So I decided to build a Thomas Train bed for my son, who, like many boys his age, loooooves Thomas the train. Got my design inspiration from another train bed design on instructables.com, hopefully a lot simpler to make.
Step 1: Sketchup
First I drew up the bed in Google Sketchup. This bed was designed for a standard twin size mattress 39" x 75".
You can download the sketchup file here
. You need the Google Sketchup program (free version is enough) to open it.
Step 2: Cutlist Diagram
I used one 4x8 sheet of 3/4" plywood for the bed body, one 4x4 sheet of 3/4" plywood for the foot board/toy chest and some scrap I have for various parts. If you start from scratch, 2 sheets of 3/4" plywood should be more than enough. Alternatively, you could use 1.5 sheet of plywood and half sheet of MDF for the curves.
Step 3: Making the Engine Head
I made the engine head with 2 half circle and a 1/8" hardboard bent around them.
Step 4: Making the Rooftop
Cutting the arcs was a pain, mainly because the plywood is hard to deal with and I don't have a scroll saw to keep the cut perpendicular to the surface. In the end I had to use my router with a straight bit to cut the curves. Again, if I were to do it again, I'd use MDF.
I also used the router to cut a 1/4" groove along the inside of the arcs and the side rail so that the roof board can fit in.
Step 5: Bed Body
The bed body was straight forward to make. The two sides are identical pieces cut from one sheet of plywood (kind of like a "69" pattern). It saves wood and avoids the need to join multiple pieces together. For the decorative red sidings around the window, I used 1x4 pre-primed MDF boards.
Do not throw away the 2 cut-off pieces from the window - they are used as the 2 shoulders for the toy chest.
Step 6: Toybox
The foot board is essentially a box with opening on top and side. I didn't bother to put in a bottom for the box since I figure it's gonna be attached to the bed and sit stationary on carpet. I routed grooves on the inside of the box and turned the left side of the box into an IKEA TROFAST like storage system for toys. The rest of the toybox can still be accessed from the top for storage of bulk items, clothes, bedding, etc.
Step 7: Headboard
I made the headboard out of the left over pieces from cutting the roof arcs (the light blue pieces in the diagram). I joined them using dowel pins & glue, and now we have a headboard w/ nice curves.
Step 8: Thomas Face
For the Thomas face, I found a high resolution picture of it here
. I printed it on 11x17 paper and did a decoupage using mod podge - this is the first time I try decoupage (or heard of this word). It's a good idea to have multiple prints in case you mess it up.
Step 9: Paint & Assembly
I routed all the edges with round over bits, used some spackle to smooth over the flat edges of the plywood. Painted and added couple coats of polyurethane. The assembly was straight forward too, mostly involves pockethole screws, glue and corner brackets.
Step 10: Finished
Here's the finished bed. The train engine head was fixed to the toy chest with hinges and safety lid support, giving safe access to the back of the toy chest. If you want to go nuts, cut some openings on the side of the bed and add some drawers, or better yet, train wheel shaped drawers :D
The project took me more time than I expected, about 3/4 of the time was actually spent on the design and sketchup, but it's been fun for me and the big smile on my son's face makes it all worth it.