Upholstered toddler bed tutorial

by Decemberbaby

N has a new big-boy bed!

No, he’s not sleeping in it. He still doesn’t understand the whole “you need to stay in your bed” thing, and frankly I think he’ll learn that lesson much more quickly when he’s a bit older. But for now he’s excited to have a bed just like K’s, that he can climb up and sit on to flip through his board books. Here’s a pic of the bed:

Jealous? Don’t be – the whole thing took me about 3 hours to build, and I’m going to take you through the process. Ready?

First, the stuff you need:

Tools

  • handheld cordless drill/screwdriver
  • countersink drill bits (optional)
  • carpenter’s square (or other way to check for a 90 degree angle)
  • staple gun and LOTS of staples
  • ruler or measuring tape
  • sewing machine (optional)

Lumber (take this list to Home Depot or Lowe’s and have them cut the boards for you)

  • 2 – 1 x 10″ boards, 8 feet long. Cut each one into a 52″ length and a 29 3/4″ length.
  • 2 – 2 x 2″ furring strips, 8 feet long. Cut 50″ lengths of each.
  • 3 – 1 x 4″ furring strips, 8 feet long. Cut them into 27″ lengths – you should end up with 9 of them.
  • 1 – small piece of plywood (24 x 48″). Cut a piece 29 3/4″ x 22″.

Other materials

  • 1″ upholstery foam. Scraps will do, as long as it’s at least 5″ wide and you have enough to stretch along 200 linear inches or so.
  • Quilt batting. I used one and a half packages of 70″ x 100″.
  • Fabric to cover the bed. You’ll need a strip of 16″ x 135″ (I sewed a few strips together to make a long one) and a 35″ x 38″ piece for the headboard.
  • Screws. I used #8 screws that were 2″ long.

Got all that? Good! Follow along, now:

Building the frame

Lay the two 52″ long boards on the floor. On each one, measure and mark a line 3″ from one edge (long edge). Position a 2 x 2 x 50″ furring strip so that its top runs along the line. Predrill 5 holes (evenly spaced) along the 2 x 2, then screw it into the long board. It will look like this:

Set those two long pieces aside.

Take one 29″ board and predrill three holes on each side, about 1/3 of an inch in from the end. Take one long board and stand it on edge so that the 2 x 2 rail is close to the top. Stand the 29″ board on edge, align it at a 90 degree angle with the other board, and screw the 29″ board into the end of the long board:

Repeat with the second long board.

Take the plywood piece (22 x 29 3/4) and predrill three holes on each side. The holes should be within the bottom 9 inches of the board – you’ll be using them to attach the headboard the same way you just attached the footboard. Square up the corner and screw the headboard to the open ends of the long boards. You’ll end up with a frame that looks like this:

Congratulations! The woodworking is done! That means it’s time for…

Padding the frame

Take the upholstery foam and staple it around the top edges of the frame, like this:

Open up the quilt batting so that you’ve got just a double layer of it. Cut into a strip about 18″ wide. Beginning at one side of the headboard, wrap the batting around the frame lengthwise, stapling it inside the top and bottom of the bed frame. Take another doubled piece of batting and use it to wrap the headboard. It will end up looking like this:

Adding the fabric

First prepare your long strip of fabric. You can either cut an 16″ wide strip out of a really long piece, or you can be cheap like me and sew a few strips together.

Staple the end of the fabric to the back of the headboard (so that it’s ready to wrap around the sides). Begin wrapping the fabric around the frame, being careful to stretch it a bit so that it doesn’t end up wrinkly. Staple the top edge, then turn the frame on its side to staple the bottom edges. Be sure to pull the fabric tight and place your staples very close together so that the upholstery doesn’t look bumpy.

Now, the headboard. You can either sew a bit of a slipcover for it, or just wrap it and staple. I chose to sew a cover – I draped a piece of fabric over the headboard, pinned it where I wanted the seams to be, sewed it, and then put it on. Staple the ends on the front below the level of the 2 x 2 furring strips, pull tight down the back, and staple to the inside bottom edge of the headboard.

The ends where the headboard meets the side rails are tricky. I still haven’t figured out how to do it perfectly, so I’m no help to you here. Do your best. When in doubt, staple everything at the back of the headboard.

This is how mine looked at this stage:

You’re almost done!

Take the 9 pieces of 1 x 4″ furring strips, and lay them across the bed so that the ends are resting on the 2 x 2 rails. Spread them out evenly.

Now you can place your crib mattress on top of the rails, add bedding, and voila:

Happy building!

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3 Comments to “Upholstered toddler bed tutorial”

  1. Love it! I’m pining it so I can find this later!

  2. wow, you’re so handy, I’m still jealous even with the tutorial! thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  3. This is great! Thanks for the details on the tutorial!

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