DIY Loft Bed

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Introduction: DIY Loft Bed

About: I truly enjoy making things...

If you have a small apartment, then a loft bed is a great way to get some extra space. Our apparent doesn't have high ceilings and so the bed needs to be fairly short, but we still gained a ton of extra storage.

To make this project you will need a little bit of experience, but it still is very simple. There are no complex joints and you should be able to make it even with limited tools.

Supplies

Tools

  • Cordless drill
  • Drill press
  • Table saw
  • Circular saw
  • Random orbit sander
  • Palm router

Materials

  • Rough lumber or
  • 2x8 – Sideboards and supports
  • 2x4 – supports
  • 3x4 or 4x6 for the legs
  • You can find the exact dimensions in the PDF plan below. However, you will probably need to adjust it to your mattress size and lumber.

Step 1: Legs

  • If you are starting with rough lumber, you will have to run it through the planer and jointer first.
    • I had some fairly thin roofing battens laying around. Because I wanted the crosssection of the legs to be 100x60 mm, I had to glue 4 of these battens together.
  • However, you can get a 3x4 which is 63x90 mm or a 4x6 which is approximately 90x140 mm. This means that you will just need to cut it to length, sand it smooth and chamfer the edges.
    • This is definitely a much faster and easier way to go, so I would definitely recommend it.
    • Just make sure that the 3x4s or 4x6s you get are straight.

Step 2: Boards

  • I made all 4 of the boards 30x200 mm while cutting the sideboards to 1860 mm and the headboard and footboard to 1600 mm. The lengths will vary depending on the size of your mattress as well as the crosssection of the legs.
  • The first step was to cut the rough lumber to more manageable pieces and then to run them through planer and jointer and finally to cut them to length.
  • The more efficient way is to get a nicely straight 2x8 boards which are actually 38x184 mm and just cut the 4 pieces of appropriate length out of it.

Step 3: Supports

  • Next, supports for the mattress need to be made.
  • There will be two supports (side supports) screwed to the inside of the sideboards. They will be 30x50 mm and almost the same length as your mattress (make them about 10 mm shorter)
    • If you are using 2x8s for the sideboards you can just cut an extra 2x8 board into 4 strips. The support will then be roughly 40x38 mm, which works too.
  • The middle consists of two 30x50 mm strips glued together to create a 60x50 beam.
    • The middle support has is secured to the front and back board using wooden pegs and M8 bolts with barrel nuts.
    • To reinforce it there is a leg in the middle as well. The leg sits in a recess and is secured to the middle support with two decking screws from the top. The holes for the screws were predrilled because I didn't wanna risk splitting the leg. This can be made out of a 2x4.

Step 4: Mattress Grate

  • We are making 2 grates, one for each half of the bed.
  • I made each grate out of 14 15x30 mm strips, so we will need 28 pieces in total. The strips should be about 5 mm shorter than half of the width of your bed.
    • If you are using a 2x8 board you can just cut 15 mm wide pieces out of it. But you will need to adjust the spacing of the grate.
  • Then we connect the wooden strips with upholstery webbing, using a stapler. A spacer of the right length makes this process fairly quick.
  • This way, you will just need to fix the first and last strip to the bed frame, the rest of the grate will be fixed in place by the webbing.

Step 5: Connecting the Parts

  • Sideboards are connected to the legs and middle support with 12 mm wooden dowel pins, M8 bolts and barrel nuts.
  • The holes that are drilled in each mating part have to be reasonably straight and accurately spaced.
    • Therefore, I made a simple jig with a hole pattern. It is made out of hardwood (oak) for better wear resistance and it has a backside to help with the alignment.
    • Drilling through this ensures that all the holes are perpendicular to the surface and have the same spacing. This is critical when you want all three dowel pins and two bolts at each connection point to line up.
  • Next, the position of the cross holes for the barrel nut is measured and drilled. The way I measured this is clearly shown in the attached video.
  • Make sure that the holes for bolts and nuts are about 1 mm oversize. If make them too small the assembly is gonna be difficult.
  • On the other hand, holes for the dowel pins should be exactly 12 mm.

Step 6: Make It Look Pretty

  • Using a palm router we will put a 45° chamfer on all of the visible edges. This makes the parts nice to the touch and "hides" any misalignments or gaps.
  • Then it is time to sand everything smooth. A random orbit sander with a 180 grid pad is a perfect tool for the job. 180 grid leaves a nice finish and is fairly quick as well.

Step 7: Applying Finnish

  • The finish you choose is certainly gonna be dictated by the space the bed will go to as well as your personal preference. I wanted to make something unusual and give this bed a nice washed-out white look.
  • I applied regular enamel white paint and immediately wiped it off using a paper towel and a dull scraper. This way, the paint stays in the low spots and more porous areas of the wood. This gives it this lovely whiteish look and also brings out the natural structure.
  • Once the paint was dry, I brushed on two coats of nitrocellulose lacquer with light sanding (600 grid by hand) in between.

Step 8: Assembly 1

  • Firstly we will assemble the front and backside of the bed (headboard and footboard).
    • Using a rubber mallet we just hammer the wooden pegs into the predrilled holes and then the board and leg together.
    • Once the two parts are close enough together, we can put in the bolts and nuts and close the remaining gap by tightening the bolts evenly.
  • Next, we connect the front and back with the sideboards and middle support. The procedure is pretty much the same, but you might need an extra hand or two.

Step 9: Assembly 2

  • Now, we will need to instal the side supports, just screw them to the sideboards using 10 decking screws for each support.
    • We have to make sure that they are level with the middle support.
  • Place the middle leg underneath the middle support and secure it with two decking screws from the top.
    • If you don't wanna risk splitting the leg, predrill the holes first.
  • We will put on the wooden grate and screw it to the supports.
  • Finally, we put the mattresses in place.

Step 10: Good Night

We are done! The design of this bed is pretty straight forward, but I believe that the result looks very professional. We have it located in corner of the room, so I anchored it to the wall at two points and it feels rock solid.

Thank you very much for following along and if you have any questions, I will be happy to help.

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