Princesses and castles has always been my daughter's favorite theme. So when the time came for my daughter to choose for the bed she liked most, her obvious decision was a princess castle. At first she opted for a pink one but, after seeing the frozen movie, she changed her mind and wanted a blue frozen theme castle.
This was the biggest project that I ever had as it took me one and half years to complete (Given that I was working over it only during my free time, I had other priority projects during the year and i do not have many professional tools.)
6 sheets 3/4" plywood
2 sheet 1/4" plywood
1 sheet 1/2" plywood
2 bars of 8" long of 1"x2" lumber
lots of screws
Paints, varnish and thinner
stainless steel bowl and tap for the sink
hinges and drawer rails
cloth, transparent plastic, half inch sponge sheet and styrofoam for covering the edges.
Leds, potentiometers and limit switches for the stroves, fridge and oven
Basic tools required:
Circular saw, jig saw, drill, welder
Other tools like sanders, router, planner can make life a lot more easier and help achieve a better finish. ;)
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Step 1: Design
For designing the castle theme bed, I did some research on existing real castles over the net, looking at each of the architectural details. I wanted to integrate a lot of features in the castle but have not been able to include everything due to space of the room and time. However, I have been able to include a train theme storage for toys, a periscope, a play house, a play kitchen, a climbing wall, a slide, a tiny fully functional manual lift, a second murphy bed, a whiteboard and a table.
I was a bit lost in determining the exact size of each piece of plywood that I needed, so I made paper model first.
The castle bed has been designed to fit a 6" x 3" mattress size.
Step 2: Cutting and Assembling the Designs - the Castle
Once the design was ready I started cutting the pieces require from the plywood. I personally prefer to use Plywood to mdf as plywood is more durable. (though mdf has a flat and flawless surface).
Step 3: Cutting and Assembling the Designs - the Periscope
After building the enclosure for the periscope, I have added 2 pieces of mirror. The first upper one is at 45° angle while the second one pivots on one end and there is a string on the other end. The string is then fixed to a wheel (I have use a potentiometer for the wheel). So, when turning the potentiometer the lower mirror pivots up and down at different angles. So, kids can stay on their bed and look what is happening in front of the castle without being noticed.
Step 4: Cutting and Assembling the Designs - the Stairs and Train Theme Storage
There is a drawer below the first step and a hidden compartment behind the train engine's window.There is also a big storage box which is fitted with chair wheels.
Step 5: Cutting and Assembling the Designs - the The Slide and Kitchen
After having assembled the slide and kitchen, I have used an old plate rack to add the shelves for the fridge, dish washer and oven. I have also used an stainless steel bowl and an old tap for the sink.
Step 6: Cutting and Assembling the Designs - Murphy Bed, Table and White Board
After making the base for the bed, I had to built a murphy bed mechanism so that the bed does not fall on someone. I have used springs to counter balance the weight of the bed.
The flip down bed has a table attached to it. The table can as well be flipped down by turning the 2 switches found on each side. I have made the lock switches with 2 bolts and the switch caps were salvaged from an old shower water heater.
Furthermore, I have fixed everything for the murphy bed in such a way that everything stays intact on the table when the bed goes up or down ;)
Step 7: Cutting and Assembling the Designs - the Lift
For the lift I have used curtain rails to keep the lift in place. I have made 2 wooden pulley and used a bungee rope to counter balance the weight of the box. So if the lift is in the middle or at the top, it is never going to go down by itself.
Step 8: Assembling Everything Together
The front panels are on hinges and below one of the rock designs, there is a hidden lock. If the key is not inserted in the lock, you will not notice under which rock the lock is ;).
Step 9: Prepare the Art Piece for Painting
I have sanded all the plywood ends round. If you have a router, then this process can be done a lot easier. I do not have one so, I have used sanding papers and did that manually. Sharp plywood ends can be more injurious than round ends if someone bumps onto it. So it is better to make the furniture the safest possible for kids.
After this was done, I filled all imperfections with wood filler and sanded the furniture's surface smooth.
For the painting part, I have:
1. Added a layer of sealer on the furniture to seal it. Plywood emits gases and hence it is good to seal the material well for your kids health.
2. Sanded and added a layer of primer.
3. Sanded lightly and added a layer of paint.
4. Added a layer of varnish. The varnish make the furniture more durable and easier for cleaning.
Note: If you are using lacquer paints, do not forget to leave your furniture in a well ventilated area for at least 1 month before putting it in your kids room.
Step 10: My First Try at Decoupage Techniques
Using Frozen themed paper napkins, I have cut the desired parts and glued then to the desired locations. Thereafter I added several layers of varnish on them.
The Olafs in the pictures are the knobs for the drawers.
Step 11: Assembling Everything Together
After the paints dried well, I have assembled everything together. The edges of the slide was not looking very safe so I have added pieces of styrofoam on it, covered the styrofoam with a piece of half inch sponge and then covered everything with a piece of cloth and a thick transparent plastic. The plastic was not sitting smoothly on the cloth, but I finally made it look nice by using a hair dryer and heating the plastic up.
Step 12: Kitchen Lights
Yes, it is not over yet...
I have not installed the electronics parts yet. I am planning to use some limit switches and leds to make the lights turn on when the fridge and oven doors are opened. I am also going to make use of potentiometers to control the leds for the four stroves. There will also be one potentiometer fixed inside the tap so that when the tap is turned on, a led will light up where the water flows.
Stay tuned... ;)
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You might also like to have a look at the multifunctional table i have made for my daughter:
Your comments are much appreciated.