Instructables

Thomas Train Bed

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Picture of Thomas Train Bed
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. 

 
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Step 1: Sketchup

Picture of 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

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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

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I made the engine head with 2 half circle and a 1/8" hardboard bent around them.

Step 4: Making the rooftop

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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

Picture of 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

Picture of Toybox
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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

Picture of Headboard
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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

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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

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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

Picture of 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, but it's been fun for me and the big smile on my son's face makes it all worth it. 


pd'ostroph3 months ago
I found your instructions and thought I would give it a try. My son is crazy for Thomas the Tank, and I thought it would make a great Christmas present. I took a collaboration of all the posts and customized it a bit. I made the roof taller, added some extra wheels and whistles, and put the steering wheel on. The light is LED and is held on with a magnet, so he can detach it and find his toys in the storage. Thank you for posting this. The late nights in Santa's workshop made it all worth while, when I saw him so excited and smiling all day...
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raptor23 (author)  pd'ostroph2 months ago

Good work! The bed gets more and more fancy, I wish I thought about all these bells & whistles my original design. Cheers!

pd'ostroph3 months ago
few more pics
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Jenris8 months ago
Yep, we did build and paint Thomas in our living room. We did all the cutting outside but it's winter here and we were painting in the evening after the little man was in bed so we set ourselves up in the house with the heating. We have two living areas so it wasn't too annoying and made us keep our noses to the grindstone!

Thanks for posting your design. We're not woodworkers (hence no workshop!) but we've been able to build our little guy an awesome bed. He's been sleeping in it for a month or so now and hasn't once got out of bed to wander around like most toddlers!
Jenris8 months ago
Been meaning to take some better pics and upload them for you raptor23 but keep running out of time so here are a few from my phone but at least it'll give you an idea of our son's Thomas bed. Son's bedroom is quite small so it's tough to get a good pic now that it's in place. It took a little time to convert all the dimensions to mm and to suit an Aussie mattress but we got there in the end. We added wheels, a light and a steering wheel. We had to extend our ducted heating and add a vent in the side between the wheels too. We had great fun making it and 2 year old loves his bed!
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raptor23 (author)  Jenris8 months ago
Glad to see train bed design going international! Thanks for sharing.

And, I have to ask - did you actually build/paint the bed in the middle of what appears to be your living room?!
ctedelen9 months ago
I just used these plans to build my sons bed. I made a few small modifications though. I extended the roof up so i wouldnt have to worry about him, or me, bumping his head, extended the engine part out some and added a smoke stack and light. I am looking for a way to add some sound effects that are picture button controlled. Thanks so much for these plans, it was exactly what i was looking for, and he loves it.
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raptor23 (author)  ctedelen9 months ago
I love getting notifications from instructables telling me that another cool Thomas Train bed was made for a lucky kid who was probably jumping & screaming at the sight of the bed. Thanks for sharing!
raptor23 (author) 11 months ago
Wow cparson0413 - excellent work! The lights, the train wheels ... and the funnel - awesome details! I am so happy to see your post, you made my day.
cparsons041311 months ago
BTW..... we added a battery operated light to the front to act as the lantern. It's great as a night light!
cparsons041311 months ago
raptor23: what a great job! Just like natebowers11, I too made a few adjustments. However, would have not been close to thinking about your design. My Grandson never knew I was making it and just about lost his mind when he saw it. My son and daughter-in-law have been trying to get him into his own bed. Now, they can't get him out of it!
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raptor23 wanted to thank you for the post and share my photos. kid loves the bed. changed a few things along the way but never would have thought of this idea on my own. great job. Nate
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raptor23 (author)  natebowers111 year ago
Nate, that was awesome! And you got the matching bedding too! Thanks very much for sharing, enjoy :)
rehyburg1 year ago
Excellent! Thank you for the VERY detailed instructions. My 2.5 y/o is going to love this! One question...can you tell me what thickness MDF you suggest? Thank you again for sharing your knowledge.
1/8 mdf works best for the bends, you have to wet it first and let it soak so it won't snap when you bend it for the head.
rtrulove1 year ago
Omg my son is going to go NUTS over this! Awesome work! Quick question though....did you put a platform of some sort under the mattress? Or is there just a box spring on the ground with the mattress on top?
raptor23 (author)  rtrulove1 year ago
rtrulove: yes I have a box spring underneath. It's about the same dimension as the mattress itself. Alternatively, you could use a plywood platform or slats with proper support. Good luck.
Hi, Thanks so much for these amazing instructions. By any chance do you still have the computer file you drew the plans in? Thanks so much for sharing. Lauren
raptor23 (author)  LaurenDufour1 year ago
Got quite a few requests for the computer file, so I decided to upload it online. You can download the file from here, and you need Google Sketchup software to open it. Have fun.

P.S. Feel free to post photos if you ended up making one as well.

J
embochner1 year ago
what kind of paint/finish did you use?
raptor23 (author)  embochner1 year ago
embochner - I used regular wall paint from HD for the blue and spray paint cans for the red and espresso, plus 2 coats of polyurethane.

BTW ... Thanks all for the nice comments :)


looks great i might build this for my nephew
c-face1 year ago
Thanks! My kid is going to love this!!!
tqwerty1 year ago
Great job!
Although, I believe that he is called "Thomas the Tank Engine"
Keep up the good work :D
bajablue1 year ago
First Class Instructable... and super-cute, too!!!
danlynne071 year ago
wow. you are talented. i wish i could make this for my son.
mikolynn1 year ago
Amazing! I only miss some boxes down the bed but anyway... Really great!
i8paste1 year ago
Wow! You can really see his excitement in this picture. Very cool. Well done, again!
i8paste1 year ago
Looking good! Is that the lucky recipient of this bed in the top picture?
Jealous of all the available space your garage. The more my wife and I fight the clutter, the more we seem to lose the battle.
i8paste1 year ago
Really great! Well done! I must be careful so that my son doesn't see this. He will be SO jealous!
jamieman1 year ago
Awesome!
CarpePM1 year ago
That's awesome. Well done!!
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