screws aren’t perfectly aligned, etc. The box will be completely covered by fabric.

Before you start cutting wood, please read these Notes on Mattress Size:
I didn’t include the price of the mattress in the project because most people in need of a toddler bed will already have a crib size mattress from their crib. If you do plan to use a standard crib mattress, you’ll need to make adjustments to the size of the base. Standard crib mattresses are 52″ x 26″, which will be a bit too big for this base. But be sure to measure the mattress you own. They vary.

My crib mattress has been used by 5 kids and is failing. So we ordered two custom ones to fit the bases I’d designed. We ordered them from: The Foam Factory. 6 x 24.5 x 49.5 inches. $48 each. Free shipping if your order is over $75. So place your order with a buddy. : )

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Part two: The Upholstery.

Materials to Upholster (about $50):
-One full-size or queen-size package of hi-loft cotton batting
(This was $25 at JoAnns. Watch for sales or coupons and I’m sure you could get it cheaper.)
-About 4.5 yards of fabric. You could use much less if you don’t mind seaming it together. For each bed, you’ll need a strip of fabric 16 inches wide by 4.5 yards long.
(Fabric prices vary so much, that it’s hard to put this in a budget. In the $75 I mentioned in the title of this post, I’m allotting $25 for fabric. You could certainly spend more. And if you’re a bargain hunter, you could for sure spend less.)
-staple gun and staples

Directions:
-Roll out your cotton batting and fold over so you have a double thickness.
-Cut into 3 double-thick strips about 15 inches wide each. For each bed, you’ll use about 1 1/2 lengths of this double thick, 15 inch wide batting.
-Place the folded edge of the batting over the top edge of the bed frame. Attach it to the bed frame with a staple gun.

-Trim the corners, so that you can attach them more securely.
-Keep wrapping the cotton around until your length runs out. Then add the next length.
-Turn the bed over and pull the batting tightly around the bottom edge. Staple away.

-Once the batting is secure, it’s time to add the fabric.
-Measure and cut the fabric so that you have a 16 inch wide piece that is approximately 4.5 yards long. You could also piece 16 inch lengths together to make one long strip.
-Starting on the bottom of the bed, staple the fabric over the cotton batting.
-At the corners, just fold and staple tightly.
-Once you’ve gone around the bottom, turn the bed over. Fold the fabric underneath itself so the edges don’t fray, and staple the fabric over the cotton on the top edge as well.
-Where the fabric joins, fold the edge underneath itself and staple tightly. I put my seam at the head of the bed — that way it’s hidden against the wall.

Notes on fabric:
For my beds, I used Crypton Fabric. It might be the most family-friendly fabric out there. Super easy to clean. And since the fabric is attached to the bed frame, (and Betty is still having “accidents”), I was very interested in fabric I could clean easily and well. Crypton is perfect. I loved working with it. In fact, I’m thinking of using Crypton on a settee I’m having recovered as well.

And that’s it. And that’s it. You’re finished! It’s an easy project to do in an afternoon. And you can’t beat that price for two darling toddler beds. Good luck! And let me know if you end up making toddler beds of your own. I’d love to see pics.

Update: Well this is exciting. Design*Sponge is featuring this how-to post today as part of DIY Wednesday. Woot!

114 thoughts on “Build Two Toddler Beds for $75”

  1. This is the most incredible thing I have seen. I love it! It might be time to retire the toddler bed we have now (one of the planks keeps falling out…) and make this beauty!
    Thanks!

  2. ok, so I totally did something a little similar. I'm moving both my girls into the same room so I was trying to have to save money on headboards/frame. I covered the actual box spring and placed the mattress on top! the mattress doesn't fit inside the upholstered frame like yours. :( oh, well, my goal was to keep the beds low to the ground, too, and clutter from piling up underneath!

    I've only done one so far. now thinking maybe I'll fence in the box spring with wood and upholster that. hmmmm. or not. we'll see.

    thanks for the great ideas! :)

  3. You have saved me!! This is EXACTLY what we will be doing when my little one has to transfer to her "big girl" room. I've been so worried about the transfer to a big bed, this will give us an extension on her time in the just-right sized mattress. Thanks so much.

  4. I love this idea! I don't have kids, but I'll definitely pass this along. Can you tell us what that orange geometric fabric is?

    So pretty!

  5. that's so great! we are expecting baby # 2, and our 2 yo will have to share her room with baby, so a super cool toddler bed is in order (since who can fit a twin and a crib in 1 room?!) thanks for the GREAT idea, i'll let you know if we do it!

  6. This is perfect timing! Every modern toddler bed I found was over $500…which I hate to spend on a transitional piece of furniture anyway. Thanks!!

    Lesley @ sillynothings.com and midmodredo.com

  7. Darling!! Love the idea of low beds for toddlers.

    (Mattress idea: I bought a foam mattress at a furniture store, removed the fabric cover, and cut the foam for my project. For me, it was cheaper than buying the foam directly.)

  8. Thank you for posting this! We've actually been looking for something exactly like this for our little toddler. Also, thanks for the mattress idea. You're pretty much wonderful. :)

    Oh, and PS- the beds (and glimpses of the room) look fab!

  9. I altered my question a bit (hence the delete). Question for you: do you use foam mattresses for your other kiddos (ie, TWIN mattresses) or innerspring? I know opinions vary, but I want yours. :) Let me know when you get a spare minute. Thanks so much.

  10. Okay, this is exactly the bed my college student wants. She hates dust ruffles. I think I need to build in a queen size. Then when she changes apartments, it will be easier to move than what she has now. Love the diy!!!

  11. What a great idea. I've bookmarked it so I'll know where it is when the time comes to do this for my twin boys. It looks like something I could do myself with minimal help from hubby

  12. I love this too and want to try to make it in twin size for my 8 and 4 year old girls. I got to thinking that maybe the board that the bed actually sits on could have hinges on one size and a rope handle or something and it would be a great storage for off season clothes.

  13. thank you, thank you, thank you for this!! i have been agonizing over what to do when my baby boy is old enough to move to a big boy bed (baby #2 is on the way) but nothing, even the cheap beds, have been in my price range! i am so excited about this DIY because it is stylish, comfortable, AND works with my budget!

    quick question: since the mattress is not the same size as a crib mattress, what are you doing for a sheet? is it similar enough to use a standard crib sheet? or did you make your own?

  14. I'm planning on making this for my 18 month old this weekend. I've adjusted the dimensions to fit my standard crib mattress (and hope I got it right!). I'm wondering if you can tell me about the sturdiness of this bed. We're going to use it as a reading nook until she's ready to be in a big girl bed – so we'll likely be sitting one or even two adults with her on there at times…do you think it'll hold us?

    Thanks!

  15. Excellent! This inspires me to finally cover my son's box spring and let it sit on the floor — not quite the same effect but it will be a nice change!

  16. Hello,

    Just wanted to say thank you for posting the instructions online. Your project was execute wonderfully. I was about to leave to buy the materials when I decided to look for a possible “better” idea, and I found it! Originally, I was only going to put fabric on the back board and stain the wood to a darker color, but I think putting fabric around the hole thing is the way to go. Plus i don’t have to sand the wood. Thanks again
    “A dad on a mission”

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