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Attempting Aloha: How to Make a Toddler Canopy Bed -- Tutorial

Monday, March 5, 2012

How to Make a Toddler Canopy Bed -- Tutorial

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So today's plans are for a toddler canopy bed! How adorable is this:

Yep, it's a toddler canopy bed that matches the little American Girls doll canopy beds that I made for Christmas! I posted them on CL since I had some scrap wood and was hoping to earn some $$ to buy a few more tools, and I had TWO different people call me and ask me if I could make a similar toddler bed. Hmmm. Why not, right?!

So I got to work. Luckily my youngest is in a toddler bed now, so I used the dimensions from that bed to create this one.

I will be posting the Google Sketch Up plans to post on Ana White's site later this week, but I wanted to give you some pics and a run-down here as well.

UPDATE:  As I was on Ana's site today, I noticed she already has plans for a toddler canopy bed! The result is very similar to mine, so you have a couple of options in building! But I will not be posting the Sketch Up plans there since hers are excellent (no need to reinvent the wheel, right?)

Shopping List:

2x2 - 2 @ 96" each
1x2 - 3 @ 96" each
1x3 - 3 @ 96" each
1x4 - 2 @ 96" each
1x17 (or larger if you can find them) - 1 @ 60"
#9 - 3" wood screws (at least 32--can use only 12 if you plan to put headboard and footboard together with finish nails)
#8 or #9 -1.25" wood screws (at least 22 to put together base and slats)
Gorilla Glue
Finials and headboard detail (if desired)

Cut list:

2x2 - 4 @ 47.5"
1x2 - 2 @  52" (for top side rails)
          2 @  27"   (for top head and foot rails)
          2 @ 47.5" (for cleats for the base slats to lay across)
1x3 - 9 @ 27.5" (for slats that mattress will lay on)
1x4 - 2 @    52"       (for sides of base) 
1x17 - 2 @ 27" (headboard and footboard)

Now, let's start with the base. 

Glue and clamp each of your 47.5" 1x2's to your 1x4 sides. Center them from left to right, but make sure they're flush along the bottom. Let it dry completely. You want these to be nice and firm because all of the slats and weight will rest right on these cleats.

Now screw in two of your 27.5" 1x3's (using the 1.25" screws).

We made the cleats slightly shorter than our sides to allow for these two end pieces.

Now space out the rest of your 27.5" 1x3's along the base. When you have them spaced how you want them, use your 1.25" screws to screw them to your cleats. I just put one screw in each side.

Let's stick the crib mattress on there to make sure it fits...PHEW!  Fits like a glove.

For the headboard and footboard, I just used a pencil directly on the board. I start in the middle and mark it, then go down the sides to see how far down I want it to be, and I kind of connect the two points on just one side. Then I cut out the one side with my jig saw, and then flipped that over to the other side and traced it to get the exact same pattern. :) It really is easy. I have no art skills. Erasers are wonderful things.

If you're using the decorative headboard piece, now is when you'll want to put that on, too. Just glue and clamp. :)  I found mine at Lowes for just over $4.  Here is a similar wood onlay found on Amazon for less than $3.50.

Now glue and screw your 2x2's into your headboard and footboard. I wanted to give the illusion that my headboard was taller than the footboard (without having to purchase a larger piece of wood), so I placed the headboard up 6" from the bottom, and the footboard is only 3" up.

Since we're attaching a 1" thick piece of headboard to a 2" thick side post, it's hard to get it centered just right. I ended up setting up quite the work station to do this. I used some scrap 1/2" plywood I had in order to center the headboard on the 2x2.

You'll need to do the same with the 27" 1x2 pieces that will be flush with the top of your posts. Glue and screw. Sink all of these since you'll just be mudding and painting right over the top of them.

So here are two headboards that I finished:

After I had these three separate pieces built, I mudded all my holes with wood putty, let that dry, and then primed and painted them all before attaching them. I did NOT do the poly at this point, though.  I left the slats and inside of the bed unpainted. After painting so many rooms in our Hawaii home, I'm pretty good at cutting a straight line, so I just used my angled 2" Purdy brush and made a straight line right along the top of those sides.

And I didn't catch a pic of the debacle that was the stack of boards I had to use to get the base at the right height, so I could screw in the headboard and footboard! That was quite a feat! I ended up placing it up 4".

Here, you can see how high it is on my toddler. Just right. :)

This is the best pic I could find of the headboard detail. I think it adds a nice touch.

HERE is a link for the tutorial on how to make finials from door knobs:

All done!

I had planned to sink the screws and use the wooden screw covers over them, but they were a HUGE pain o paint. Tiny little pieces of garbage!! Blah. But after getting it all put together, I decided the gold screws that I had chosen actually looked fine, so I kept them as is. :)

What do you think?!



At March 5, 2012 at 8:57 PM , Blogger Kari said...

Charlie this is purely awesome...thanks so much for sharing!

At March 6, 2012 at 4:38 AM , Blogger Our Pinteresting Family said...

What a beautiful piece! I'm sure your daughter is loving that! You do very nice work. :) Megan your newest follower vai the Today's Creative link party.

At March 7, 2012 at 1:47 AM , Blogger Jennifer Curtis said...

Oh wow, please come and help me make one! This is so pretty!

At March 9, 2012 at 6:14 PM , Blogger Angie Ramirez said...

Oh Please, help me make one!? lol

My little girl needs to upgrade to a toddler bed.. your tutorial looks very easy!! I have to give it a try!!

Found you on TT & J and I would love for you to come by my party and link this up or any other projects you have!


Best of Luck!
Angie from ALI

At March 11, 2012 at 10:31 PM , Blogger Alison @ Oopsey Daisy said...

You are truly incredible!! I really can't believe you made this, but it's incredible! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

At March 12, 2012 at 7:43 AM , Blogger Princess Kate said...

So beautiful. Great job. Thanks for sharing. I'm stopping over from Between Naps On The Porch's Party.

At March 12, 2012 at 9:11 AM , Blogger Attempting Aloha said...

Thanks, Alison! Honestly, I wouldn't believe I made it if I hadn't actually been there... ;)


At March 12, 2012 at 9:13 AM , Blogger Attempting Aloha said...

Thanks! It was fun to build. Can't say I love the painting process, though! lol

Aloha and thanks for visiting,

At March 12, 2012 at 11:34 PM , Blogger Amy Fountain said...

Very lovely piece! Looks great.

At March 15, 2012 at 9:06 AM , Blogger gail said...

Charlie! how sweet is that bed! Love the picture with your little one sitting on it! Great tute, thanks for sharing at catch as catch can!

At April 13, 2012 at 7:50 AM , Blogger Niki said...

So CUTE!!!

At May 31, 2012 at 9:14 PM , Anonymous miami said...

Thank you for the fantastic article. The place else could anyone get that kind of info in such a perfect means of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the search for such information.

At June 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM , Blogger John Butte said...

where did you get the knobs on the top? i cant seem to find any!

At November 9, 2013 at 8:33 AM , Blogger victoria juarez said...

Can you tell me about how much you spent on everything?

At January 27, 2014 at 3:05 PM , Blogger Charlie Attemptingaloha said...


At January 27, 2014 at 3:06 PM , Blogger Charlie Attemptingaloha said...

I built two of them for just over $100 including paint and accessories. :)

At May 29, 2014 at 6:14 AM , Blogger ~The Damsel~ said...

I am new to building and have a question about the measurements. the 2x2s at 84 inches, are they supposed to be cut into 4 equal pieces? I am confused at how to get the four 47.5 inch 2x2s. I have never built anything and want to attempt this bed!! thank you so much

At June 3, 2014 at 3:40 PM , Blogger Charlie Attemptingaloha said...

Thanks for the catch! They actually come in 96" lengths. I'm not sure why my brain had typed 84"! ;)



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I LOVE your comments! They're the reason I blog. If you've used one of my tutorials or found them helpful, I'd also love to see pics! You can post them on my FB page or send an email: attemptingaloha @ gmail . com

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