Mama Nibbles: Putting to Bed My Fear of DIY!

Putting to Bed My Fear of DIY!

This is a post that has been sitting in my to-do list for a while.  I have been a fan of Ana White's site for over 2 years now.  During any random moments for free time I find myself searching around on Ana-White.com.  I mostly dream and wish that I had the time and money to build all of the projects that are posted there.  There are just so many great projects that I know we could easily do. 

Just over 2 years ago I got it into my head that we would build a new bed for our daughter.  Her old bed had seen better days, it was falling apart beyond repair.  We had been shopping for a good sturdy twin size but they were all way too far out of our budgeted amount.  The beds we wanted were over $200, even used beds were far too expensive.

Just a few months prior to our search was when I had discovered Ana White's website.  I was amazed at how many plans there were and for free.  The community she has built is equally amazing, everyone helps one another if you have a question about something.  Once we realized that we could not buy a bed from any store I began looking at the bed plans on Ana-White.com.  I had never built anything so big in my life.  I was definitely a bit scared but I thought I'd take a stab at it because that's the kind of person I am.

I found the most perfect bed called the Simple Bed.  The total cost for all of the wood and supplies came to $50.00.  The plan we used created a very sturdy bed that will last a long time.  The name of the plan definitely rings true because this was so easy to build.  Our daughter thinks her mom and dad are pretty amazing for building her a new bed!  It feels really good to be more self sufficient having built something with my own two hands.  If you have not heard of Ana-White then I highly recommend checking it out, even if you don't have plans to build anything.

Ana-White Simple Bed

As you can see the bed turned out very well and we had so much fun building it!  We did make some minor adjustments to the plans but it was nothing too crazy.  I planned to paint it but right now it is still bare, if only I had the time.  After building our daughter a bed we thought it would be wise to start planning a bed for our two sons.  The boys both share a small bedroom and space is tight. 

I have a fear of bunk beds because when my middle son was 2 he fell off of the top of one, ended up in the hospital, and almost died from an epidural hematoma.  He has since recovered from that accident very well but it put the fear of God in me!  I swore to never again have a bunk bed in our home...that was until I saw the plans for a Camp Loft bed with stairs (Junior Height) on Ana-White.com.  I knew we could make it safe for the kids.  The stairs instead of a ladder definitely drew me to it as well.

I convinced my in-laws to purchase all of the wood for this bed as part of our Christmas gift last year.  They followed through but it took a while to actually get the boards cut according to the plan because my father-in-law is a busy guy.  I had specially requested that he add some height to the top to prevent any falls.  We also added a very small platform in the bottom to make this into a "bunk bed".  I figured that our almost 3 year old could have the bottom and our almost 8 year old would have the top.  I bothered my father-in-law several times before he finally cut all the wood according to the plan and our specifications.  He labeled each piece with a pencil and then we taped all like sections together.  My husband drove and picked it all up to take back to our home since it would have to be constructed inside the boy's room.


According to the plans we would need at least 8 ft of space.  Our wall measured exactly that and so this bed fits like a glove in our boy's room!  I had painted the walls a warm grey color and added pops of color via a bright green desk (fixed up and painted from Craigslist), some framed art (prints bought cheaply online, frames painted from Dollar Tree), and a couple of bright green rugs from Ikea.  My parents bought the boy's two new mattresses from Walmart.com.  The mattresses are awesome, very good quality and they were only $119 each!  If you want to get the same you can find them here.  I love that they are moisture resistant.  The boys sleep like angels every night and say they are very comfy.


Our best purchase was a Kreg Jig off of Amazon.com.  That tool saved us when we were assembling this!  I highly recommend getting one if you wish to build anything.  I wish I'd had it for the first bed we built!  It's really fun to use and leaves all the joints looking clean and professional.

Note: we added a couple feet of height to the top for extra safety

The bed part was so easy to build but it is definitely a two man job.  It's much easier if one person is holding things in place while the other drills/screws it together.  We found that the stairs were the hardest part just because they were awkward angles to screw into.  We used leftover plastic composite decking material for the platform.  I love how easy that is to clean plus it will last longer than just normal wood.  Originally I had planned to paint the whole bed a orange color but now I'm not so sure.  We may just end up putting on a clear coat and even leaving the ink stamps on the wood.  I think it would look cool like that.  Under each mattress is a thick piece of plywood then under the top bunch we placed three 2x4's going across the short way to hold that into place.

We absolutely love the end result!  The bed has been perfect for our two boys in their small space.  Later on we plan to add a handrail by the stairs and I want to build in shelves underneath the void space of the platform.  Our kids own hundreds of books and I think that would be an excellent place to keep them.  At the end I calculated this bed to be just around $100 for us to build.  The price would be much lower if you did not do the high cost plywood.

Ana White also has a great book that is really awesome!  Her book is called The Handbuilt Home and it is packed full of tips and plans to help save you money when furnishing your own home.  You can find more about it here.

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