I love PVC pipe.  You can do so much great stuff with it!  It's cheap, readily available, easy to work with simple tools, non-toxic as long as you don't burn it, and there are a lot of fittings that make accurate joining of pieces easy.  You don't have to be terribly accurate with your cuts and the bed will still come out fine.

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

Print out the shopping list  and go to your favorite home improvement store and buy the parts.  Be sure to buy extra fittings and pipe so that if you make a mistake you can just keep going. You can always return the extra parts to the store after you've finished making the bed. I usually buy at least two extra fittings of each type and size and a couple extra 10' lengths of pipe. Get a couple small cans of PVC pipe cement and a can of acetone.

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

Will this support a full size mattress by just expanding the width?
Is it possible to make a loft bed out of this for a queen size bed????
For queen size I think you'd need to put a row of vertical posts down the center of the mattress.
Could this be made into a bunk bed? I'm thinking my son's would love it especially if I painted it black or camo.
<p>What size matress can this bed fit?</p>
How wonderful! <br>I'm actually going to use the link for the Sketchup so that I can make a 'stage' out of the pipes. I need to build one that can be taken apart and re-assembled really light and easy to transport and even in my blonde moments I can put it together without a fuss! In addition, you have helped me see that I can make it adjustable; so that when children use the arm puppets, it can be lower, and when adults use it, we can raise it up. <br>I am however going to use your bed idea as the foundation for a small platform, given that it will hold 300lb with a board on top, it will be perfect! Thank you for sharing and thank you for the inspiration. Kind regards, Anna. <br>The kind of 'stage' can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm31ynEFJik
Hmmmmm.... Awesome 'ible, Though I think you could add some diagonals to boost strength and decrease wobbliness. What a fun word to type.... Wobbliness.... <br>Wobbliness....
bloody genius!
dang........ THIS IS SO FRICKIN AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow. Just.....wow. I like this! PVC is so versatile!
If you like this 'ible please vote for me in the Craftsman Tools Contest and the Epilog Challenge!<br><br>Thanks!

About This Instructable


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Bio: I was electrical engineer for 22+ years, then went back to school for 6 years and became a dentist.
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