Intro: Bunk Bed in to Folding Beds
In my youngest sons room I have a large bunk bed; there is a double bed on the bottom and a single one on the top. The bunk bed is primarily used for guests and there is an additional bed in the room which he uses all of the time. As you can imagine the bunk bed takes up a lot of room which is only utilised for short periods of time. To make more space I decided that I would be able to transform the bed in to two separate beds that I could fold up on to the wall. The uprights to the bed, and the single bed, are made mainly from circular hollow sections and the main frame to the double bed is made from rectangular hollow sections.
I'm not always in to making detailed plans for things and this was mainly conceived in my head. My plan was to get some heavy duty door hinges that I could fix to the bed via some wood and bolts and then fix this to the wall. The following items are what I used. Most of the hardware I got from Toolstation in the UK, if you live in the UK and haven't come across Toolstation I'd recommended it, its very reasonably priced!
5 heavy duty door hinges (3 for the double bed and 2 for the single bed)
10 No. M8 x 75mm carriage bolts
10 No. M8 washers
20 No. M6 x 40mm coutersunk machine screws and nuts
5 Offcuts of wood - size to suit mattress
10 No. Nylon plugs with hex head coach screws (these are for masonry walls)
Masonry and metal drill bits
Blue decorators tape
Step 1: Make One Bed in to Two
The first step was to separate the bed in to two beds. After taking the mattresses off the beds I marked the point at which I wanted to cut the vertical posts with some blue tape. The height I wanted the final posts to be was to a similar position the top of the mattress normally is.
After determining where I wanted to cut the posts I positioned the tape and started to make the cuts with the hacksaw. After the first two cuts I thought that it would be safer and easier if I put the bed on to its side so I didn't have the top bunk bearing down on my cutting. One of the photos shows a clamp holding two cut sections together so I didn't have any errant parts of bed crashing in to my shins....safe!
It was actually pretty easy to do apart from moving the bed around in a limited space.
Step 2: Bolt the Wood to the Bed Frame
As the top of the legs were above where I could attach the hinges I needed to add some pieces of wood to extend the height at which the hinges would be attached to the wall.
The size of the wood is determined by the hinge size and the mattress height. I made my wood to stop flush with the top of the mattress. In hindsight I should have made the wood a little taller as I cannot fold the bed against the wall with the duvet cover on.
Once the wood is cut drill a couple of holes through the wood for the carriage bolts, clamp the wood to the bed frame and mark the holes on to the frame with a drill bit. Remove the wood and drill the metal frame with drill bits increasing in size until you have the correct size holes.
All that's left is to bolt the wood on to the frame.
Step 3: Attach Hinges to Bed and Wall
As hinges aren't designed for this purpose I decided to use countersunk machine screws to fix the hinge to the wood to reduce the amount of room the heads would take up to the wall side.
After I had drilled the wood and fixed the hinges I pushed the bed against the wall. Due to the legs touching the skirting board I had a gap between the back of the hinges and the wall so I cut another couple of bits of wood to place between the wall and the hinges.
I have masonry walls so used nylon plugs and carriage screws, as the screws were quite substantial I thought the 2 in each hinge would suffice. I checked the wall for live wires prior to drilling as there was a plug socket very close to where I wanted one of the hinges, luckily the wires went downward to the floor so I went for it. I had to drill a few holes for one of the hinges as I hit the side of a brick which forced my drill bit in to the mortar causing the hole to be way off the mark.
Once the plugs were in I screwed the carriage bolts in to the wall. They were very difficult to get in near the end which gives me a bit of confidence that they aren't coming out anytime soon.
Step 4: Test and Add Holding Strap
After fixing all the hinges I lifted the bed a couple of times which seemed fairly easy....well there was no mattress on at the time.
To keep the bed in place once it was in place against the wall I needed something to hold it. I had imagined of some kind of wooden hook type of affair but after looking around my house for inspiration I found a strap which looked ideal. A simple screw through the strap which fixed in to the wall seemed like a pretty good solution. To reinforce the strap around the screw I added a washer to each side which will hopefully reduce any wear there may be on the fabric.
I then put the mattress back on the bed and folded it against the wall. Unfortunately the bed didn't fold as much as I wanted as was way of the reach of strap at the top so I removed the duvet cover from the bed which the allowed it to fold much better. If I had made the wood a little longer this should have worked perfectly. Oh well!
Step 5: Single Bed
As the single bed was on the top it had a cage arrangement around it and if you look at the original bed the vertical post are bent towards the bottom of the top bed. In order to make this work I needed to remove all of the cage (which had been welded to the frame) and completely remove the legs and invert them so I could have the beds at similar levels when on the floor.
I have taken a few photos of the process so you can see how I have done it. Once I had cut the parts, sanded them and then covered any holes by the welding I went through the same process as for the double bed.
The single bed outer frame was made of circular sections bolted on to other circular sections through a hole and as such when the bed is lifted the bed frame rotates as well as the hinges which isn't really ideal and the legs dig in to the wall a little. I am going to leave this for the moment anyway as I haven't thought of an easy way around this and I'm not planning on using these beds all the time.
All in all I'm very pleased as is my son as he now has so much more space in his room and we still have an option for a family of four staying in that room too.
Thanks for reading!
Step 6: Making Safer
After publishing this instructable I was thinking about how to make it safer and I also got a comment regarding safety.
I have rearranged the furniture in the room which covers all the lower legs so they can't be sat on or ran in to, it should also stop any climbing on the frame too. However if they do decide to climb, the only thing that will happen is that the slat they pull on will just pop out as they are fixed to the frame with pretty loose plastic clips.
I'll also be adding another strap or two at the top which should make this arrangement much safer.