How to Build a Kids' Bunk Bed

All kids love bunk beds, and they are actually pretty simple to make. Both upper and lower bunks can be done using basic tools and common pinewood for an inexpensive way to have your kids go to sleep with smiles on their faces. This bunk is very solid and safe, and it will last a lifetime.

  1. Sand all boards silky smooth with the power sander--100 grit works well for this, and just make sure there are no sharp pieces of wood protruding when you are done.

  2. Cut four 2 by 6s down to 39 inches using your circular saw and carbide-tipped blade. You may wish to wear safety glasses for this step and make sure that you are wearing clothing that fits tightly enough that it will not snag.

  3. Cut 8 foot 2 by 6s down to 78 inches, which allows for the overlap on the joints. Use the same blade.

  4. Glue and screw 2 by 6s together, which should make a perfect size box for the mattress to fit into. Although I specify a twin mattress with the measurements or 39 inches by 75 inches, any mattress of your choice will work. You will have to cut the boards to fit the mattress, and although this is variable with what you choose, we will use the measurements I have provided.

  5. Place the box on the plywood and trace the outline. Use a carpenter's pencil for this step. Make sure that you can see the outline once the box is removed.

  6. Cut the plywood out to the size of the traced box. Use the plywood blade here.

  7. Glue and screw the plywood piece to the bottom of the 2-by-6-inch box. When finished, place mattress inside and it should be a perfect fit. Use several screws for each piece of wood to supplement the glue. Do not screw so close together that you tear up the wood, but use two or three screws to make sure everything is secure.

  8. Set up the lower bunk. Place 4-by-4-inch pieces of wood on the floor approximately 4 feet apart. Measure up 12 inches on the 4 by 4s, and make a line. This will be the lower mounting point for the mattress box.

  9. Place mattress box edgewise so that it is even with the line, and 18 inches from the ends.

  10. Set up the points for attachment of the lower bunk. Drill two 3/8-inch holes through the 2 by 6s and into the 4 by 4s making sure you do not come out the other side. Use the line as a guide.

  11. Counter sync the drill hole to about ¾ of an inch. Use your ¾-inch spade bit. This will enable you to keep the screws from poking out of the structure and potentially scraping an occupant.

  12. Glue and screw both lag bolts into their own holes using the socket and ratchet. The head of the lag bolt should be well inside the hole when you are finished. You will need to do this on both sides of the box, and when you are done you will see the bottom of your bunk bed. When the mattress is placed inside the box, it will neatly cover up the counter sunk lag bolt hole.

  13. Place the other 2 by 6 mattress box 12 inches from the top of the 4 by 4s. Attach the box in the same way as you did the lower box. You will probably need a partner to help you, since this box will be farther off the ground.

  14. Put the legs in place. Place the other 4 by 4s on the ground approximately 4 feet apart. Flip the edges of the boxes over and onto the 4 by 4s that are now on the floor. Glue and screw the legs to the bunk bed just as you attached the mattress boxes to the frame.

  15. Stand the bunks upright. Lift bunk bed onto its 4-by-4 legs.

  16. Stabilize the bunk bed. Attach 6 foot 2 by 4s to the front and rear. Measure 18 inches from either side, make sure they are firmly touching the ground, then glue and screw them on to the boxes.

  17. Make your ladder. Cut 2 by 4s to 24 inches long and at 12 inches apart starting from the ground, glue and screw to one pair of 2 by 4s on the end. These will be the ladder to get up to the top bunk.

  18. Create safety railings. Measure 3 inches up on the inside of the 4 by 4s in the top bunk, and glue and screw the last remaining 2 by 6s to the sides. These will be the safety railings so that there will never be a worry about any daughter or son falling out while they are sleeping.