In this instructable, I will show you an easy to make canopy pet bed or infant photographers prop. My Sister-in-Law requested a canopy bed for infants. An image search turned up several designs. Most of which were made with pre-spun staircase balusters. The spindles right off the home store shelf, are made from poplar. Poplar isn't the prettiest wood, but it is a hardwood that mills nicely and accepts stain.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
As always, Safety First! - Wear your safety gear!!!
I used a Miter saw, Table saw, Pocket hole jig, Belt sander, Orbital sander and my lathe for the post finials.
4' of 3/4" thick X 2.5" wide poplar hardwood. This is for the side boards and foot board of the bed. I also used a 5.5" wide poplar board for the headboard. And small carving I had laying around. Cherry stain, satin spray on polyurethane and finishing wax.
Most of the cost was the spindles themselves at over 5 bucks each.
Step 2: Cut Your Boards to Finished Length
I cut the side-boards at 19" long each. I then cut a 14" length from the same stock for the foot-board. The headboard is the wider of the boards but the same length as the foot-board. By the time your finished cutting the boards, you should have 2- 2.5X3/4"X19", 1- 2.5"X3/4"X14", 1- 5.5"X3/4"X14".
Also, cut the little dowels protruding from the bottoms of the spindles, these aren't needed.
Step 3: Shape the Headboard
This headboard isn't that fancy, I was going for simplistic more than anything here. Use your own judgement on the design of this.
I measured up from the bottom of the headboard 2.5" (that's the same width as the side and foot-boards). I then measured 2" in from each side and 2" down from the top. I then used a 2" forstner bit and my drill press to cut a circle out of each corner. next, I used my band-saw to remove the sharp corners and glued a piece of wood to the top to act as molding. Lastly, sand the headboard.
Step 4: Drill the Pocket Holes
Now we need to drill the pockets for the joints. take a look at all the cut boards carefully. You want the grain to match as much as possible. Once you've identified the good/bad sides lay them good side down on your bench.
Next, set up your pocket hole jig for the proper thickness wood and one board at a time drill your pockets at each end on each board.
I took a few minutes to sand all the boards at this time.
Optional, I used my router with a large round-over bit to soften the top edge of the side boards.
Step 5: Glue Support Rails to the Side Boards
After I drilled the pockets, it's time to glue some support rails to the frame sides. These are nothing more than scrap poplar cut to about 14" long and 3/4"X3/4". Simply line them up straight and glue them in place. Clamp or shoot a couple finish nails to let it dry.
Step 6: Assemble the Bed
I made the headboard and foot-board first by gluing and pocket screwing the posts to the boards.I used scrap blocks to locate the distance from the bottom of the post and the bottom of the frame. This distance is 1.5" I also place a piece of 1/4" plywood under the frame boards while gluing and screwing it together. This will automatically properly locate the frame boards to the posts for you simply by holding it in place while you pocket screw it together.
This is much easier done than said...
After the head and foot boards are complete, you can repeat the process for the sides.
Step 7: Finish Sand and Stain the Bed
Sand the whole thing to 220 grit and stain it with your choice of color.
Staining is almost an art-form in its self. There is no right wrong way to do it really, but it can prove to be tricky with some brand stains and certain woods. Pine for instance, does not accept stain very well, Oak sucks it up very fast, Maple tends to accept stain nice and evenly, so does poplar. I had some cherry stain on hand so I tried a scrap piece and I really liked the color and shade. Using a small brush for the crevices and a cotton rag for the large areas, wipe the whole thing down with the stain. If you see blotches wipe them vigorously. If you see glue spots, STOP AND SAND THEM! glue spots are a pain in the A$$. I think I even missed a couple...
Let it fully dry at least 24 hours!
Step 8: Cut the Posts to Size
Its time to cut the posts to size. This should have been done before glue up and assembly, but I wasn't sure how long I wanted them so I chose to do this last. you can measure and cut by hand with a saw or lengthen your table saw fence with a long board and slide the bed bottom against the fence along and cut the tops evenly.
Save these cuts for the next step.
Step 9: Make the Post Finials
Repetition is not my friend. It never has been. The most challenging thing I have found on the lathe is duplicating pieces for a project. This is great practice though.
I chucked up the first piece and figured out how I wanted it to look and began cutting. I have to keep in mind the next three finials and the steps involved while I'm making the first one. The first one is always the easiest, Its the ones after that are difficult!
I managed to get them all close enough and cut them off the blanks. They actually turned out pretty well.
Make sure you sand them to completion.
I used CA glue to fix the finials to the posts.
I also applied a second coat of stain to the bed frame at this point. The second coat goes on fast.
Let everything dry 24 hours!!!
Step 10: Finish the Bed
Welcome to the finish line!
Its time to protect your project! Finishing is the "make or break" point in any woodworking project. finishing does two things. Firstly, It protects the precious wood. Secondly, It beautifies the project. The project looks very nice at this point, but it will not last without a proper finish!
In this project, I used a wipe on poly and a rag to cover the entire project. Starting with the bed upside down do the underside. This could easily be skipped but don't, you want to take pride in this project and Half-A$$ing it will not accomplish this. Wipe the entire project thoroughly on this step paying special attention to details and crevices.
Let it dry overnight.
Using fine steel wool, wipe all surfaces. Next, blow it off and wipe it down with a clean cotton rag to remove any dust.
Using a satin finish spray, I sprayed the entire project. let it dry and do a quick final coat. Let it dry!
The last thing i did was wax the entire thing down with a finish wax and an abrasive pad.
Let it sit 20 minutes and wipe the wax off with paper towels and finally rub it down with a clean cotton rag.
Your bed is finished and with proper care it could easily last a lifetime! Hows that for a cheap but MUCH better alternative to a store bought bed!
Thanks for looking!