Today I’m going to show you how I made Maddy’s toddler bed. We never bought Claire a toddler bed. She started jumping out of her crib at 18 months and we were totally unprepared for it. Matt’s mom brought us a pink plastic Dora toddler bed she had gotten second hand. As much as I’m not a fan of plastic furniture with cartoon characters on it, we made it work for a couple months until Claire upgraded to a twin. Since I’m getting a little more comfortable with power tools this time around I decided to build Maddy a little bed of her own. It was very inexpensive and easy to do!
Here we go…
  • 1 piece of 3/8″ thick plywood cut into several pieces (measurements below)
  • 3.5″ square post cut into 5- 9″tall pieces (I already had some leftover pieces in my garage so I’m not sure if one post is long enough)
  • 1 yard of fabric to cover the headboard
  • 2″ thick foam cushion at least 34″ wide x 28″ tall
  • 1 yard of quilt batting
  • Staple gun and staples
  • 13 1″ Covered buttons
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wood screws
  • Screw driver
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Wrapping paper or other large piece of paper

OK, so first you will want to cut up the plywood into 5 different pieces. If you purchase it from Lowe’s or Home Depot they will cut it up for you for free. Huge time saver! 
The headboard piece measures 27 1/4″ wide x 21 1/4″ tall.
The base piece that the mattress will sit on measures 27 1/4″wide x 53 3/8″ long.
Each of the two long pieces measure 4″wide x 28″tall. 
And there is another piece not pictured you will need measuring 25 5/8″wide x 9″tall. (I didn’t realize I needed this piece until the end.)

So now that all the pieces are cut out you will start by attaching the legs to the base piece. I had the wood post pieces in my garage left over from another project and had Matt’s dad cut them all to 9″ for me with his table saw. Since they are really thick I couldn’t do it with my circular saw. I just used wood screws I had left over from this project and screwed them in through the top of the plywood into the legs. I used about three screws per leg. 
A close up of the wood screws I used.
I placed one leg at each corner and one in the center of the board using my electric screw driver.

So it looks like this from the bottom.
Now onto the headboard. First I wrapped the headboard piece with a foam cushion. I lined up the bottom of the cushion even with the bottom of the board and stapled it in place like so.

 Since I was using what I already had on hand I had to stretch it a little to make it work as it was a little short. I flipped the board over and wrapped the cushion over the top of the board and stapled it in place.
Do the same thing to the sides of the plywood. And cut off the excess foam.

So it looks like this in the front.

Now do the exact same thing with the batting.

The only difference is this time you will wrap the batting around the bottom of the plywood also instead of stapling it in the front like I did with the cushion.

Cut off the excess around the edges.

Here’s the view from the front.

Now do it all again with the face fabric. Since we already had a lot of color going on in the room I decided to use a solid white canvas fabric on mine.

Now onto the tufting part. If you decided not to tuft you could just leave it like this. 

The first thing I did was draw out a diagram of where I wanted to put the buttons. I cut out a piece of wrapping paper the same size as the headboard minus the area that would be covered by the mattress. I folded it into sections to make it easier to space everything out evenly. Then I marked with a pencil where I wanted my buttons to go.

After I knew where I wanted everything placed I laid the paper on top of the headboard lining up the edges and poked through each of the pencil markings with a fabric marker. 

So now my button placement is transferred directly onto the headboard.

Next using a staple gun, staple into each of the dots pushing the fabric down to create the tufts. You want to make sure your staples are long enough to hold the fabric down. I had pretty thick foam (like 2″) So I used about 1/2″ thick staples. I had originally started off using smaller ones and had trouble keeping the fabric down. Next all you will do is hot glue your covered buttons right on top of each staple. You can view my covered button tutorial here.

Now to attach the headboard to the bed. This back wood piece is the piece I added at the last minute. I was originally going to attach the back brackets to the legs in the back but after looking at it and realizing it wasn’t going to work since the fabric came too far over in the back I added this piece so I could move the brackets towards the center. I just attached this piece by screwing it into the legs in the back. 

Here is a close up of where I positioned the screws.

These are the screws I used to attach the back brackets to the bed and headboard. I just pulled these out of the tool box. Not sure exactly what they are called but they are shorter than the wood screws I used to attach the legs to the bed. 

Next I screwed the bracket pieces onto the back board of the bed about 4″ from each end. Make sure the screws you use are long enough to go through both pieces but don’t go through the plywood at the other end.

Now just position the headboard so that the bottom piece sits on the bed and screw it into the brackets from the back. Again making sure the screws don’t go through the plywood from the front.

If you want to cover up the ugly back part you could use a staple gun to attach fabric to it. I knew mine would be against the wall so I didn’t bother.

Now let me show you what happens when you’re like me and you kind of plan things out as you go along. I knew what I wanted and had an idea in my head as to how to get there but didn’t really draw anything out on paper. So I forgot to take account for the headboard that would be sitting on top of the bed and the bottom piece was a couple inches too short when I put the mattress on. I used a metal mending plate kind of like this one to add  an extra piece of plywood onto the bottom of the bed. I also put some wood glue in between the two pieces to help hold them together. The thickness of the foam you use will determine how much space you need to add to the board. So take that into account when measuring everything out.

So now the mattress doesn’t hang over the end. Just to be clear the correct measurements that I should have cut the board at the beginning are reflected in the measurements I gave you above. Live and learn right?  I also cut the corners off of the end of the bed using a circular saw so that the pointy ends wouldn’t stick out. I just used the mattress as a guide since the ends are rounded and drew out where I needed to cut with a pencil.

Voila! The finished bed. I new I was going to use a bed skirt to cover the legs but was still planning to paint them white. I got a little busy after making the bed skirt and decided you couldn’t really see them and went ahead and set it all up in the room. The bed skirt goes down to the floor so really unless you are looking for it you won’t be able to see it. Well, Claire comes in after I had rearranged her room and immediately noticed I hadn’t painted the legs. And apparently… it’s a big deal. I need to touch up the furniture in the girls room anyway so I’ll probably try and get all the painting done at the same time. 

And here it is with some bedding. If you missed the original post on Maddy’s new bed you can view it here.

Happy Weekend!

You can view more of my DIY tutorials here.