November 25, 2013

The Making of a Big Boy Bed

Finn slept in his bed last night for the first time. We've been talking about the bed for a while now and he's been very excited about it which I think helped the transition. As I type this, it's almost 8:00am and he is still sound asleep so if nothing else, at least night one was a success. Here's hoping the same can be said for naptime later today.

After soliciting feedback on beds, I was very much leaning towards just purchasing one. Problem was I could not find one for the life of me! I schlepped Finn to new furniture stores, used furniture stores, Goodwill, garage sales, checked Craigslist, E-bay, online stores, you name it - I looked. I did find several good options that were way out of my price range (ahem, Pottery Barn) and found some cute ones that were similar to the look I was going for, but the quality of them (particle board) would not be conducive to military moves, and even those were the same price or more expensive than if we just built it ourselves. I wanted solid wood but wasn't willing to pay $400+ for it. Besides, I kept coming back to the style of the Ana White Farmhouse bed and knew we could make it for a fraction of the cost for a new one in store or online. So, I gave up the hunt and while Miles was away at a course last month, I purchased all the lumber so that there would be no going back! Here's a little rundown of the making of the bed.

1. Pick out wood
2. Have nice man (named Miles!) cut it while you nuggle
3. Have another nice man load it in car
4. Unload in garage and patiently wait for Dadda to return to begin building bed

Because we went to Wisconsin not long after Miles returned from his course, we waited a bit longer to start building the bed. Miles and his buddy started working on it last Saturday and were done by Sunday. So the actual construction of the bed didn't take very long. The original plans call for it all to be built as one piece - but because we know we will be moving in the near future (and probably several more times after that) we adjusted the plans slightly so that the rails can be removed from the headboard and footboard. I also wanted the headboard a little bit lower than what the design calls for, especially since we won't be putting a box spring on the bed anytime soon.

5. Build Bed

6. Fill in nail holes, sand bed
7. Apply Conditioner
8. Apply Stain (times three, plus sanding)
9. Apply Protective coat (times three, plus sanding)

 All those steps were completed over the course of several days. I would use nap time and bedtime to put on coats and gave them adequate time to dry in between. So from start to finish, the bed was constructed, stained, and assembled within one week. It certainly could go even quicker if you don't have to work around a toddler's schedule or if you were painting it and not staining and don't have to wait as long between coats. Once the bed was good and dry, Miles applied the hardware to the rails. This turned out to be the biggest pain (probably since we didn't have thorough directions guiding us like the rest of the project) and I was worried a few times Miles would let his rage get the best of him and all our hard work would become fire wood. But he figured it out and got it assembled just fine. We purchased a bed slate like this (twin size) for under the mattress since we don't have a box spring.

10. Apply rails in a fit of rage

11. Assemble bed
12. Have toddler test out durability
13. Make bed look cute for pictures and blog post
14. Put baby big boy to sleep in his new bed

So there ya have it - Finn's homemade big boy bed. In case you're curious here is the cost breakdown:

Lumber . . . . . $176.88
Slatted Bed Base . . . . .$20
Supplies (stain, poly, etc) . . . . . $36.64
Hardware for rails . . . . . . .$23.47
TOTAL . . . . . .$256.99

Basically, what I'm trying to say is suck it, Pottery Barn.



  1. I love this!!! I love everything about this, including the fit of rage. We have all been there. One of my Dad's sayings when I was a kid was "when your up to your waist with alligators it is easy to forget your intention was to drain the swamp." All you wanted to do was save some money and get the bed you wanted ... But life gets in the way sometimes.

    I love that you built it yourself, it has so much more meaning.

    8 months and hauling lumber. You are a machine!

  2. Um, you're a rockstar. I knew this was going down, but for some reason I wasn't there to see it and didn't assume you'd be SO involved. Incredible. And I'm sooooo happy last night was a success. It may not always be that easy, but hell... first night... we'll take it!

    You are such a go-getter. I love it.

  3. 8 months thrice pregnant! Rockstar, machine...yes and yes. Bed looks beautiful. And that big big Looks darling in it

  4. So amazing. I love it. :)

    Lucky for you that handsome, nice man (named Miles) stumbled along your path to help you with your wood selection. xox

  5. Click To Download 16,000 Woodworking Plans
    16,000 Woodworking Plans With Step-By-Step Details, Photos, Materials Lists And More!
    Hope it will help you next time !