This bed was designed and built for my son when he was about 4 years old. The plans have been on my web site for several years and I still get a couple emails per week about them. People always ask me three questions:
1) How much weight can it hold?
Answer: I have loaded my son's bed with >300 lbs on many occasions with no problems. The weight gets divided among the 8 vertical pipes, so each pipe is supporting only about 1/8 of the total load. That statement isn't 100% accurate, but it's close enough.
2) Is it durable?
Answer: My son has been using the bed for 9 years. I think that means it's durable.
3) How much does it cost?
Answer: When I built it I spent about $180 for all the pipe, fittings and glue. I suspect the cost is about the same today.
The bed is made almost entirely from schedule 40 PVC pipe and fittings available from any home improvement store. The design can be easily adapted to a bunk bed. It includes a ladder and railing on the top to prevent your kid from tumbling out at night or when preparing to board a pirate ship. You can make a cloth skirt that turns the bed into a great fort for the kids to hide and play in, or you can put a desk underneath where kids can do homework. At xmas you can hang lights all over it.
I don't recommend this design bed for really little kiddies- they may fit between the rails and fall or go over the top rail if they're getting really crazy. If you're concerned about it you can easily modify the plans to beef up the railing. If you choose to make this bed you assume all responsibility for your kid's safety in using it.
For those who care, the drawing below was made using AutoCAD. You can make similar drawings using Google Sketchup. There is a Sketchup library of schedule 40 pipe fittings here: Sketchup PVC Pipe Library
Step 1: Shopping for parts
You will need a few pine boards or a piece of plywood to fit on top of the mattress platform. 36" x 72" +/- a few inches will fit just fine.
The only tools you'll need are:
some sort of saw:
a clamp or vise to hold pipe while you're cutting it:
a rubber mallet,
a tape measure:
and a pencil or felt tip pen. The rubber mallet is used to dry-fit parts before gluing them together (and to get them apart again so you can apply the glue). Acetone will take most of the inked markings off the pipe before you glue the pieces together.
Clicky clicky: Shopping List Cutting List