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.


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.)

-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. : )


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

-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!

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

  1. This is one of the best ideas I have ever seen! I couldn’t help but fall in love with that polka dot pillow. Where did you find it?

  2. I found your blog about a month ago when I was investigating prices on toddler beds and daybeds with trundles for our twin girls.
    We decided to wait awhile since the girls have not attempted to climb out until one of our twins became entrapped against the side rail and the mattress. The very next day we threw out the cribs and built these!
    Thank you sooo much!! They are just adorable and my husband was so proud to have built these!

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  5. I see that it has not been long since your original post, yet I am wondering what your experience with the foam mattresses have been so far. Have you used them before? How long do they last? Have your children found them comfortable? What do you see as the pro’s and con’s of using these?

  6. Great little project but please note, something to consider when dealing with foam mattresses. Foam is very flammable. Some foams have a flame retardant added to them and others do not. It may be a good idea to buy or use only flame retardant foams for a mattress. These are usually refereed to as”B” grade foams and are good enough to also be used in aircraft as well. To get this foam, one would need to go to an upholstery shop and request such a foam. The foam will be more money, but it will last longer, be more comfortable and can mean everyone sleeps better knowing you go the right foam.

  7. Love love love this project….we are about to begin the process of the toddler bed transitions and this will be so great for our twins!!! I have been looking and looking and haven’t found anything that I like without having to take out a loan for them!!! :) But I am so glad that you decided to share this and this WILL be our next project so that I can get the twins into them by Jan, when they turn two!! Wish me luck and the room looks great!

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  10. I am so excited that i found this site!!! I have been searching all over the internet to find two toddler beds for my grandsons that have recently moved in but everything I found is so expensive. I love to build things and this is such a wonderful idea. I am defently doing this.
    Thanks again one happy grandma

  11. Hi there!

    I just discovered you and wow…..I am so grateful!

    I love this project and was wondering if perhaps you think I could convert the dimensions to make 2 twin beds? I have two daughters, 4 and 2 and would love to make these beds for them. What do you think?

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  13. I was looking for a new toddler bed for our daughter and I came across your blog and fell in love with these beds. We made one and it was so easy. We had to adjust for a standard crib mattress, but we adjusted perfectly! I made a few alterations; 1.) I used a thicker piece of plywood and only had to use one sheet. I used the same thicker wood where the mattress lies instead of a thinner piece. 2.) I sanded the corners and sides so it was slightly rounded all around. I could just see my daughter some how managing to bust her head on a corner, even with the padding. I also used a whole bag of the batting on just our one bed.

    I am so pleased! I adore this and so does my daughter! The total cost for us was $42 for the wood, batting, fabric, and screws. I have to say too, that this bed is far more sturdy than any toddler bed I’ve ever seen. I can sit, stand, lay on this bed and it’s no problem :)

    Thanks again for the awesome tutorial! You can see my pics here

    1. So…I know it’s 2 years later. And I see that your blog post is not there. :( So on the off chance that you see this, Andria, could you give me your adjusted dimensions, pretty please? I need to make a couple of these STAT for my currently-sleeping-on-the-floor-because-they’re-too-little-for-bunks twins. (Their room is too small for two twin beds – I’m not just mean. lol) I just want to be sure the dimensions are correct since we already have crib mattresses. Thanks!

  14. Thank you SO much for sharing this idea! I am going to make one for my grandson! He will soon be 2 so this is the perfect size for right now!

  15. This is my favorite post! Mighty Nest just put a link to your blog on fb and I saw the “10 posts to get you started”…I am glad this was one of them!! I think I first saw this sometime in 2010 and at one time I remember searching for this post again, not remembering the blog name, and so relived when I found it! I love the fabric and colors!

  16. I loved this so much I went out and bought everything i need to build it right away!!
    I am a mother of one… soon to be two and I hated the idea of taking my not even 2 daughter out of her crib to give it to the new baby so we look to find a toddler bed that we liked and found this site! Honestly one of the best beds I have found to build and very cheap too!! I only needed one 4’x8′ to build this bed($28). I made some tweeks to its design… added some extra support beams from side to side and also made the head board a little of double the height. I can’t wait till it is complete so I can put photos up!! Thank you so much for making this post!!

  17. Just what I was looking for.Converting my 10×10 study into shared grandkid’s room.Have crib 4 infant,but no space for a twin for toddler.Just happen to have a crib mattress&spring from non-code crib we replaced.This is so great! Thanks for the idea,pic&espec.instructions,including measurements.I’ve finally found a way to make this space WORK,inexpensive& adorable at the same time.Greatful that you shared your brainstorm w/us.PS-my college son has a platform&this never crossed my mind for use with the crib mattress(+it has slats-ug!)

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  20. Great post. These look great. We have very small space and baby #2 will arrive in April. I wonder how you like the plywood. Are they safe for children. Is it possible to get solid wood pieces? Thank you.

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  22. Wow! These are gorgeous. Now that we have our second child I’ve been consciously thinking about how I will arrange the room when the baby becomes a toddler. This is such a great idea. So simple and elegant.

    Thank you for sharing!

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  24. I loved this idea so much that we decided to build a bed for our daughter, who will be transitioning out of her crib to make room for her soon-to-arrive baby sister. We adjusted the dimensions to fit a twin mattress and also made a headboard upholstered with the same batting/fabric technique. Thanks so much for inspiring us yet again to create something unique for our little one! You can check out the result here:

  25. My husband and I made this to replace the crib for our granddaughter who has frequent sleepovers! She helped by handing grandpa tools (mostly ones he didn’t need) and coloring on the wood before we covered it. As soon as the top was nailed on she grabbed her bear and curled up on the wood and said “me sleeping.” So, even before we finished it – she got it!! It looks amazing and then I went to local fabric remnant store and bought enough material for a quilt and matching pillow! I LOVE THIS!!! Thank you for sharing!

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  27. I am considering having my boys share a room and love the idea of making their beds! I am concerned that the room isn’t large enough for a two standard twin beds but now I have a solution! Thank you for much for sharing! LOVE IT!

  28. Great tutorial! Thank you for sharing! But I had a question on the foam mattress you selected. What type of foam was it? Grade? Poly? Was it 6 inch thick? I am curious to see how it has held up and how you have it covered. Do you just put a sheet on it? or someone other solution?

    1. I had the same question! I see you posted this question about a year ago; did you end up ordering foam mattresses? If so, what has your experience with them been like? I’m looking at ordering a couple for my girls – I made these beds, but measured a little off somehow, and their crib mattresses are slightly too wide (no matter since they’re a bit worn out anyway). I’m just leery of ordering a foam mattress if it isn’t going to hold up. Thanks!

  29. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tutorial! I am going to have my husband make this with me for our littlest guy! Darling!!

  30. Where did you get the materials for this? I just made a trip to Home Depot, and the 3/8″X4’X8′ alone was $23; the 1/4″X24″X48″ was $9 and the 2X2s were $4 each.

    I’m still considering doing this project, but it’ll be over $37 for the wood alone, much less the upholstery and fabric…

  31. Love them! Just wondering how old your kids were when they grew out of toddler size beds? We have twin boys going in to share with big brother, all of whom are too young for bunks, so this would be a great option. I’m wondering how long they’ll use the beds for!

  32. If you drilled a 1″ hole one one of the long sides of the inside support panel and hinges on the other, you could use this a convenient storage.

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