Introduction: Turn an Inexpensive IKEA Childerens Bed Into a Bed/Fort With Lots of Extras
My son was ready to leave his crib behind and move into a Big Boy bed. He is the baby of the family and has lived on mostly hand me downs so I thought I would make the bed special for him.
With that in mind we went to IKEA and found the cheapest loft style children's bed we could find ($200.00). A few days later (and a lot of screws and Velcro) we have "Frankenstein-ed" it into being a loft bed with a fort underneath. The fort includes new false walls, a secret lookout from behind the bookshelf/stairs, a hidden compartment to hide things from his big Sister, lighting, and a periscope to see when Mom and Dad are coming by for a visit.
Step 1: Parts
This is everything that went into making this and the general price for what you need.
I am not including things like wood screws and paint since you may have that stuff around the house already (I did)
The Bed - KURA from IKEA: $209.00
1x1 Post 4 feet long (6 of them needed): $30.00
Small sheet of 2ft X 2ft thin plywood (2 needed): $15.00
Children's Foam Play Mats (2 needed): $40.00
2 Battery powered LED Puck Lights: $10.00
On Sale LED color changing X-Mas Globe lights: $5.00
3 Yards of Duck Cloth: $15.00
Lots of Velcro:$20.00
Liquid Stitch: $7.00
2 Feet of 3inch PVC Pipe: $10.00
3Inch Elbow PVC Joints (2 needed): $14.00
4 pack of round 3inch Mirrors: $3.00 @ Michaels
All in just under $400.00!
Step 2: Build the Bed
This is the "Easy Part" if you think building furniture with an allen wrench is easy. I find it entirely un-natural to be able to build something without a power tool, so for me this may have been the hardest part.
Build the bed in its entirety with the instructions included with the box, bolts and that unnatural allen wrench!
Once that's done its time to start adding our own parts. (-;
Step 3: Add the Door Frame and the Book Shelf
Turn the fully built bed on its side to make it easier to work with.
With the 1x1 ready measure and cut to size a piece to span from the bed to the bottom of the frame. This will be used to make the door frame for your fort. Put it where ever you want but there is a nice pre-drilled hole already on the left side of the frame if you want to make life easier. Attach the post with wood screws.
Now grab the rest of the 1X1 and move to the other side of the bed frame. Next, measure/cut to size and build a frame to attach to the ladder. This will give the base needed to add the plywood and create the stair/bookshelf. Again, attach with wood screws.
With that done, its time to flip the bed back to its original position. Measure the length/width of your newly created steps. Cut the step bases out of the plywood and notch in 1x1 inches at all of the corners. They should fit snugly. I cut the bottom one a little loose on purpose. This is where my son can hide his "secret treasure" from his Sister.
Step 4: Add the Floor and Main Lights
This part is pretty easy. The foam pieces go together like a puzzle. Put them together, slide them under the bed and then use an Exacto knife to cut them to fit inside the frame.
Grab the two LED puck lights and attach them to the underside of the bed. I used small screws but Velcro or magnets would work just as well
Step 5: Add the Fabric Wall Paneling
I used Duck Cloth because it is durable, easy to work with and cheap.
Cut out the two squares to match the openings on either side you are trying to cover. I added an inch on all sides so that I could fold them back and make a sort of non sewers hem. I tacked the fabric over the openings with thumb tacks then folded it back to where I wanted it. Then I used liquid stitch to "hem" it in place. When it was dry I used tape backed Velcro to add to the bed frame and to the fabric.
Step 6: Now Throw in All the Fun Stuff.......
Now that it is mostly built, it is time to add the extras.
I found some clearance item left over X-Mas lights that I weaved though the bed slats to add some cool lighting effects.
Then I made the periscope. I cant take credit for this. I followed someones another builders instructable to create it. I just had the idea to attach it to the bed. Build instructions can be found here:
I will say though that Michale's now sells 3inch round mirrors that fit inside the PVC without having to cut it. That's what I did. I just used hot glue to eyeball the mirrors in place. This seemed to work fine.
Step 7: Hope Its Not So Distracting That He Wont Sleep in It
So far so good, we are on night two and he hasn't mentioned the old crib once. He does like to jump from the top of the bed and hide from us in the fort. We probably should have seen that coming though.