Well we moved into an apartment and as you know, they aren't known for the amount of space they have. We needed a place to sleep and a place to work. This gave us an idea, sleep above the workspace with loft beds!
You can build one in an afternoon if you stick with it and it can be made for under $100. We didn't stain ours because we like the look of the bare wood (haha) and it wasn't worth the effort.
After we had the idea, we started looking around for plans. None of them really fit our situation exactly, but we used some ideas from each of them. You can manipulate, add or subtract from these plans. They are just what suited us.
There is a Google sketchup file I uploaded that is the project.
Step 1: Materials
As with all things we need the trusty materials list.
~Drill with various bits
~Saw - capable of cutting at right angles (miter saw)
~Clamps - preferably C clamps.
~Wrench - preferably ratcheting
~ (1) Twin sized mattress
~ (1) sheet of 3/4" plywood (get it cut to 39 inches by 75 inches at the place if possible)
~ (12) 2x6's
~ (6) 2x4's
~ (16) 3/8" carriage bolts
~ (16) 3/8" ID 1" OD Washers
~ (16) 3/8" nuts (locknuts if you wish)
~ (1) pack of 3 1/2" screws
Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once.
I suggest cutting all of the wood before you start building, it will make the building more streamlined. Use some logic with the wood, if there is a big crack, cut it off.
A good suggestion is to also cut off a half a centimeter before measuring so you have a nice good end on the finished product.
You will need to cut....
~(2) 39 1/2 inch pieces from one 2x6. front and back support
~(2) 72 1/2 inch pieces from 2 2x6's. side supports
~(1) 78 1/2 inch piece from your prettiest 2x6. shelf
~(4) 81 1/2 inch pieces from your strongest looking 2x6's. back legs
~(4) 71 1/2 inch pieces from your strongest looking 2x6's. front legs
~(1) 39 1/2 inch piece from a 2x4
~(1) 74 inch piece from a 2x4
~(4) 42 1/2 inch from 2 2x4's
~ and cut the sheet of plywood to 39"x72" if you didn't already
Step 3: Build Legs
Get out your drill and a 1/8" drill bit and a screwdriver bit with two of the same sized legs.
Line them up as shown in the photo making sure to make them as flush with eachother as possible. Drill a pilot hole in the end and drill in the screw. Then move about a quarter of the way up the board and line it up, making adjustments if needed. Drill and screw keeping the board lined up. Do this until the end of the leg and then do the same with the other boards.
Step 4: Set Up Legs
Now move into the room that you want the bed. Set of legs so that it matches the picture. Lean two of them against a wall or other piece of furniture and lay the other two down so you can work with them easier.
Step 5: Install Side Supports
This is where we make the short sides and attach the two legs together. This is where is really counts to make sure all of your cuts are square and that you are patient with it so it comes out good.
Now with your two legs that are layed down, measure up from the bottom of both of them 54 inches. Put a 39 1/2" 2x6 on the inside of the legs lining up the bottom of the 2x6 with the lines. Make sure everything is lined up and squared and then drill the pilot holes and drill in the 2 1/2 inch screws. We put in 2 screws but you can put in however many you feel comfortable with.
Do this with the opposite side in the same way.
Step 6: Attach the Long Sides
Do the same thing with the longer sides but with the 72 1/2 inch boards. Since this time we can't lay them on the ground, use the clamps to hold the boards in place. Pilot and then drill the screws.
Make sure the boards are lined up like in the picture. Now we can put in the bolts.
If you want you can test the fit of the plywood in the top by just laying on top of the four supports.
Step 7: Insert the Bolts
Drill two 3/8 inch holes in each end of each board so it goes through the legs. Hammer in the carriage bolts and then put the washers in and put the nuts in. Tighten them to your satisfaction.
Step 8: Bottom Supports
Now we need to put some supports at the bottom to keep the rocking to a minimum. Measure up from the bottom 17 inches on the inside of the legs on the opposite side of the side you want the ladder. Put another 39 1/2 inch piece lined up with with the 17 inch mark so that it is lined up with the top of the 2x4.
Now measure 17 inches up on the long side with the tall legs and put the 74 inch piece in with a few screws.
Step 9: Ladder
Now its time to install the ladder. Measure up from the bottom in 17 inch intervals. These will line up with the top of the rungs.
Line up the boards and pilot the holes and drill them.
Step 10: Shelf
Now take your 78 1/2 inch 2x6 and drill in onto the top of the long legs.
Step 11: Closing
You can mess with these plans however you want. We put the ladder to the side for one of them that we made.
To finish, all you need to do is put the piece of plywood over the supports and then put the mattress in over that.