Introduction: Plywood King Single Bunk Beds Using Materials From Bunnings

About: I'm a father of two who's expecting a third which may help to explain the bunk bed scenario!

Only the 30mm plywood sheets are specific to Bunnings as far as I can tell - the rest of the materials can be purchased at any local hardware store. You could make this project with 25mm plywood available at most timber/hardware stores) however the cutting list will be different and is not discussed in this instructable. I chose the 30mm thick 2250 x 600 sheets because they can be ripped down the middle at any angle you like then joined together to form a very sturdy post.


Must have materials:

7 x sheets of 2250 x 600 x 30mm plywood @$62 each - I/N: 0390218

2 x boxes of 3/8" x 2 1/2" zinc coated cup head bolts @ $11.30 each - I/N: 2260477

30 x zinc washers 3/8" in size - Zenith Zinc Plated Flat Washer - I/N: 2440400

5 x bolts - Zenith M10 x 60mm Stainless Steel Cup Head Bolt and Nut - I/N: 2310374 (SS cup heads don't have stampings on the cup head therefore look better however you can use zinc cup heads to reduce cost)

4 x bolts - Zenith M10 x 100mm Stainless Steel Cup Head Bolt and Nut - I/N: 2310383

9 x M10 washers - Zenith M10 Stainless Steel Flat Washer - I/N: 2430052

A box of your choice of 50mm screws (I used 10-8 gauge square heads)

A box of 75mm screws if you choose not to do the pocket hole method used in this instructable

White paint (if you choose to paint)

80 grit sandpaper and 240 grit sandpaper


Circular saw (I would not recommend cutting with a hand saw)

Drill and impact driver

Router (if you don't have a router, use a wood plane, file, or coarse-grit sandpaper to soften the sharp edges

12mm radius rounding over router bit - I/N: 6371758 (not required if you don't have a router)

2400 long straight edge (cutting long lengths of plywood without one will look bad!

Some sort of square or method of marking angles - Empire 180mm Aluminium Rafter Square - I/N: 5660524

Craftright Pocket Hole Jig @$29.95 - I/N: 6360344 (My jig is a different brand but this will work the same)

10mm HSS drill bit

3mm HSS drill bit

25mm speed/spade bit

Various clamps

Ring spanner/socket/adjustable wrench

2 x saw horses (or milk crates)

Step 1:

Step 2: Making a Post

Sit a sheet of plywood on top of two saw horses or milk crates. This piece of ply will be cut down its length at an angle of your choice. I chose the base of my posts to be 400 wide and the top of the posts (up near the ceiling) to be 200mm wide. On the 600mm end of the sheet, make a mark that is 200mm in from the corner. On the other 600mm end, make a mark 400mm in. When you join the marks together using a pencil and a straight edge, you're left with a long line from one end to the other that is slightly diagonal down the sheet.

Now we want to cut this piece of timber down the line. You can freehand it, or you can clamp your straight edge parallel to the line at a distance that matches the distance your circular saw blade is from the edge of its guide. For me I think the distance was approximately 35mm. Your saw will probably be different. See the photograph; it explains this more clearly.

Cut the plywood sheet in half. These two pieces will be screwed together later to form an L-shaped post.

Repeat for the other three sheets.

Now you should have eight pieces of plywood, 2250 long but 400mm wide one end and 200mm wide the other.

Step 3: Join the Two Pieces to Create an L-shaped Post

I joined my two pieces together using a pocket hole jig and screws because I didn't want to see screw heads due to this project being stained when completed. Half-way through I changed my mind and decided to paint the bed instead, so I could have simply joined the two pieces together with screws that later could be filled over then covered in paint. Ah well, it was a new experience using the jig.

Run some wood glue down the edge you are going to fix to. I didn't photograph this part, sorry, but i'm sure you can figure out what edge the glue goes before clamping.

If you don't have a pocket hole jig, you can join these two corner post pieces together the traditional way however the screws will be seen from the front of the bed unless you fill them and paint them afterwards.

Step 4: The Posts Are Made

Let the glue dry. Pair up your posts so that when you look at the bed you don't see the pocket hole screws or the edge of the plywood on the join created.

Step 5: Making the Rails for the Two Bunks

Each bunk needs two sides and two ends. So that's four sides and four ends. Using the same straight edge clamping technique, I ripped down two more sheets to make the sides and ends as follows:

Sheets 5 and 6 (sheets 1-4 were used to make the posts):

Make a pencil mark on one end of the plywood at approx 190mm in. Do the same the other end of the sheet. Join the marks to make a line and then set up your straight-edge (off-set as before) parallel to the line. Cut the piece. You'll have a piece 2250mm long and 190mm wide.

On the piece that's left, repeat what you just did by making a 190mm mark each end, joining the mark then cutting like before. Now you've got two lengths of plywood ripped to the same size of 2250mm x 190mm.

Trim these two pieces to a length of 2110mm using the circular saw and your rafter square as a guide. If you don't have a rafter square, mark the line to be cut using some other square object and then cut it freehand. There are many examples on youTube as to how to cut square ends using a rafter (aka speed) square.

What's left of the sheet is 2250mm long x approximately 220mm wide. I know this piece is slightly wider than the other two pieces but I decided not to rip it down again to make it 190mm wide like the others because it was just to much a pain. Plus this piece will be cut in half shortly to form either end of the bed - one will be for the feet end, the other for the pillow end, so I didn't mind this piece being slightly deeper than the sides.

So, cut this piece into two lengths, each being 1100 long. A king single mattress is slightly less wide than this, giving you a little bit of finger room when making the bed. If you like, you can just cut this piece into exactly half at a length of 1125 however you'll have more of a gap around the mattress if you do.

Grab the four long pieces (2110 x 190 x 30mm) and drill three holes through each end of each piece. First drill a centre hole then one either side. The holes will be 15mm in from the end of the timber (the line drawn beside the holes shows where the edge of the adjoining piece will be. Obviously 15mm in is half-way into the 30mm thickness of the timber you're using. Counter-sink these holes to accommodate your screw heads when you fix them together later. I didn't photograph the counter-sinking part.

Step 6: Routing

Route all edges of your L-shaped posts using a router and 12mm rounding over bit. If you don't have a router, then use a plane, or a file, or simply spend ages sanding the edges round. Do this for all four posts. I laid my L-shaped posts on the edge of my saw horses and clamped them down so they didn't roll off so as to be able to sand them.

Next, place the remaining pieces (four sides and four ends) on your saw horses and route all long edges (not the very ends), then sand all pieces with a coarse grit paper, then with a finer grit paper until you're happy. If you look at my photograph, I didn't route to the very end of the timbers - this is just a personal choice.

Step 7: Make the Bottom and Top Bed Frames by Joining Together Your Rails and Ends

I didn't photograph this part, sorry.

Lay a side rail (long piece) across your saw horses with counter-sunk holes facing the floor.

Grab a head/foot end piece (the one that is approx 220mm deep) and stand it upright over the holes of one end. Pre-drill using your 3mm drill bit through the already drilled holes and into the stood up piece of timber so when you screw them together they don't move. Clamp if you can - it helps stop movement. Screw together with the screw head ending up sitting nicely in the counter-sink. Do the same for the other end, then place a side rail on top, counter-sinks facing the sky, and screw this piece on. Basically you've just made your first of two bed frames.

Repeat with the remaining timbers so you're left with nothing but four L-shaped posts and two rectangular bed frames. All edges you care about routed and sanded.

When I made the two frames, as mentioned previously, the head end and feet end pieces are slightly deeper than the sides. I just let these ends stick up higher, with the bottom edges of the bed frame in alignment. You can see what I mean in later photos.

Step 8: Clamp Up the Bottom Bunk

I put two L-shaped posts roughly in position. They stand well on their own. Then I slid in the two bunk frames and then placed the other two posts into position. Then, with the kids' help, we raised the frames and I clamped the bottom one into position at a height that suited me. Basically the height from the floor to the top side of the bottom bunk frame was 650. You might want a different height.

Next, I got my 25mm speed bit/spade bit and drilled a hole into the bottom bunk frame to a depth of around 6 or 7mm. Then I drilled into the centre of this, all the way through the frame and the post. Sliding a 60mm cup head bolt from the side you don't see, I added a washer onto the spade-drilled side, then a nut, then tightened.

Repeat this single hole fixing for all corners. Then you can release the clamps. We'll drill the other holes later.

With help, lift the top bunk frame to the desired height. Mine was 800mm down from the ceiling (2400 high).

Either screw in a few 50mm screws as a temporary fix or clamp as you did for the lower bunk. Repeat drilling a single hole in each corner, applying bolts and hand tightening nuts up. The bed I built can only be seen from one side, so I was able to bolt the back section too. You may or may not be able to.

Step 9: Rip Down Your Final Sheet of Plywood to Make Ladder and Pillow Rails

Okay, I'll keep this one as brief as possible.

With the final piece of plywood, rip down two lengths at 2250 x 100 wide. These two pieces will be cut up to form the ladder and safety rail.

Route all edges, sand with coarse then fine paper.

Next, rip off four strips of plywood 2110 x 30mm wide. These four strips should be sanded and set aside.

With what's left, (should be a piece about 2250 x 280mm wide, cut this piece into two, leaving you with two pieces that are 2100 long by 280mm wide. Set these two pieces onto the saw horses and cut to a shape you like. See the photograph. These two pieces will be the pillow rails for when the kids want to sit up in bed. Sand and route all edges as before.

Screw the pillow rails into position with a gap between them and the bed frames. You can decide what gap you like.

Next, grab the four long thin strips you cut earlier, drill 3mm holes, 200mm apart (through the face of the plywood) and then counter-sink them all. Screw two of the rails on to the sides of the bottom bunk frame and then the same for the top bunk frame. These rails will hold your slats/plywood/MDF base for the mattress. The rails should be fixed at the bottom of each frame (see photos).

Step 10: Attach the Ladder and Safety Rail

Okay, again, I didn't document this part too well - I never planned on doing an Instructable, therefore apologies for the lack of dimensions.

Grab the rest of your timber that was put aside for the ladder. Firstly I cut a length that was able to be bolted to the bottom bunk frame, on an angle that mostly matches the angle of the left corner L-shaped post. I stitched this into place using a couple of 50mm screws. Then I went on to bolt them down. You'll have 100mm cap bolts and 60mm cap bolts left. Use the longer bolts for bolting up where three pieces of plywood are joined; the 60mm's for the rest.

Once the vertical ladder part is fixed on, cut another piece that is long enough to join the top of the ladder part to the right hand L-shaped corner post. This will be the safety rail. TIP: I ran this timber right up into the corner of the L-shaped post, which then meant when I later fixed the pillow rail on, there wasn't enough room for to fix. So what you need to do is ensure the safety rail where it attaches to the L-shaped corner post is at least 30mm away from the corner so you've got room to fix your pillow rail on later.

The angle I used on the ends of the ladder rails is 11 degrees. You can choose whatever you like. The ladder rails are bolted left and right but fixed on first with a screw or a clamp if you don't want to fill screw holes.

Step 11: Slats

I purchased two lengths of 138 x 18 x 5400mm Pine. My kids are small, so I'm not worried about the slats failing. If I would do it again I'd buy another length and have more slats. Anyway, cut them up to the width of your bed (they'll sit on the 30mm rails you made) and paint them. Drill two holes in each side and then space them evenly top bunk and bottom and fix off with 50mm screws. I used a scrap piece of timber as a spacer to space them evenly once I worked out how many slats I had.

I used 16mm MDF for the bottom bunk's slats because I had the MDF already. I may change them to the pine slats.

Yes, the slats barely move when I jump onto the bed.