Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Tiny Toddler

I'm so excited to share another DIY project.  This one was particularly special because I built it for our daughter.  While it’s not something I mention very often, our daughter has special needs.  While we’re still searching for answers, for now we’ve been given a “Global Developmental Delay” diagnosis.  Because of her extreme delays, up until this point, she was still sleeping in a crib.   She’s almost 6 years old.  I was desperate to transition her to a “bigger” bed…even though it’s actually still the same size as the crib. 

I found an online plan for an adorable Farmhouse style bed in a toddler size.  I wanted to make a few adjustments to the plan and redrew them in Goggle Sketchup.

With my plan in hand, I went to one of our local lumber yards (instead of the big orange box store I normally go to) and bought what I needed.  To keep the costs down, I purchased a mix of pine and spruce construction grade lumber.  It’s perfectly fine lumber…it usually just has a lot of knots, needs a LOT of sanding and you usually have to spend some time picking through the pile to find boards that are not bowed or cracked.  BUT, it was less than $40, so the extra work required didn’t bother me…and I knew I would still end up with a solid wood bed and not one made from cheap particle board or some other type of manufactured product.

The original plan used 2- 1x2’s for each of the bed legs.  I wanted something a little sturdier, so I chose to use 2x2 lumber.  This changed the way I would have to attach the side rails though, so I chose to purchase a set of mortise-free bed locks from Lee Valley Tools.   

They were simple to install once I decided to “eyeball” them rather than try to measure the placement.  And by “eyeball”, I mean I balanced a level along the top edge of the bed rail and once they were perfectly level, I clamped the rails in place and screwed in the bed locks.  The benefit of using them is it allows me to easily disassemble the bed if we need to move it.

Construction of the bed probably took longer than it should have.  I chose to use pocket hole construction and it was likely overkill for a bed this size.  Glue, nails and a few screws would have probably been perfectly fine.  

I did find the pocket holes necessary for attaching the curved upper rails to the bottom bed rails though.

 After everything was assembled, all pocket holes plugged, all nail holes puttied and everything sanded smooth, I was ready for paint.  I  started with a coat of primer just to make sure the knots in the wood would be hidden.  I followed that with a couple coats of crisp white latex paint and finished it off with a glossy clear coat.

I didn't want to attach the bottom slats to the bed, but didn't want to worry about them shifting at all, so I cut and nailed small wooden "spacers" to the main bed rails.  The wood slats sit between the spacers keeping the slats perfectly lined up and in place but still allows them to be quickly and easily removed to disassemble the bed.

To complete the new bed, I plan to sew up some cute new flannel sheets.  That’s definitely one benefit of still using the crib mattress – sheets are still small and don’t require much fabric! ;)

I’m so happy with this little bed!  I realize our daughter will likely outgrow it sooner than later, but I’m hoping the transition from her crib to her new “real” bed will be smooth for her.

Thanks for stopping by!

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