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DIY: Bunk Bed Part 1

In this three-part series we dedicate ourselves to the construction of a Bunk Bed. My daughter wished for a unique place to sleep for a long time and after many discussion, we have opted for the above variant, which is installed between two walls. The project itself is of course very individual, but you will find in the course of the text numerous useful tips that are universally applicable to home improvement.

The Bed in Detail

A Plan of a Bunk Bed
A Plan of Steps for a Bunk Bed

The steps consist of boxes that correspond to the inside dimensions of the IKEA fabric boxes.

The lying area has a size of 140 x 200 cm. So that my daughter can’t fall out of bed while sleeping, I have planned to put a raised shelf to the back and a "house wall" with windows in the front.

The bed is very high (224 cm from the floor to the lower edge). That's because we want to build it in front of the window and still want to open it in the future. Since we have high ceilings (340 cm) there still remains much room.

The bed consists of the components supports, bed frame with slatted frame, stairs with railing, as well as the attachments (front wall, shelf with stowage possibilities).

Before we can start building, various preparations and exploratory works are necessary. Although I also like to just start working, its necessarily important to make a plan first, because such an approach often takes revenge. In this first part, I describe how I prepared and built the components for the bed. In the next part follows the preparation and installation of the stairs. In the third and final part, the attachments and the details are discussed.

What Material?

Wood

The entire wood consists of planed spruce boards / beams. The staircase consists of glued wood panels (spruce).

Mounting Material

In the enclosed PDF you will find a list of the woods and materials you need:

The bed frame, as well as the supports are fixed to the wall with large wooden screws. These include washers and matching dowels.

The stair boxes I glued together with wood glue, nailed it with pins and then used 10 mm wooden dowels. These I inserted from the outside and attached them with glue. You can buy the wooden dowels or make them yourself - I bought them this time.

I used chipboard screws for the slatted frames, the frame connections and the banister.

I paid about 350 € for the wood and the fixing materials. The paint, as well as the consumables were about 100 €. It took me about 8 hours to build the bed. The construction of the stairs also took me about 8 hours. The work for the attachments, as well as the painting and other details are still ongoing, because my daughter always has new ideas ...

Which tools are needed?

Tools Use
Screwdriver Drilling and Screwing
All Purpose Saw Notching, Cutting to length
Circular Saw Notching, Cutting to length
Jigsaw Notching, Cutting to length
Multisander Sanding, deburring
Rotary Hammer Drilling the wall
Pneumatic Stapler with compressor Pins to help with glueing
Biscuit Jointer Connecting the stairs
Folding Ruler Measuring
Clamps Attaching
Chisel Corrections

Although I've done most of the preparations in my workshop, I mostly used battery-powered machines. The performance is absolutely convincing and with the right batteries, the operating time is considerably extended. All used cordless tools come from Einhell's Power X-Change assortment. This battery system has the advantage that you can use a variety of different devices with just one type of battery. You then buy the individual devices again without charger and battery, save money and protect the environment.

Especially for the recesses of the supports was the cordless all purpose saw a great help, because it is easy to handle and still has amazing power reserves. The use of a cordless screwdriver is now normal, but with mine I screwed the really big screw sizes easily. Since most materials already fit with one measure, e.g. was the staircase depth with the width of the glued wood panels already true to size, I needed only a circular saw, a cordless jigsaw and the multi-sander. For setting the pins on the stairs I could use a pneumatic nailer, which was supplied with a compressor. In addition, the flat dowel cutter was used.

You can also simply screw the boxes together. I used a hammer drill to drill the holes in the wall. In the event that your machinery is not so generously equipped, you are well prepared with a cordless screwdriver, a jigsaw, hammer and nails, as well as a percussion drill.

The supports

Although the bed frame is already on both sides attached to the walls, I have planned four supports. It would have probably been okey to just use two supports, but this way I had a much better feeling ...

The frame is then stored on the supports. Because I had to build the bed alone, I cut a mortise and tenon joint. With that I could then, attach two supports to the front beam, lift everything, put it on the wall and align it comfortably. Since the three parts were already connected, I could only do it with a spirit level to align the bars. That's how I could be sure that the two beams have the correct distance to each other.  

A Plan of a Mortise and Tenon Joint
Mortise and Tenon Joint out of wood

For the tenon I used, as already mentioned, a cordless universal saw. Here the cutouts correspond with the thickness of the bars used - in my case 90x40 mm.

For the baseboards, I also had to build a recess (130x30 mm). This is also possible with the universal saw, but this time I tried the variant with the circular saw. For this I have made a very simple stop of two wooden strips, which are exactly at an angle to each other.

All four beams are positioned with the future recess facing upwards and are then fixed with screw clamps. After that the stop is also aligned and gets secured with a screw clamp. With the circular saw set to a cutting depth of 30 mm it is guided along the right side of the stop. You thus achieve a straight, right-angled cut as a conclusion. In order to make a cutout in the size I want, I have now sawed several cuts with a distance of about one millimeter. This is quite fast and ensures a uniform depth. Then the standing tiles are knocked off with a hammer and the remains are removed with a chisel. 

This method is much faster, because all four beams can be worked on in one go. After that I drilled in the middle of each of the supports 10 mm holes to attach it to the wall. Then I grinded them with my Multigrinder with 120 grit.

Now we have the beams ready!

After that you saw the front beam to the correct length. In my case to 140 cm. Here you also drill holes, to attach them later onto the wall.

Slatted bed frame

Now the Slatted bed frame is prepared. For that I sawed 20 planed boards (80x24 mm) to size (140 cm) and drilled two 5 mm holes, 15 mm away from the front. For the support of the slatted frame, I have provided a 200 cm long strip (40x30 mm) with about 20 holes (5 mm). After that it gets glued and screwed on.

The construction of the loft bed

The two supports and one front beam are now connected via the tenon by using screws. Since the tenon is not very strong, it is recommended to pre-drill before srewing.

In this step I set up the assembly and positioned it on the wall. Then I marked the position of the holes with a long screw, took two screws 120x120 mm for the supports and one 8x100 mm for the front beam and screwed the assembly to the wall. When everything was settled, I did the same thing on the other side.

Only now have I measured the exact length of the longitudinal beams. Since we live in an old building the exact measuring is always a little bit difficult ... While doing that make sure that you leave at least 5 mm air, otherwise you will not get the bar between the walls.

The longitudinal beams are first connected with the Tenon and then with the front beam, each with two long wooden screws, in my case 6x200 mm. Again, it is important to pre-drill the holes. Since the longitudinal beams are attached to the Tenon, nothing slips (Preparation is everything!).

To attach the slatted frame to the construction, I attached a strip (30x40 mm) along the inside of the longitudinal beams with glue and screws (5x70 mm). Do not spare screws here! I set about every 10 cm a screw. (Also don't forget to predrill!)

The frame with the supports is now finished! The mounting of the slatted frames follows. As a spacer, I have taken two sections of these boards and later set a screw on each side so that the parts don't constantly fall through the slatted frame. Now the boards are screwed step by step onto the bar.

That's it…! This completes the bed and thus the first part. In the next part we build the stairs out of boxes. Until next time!

Reading time10 minutes

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