DIY on a dime: How to make a toddler loft bed out of an old crib in 10 simple steps
Transform your old crib into a toddler loft bed with little more than you already have in your garage.
I’ve had lots of questions about how to make this toddler loft bed:
The short answer is this: I told my husband, “I’d like it cut about here and here, you know, sort-of like this, and then raise this part up to here and put a ladder here… know what I mean?” I said.
And then he did it. (He’s clever like that.)
Not very technical, huh?
I’m very much a “winger” when it comes to design and DIY, and I often just like to figure things out as I go. Although Ryan’s more intentional (read: accurate) in his planning, he’s a little bit the same.
It usually goes something like this: I envision it, he makes it happen, I tweak it as we go, he finalizes and perfects it. Together we usually get it right.
I’m afraid I don’t have a step-by-step photos to share since we didn’t document the process, but since so many have asked I will do my best to explain how we—I mean, he—did it.
Please bear in mind that I have no idea about technical terms when it comes to building, so this is as fancy as it’s gonna get, folks.
10 simple steps to make your toddler loft bed:
1. Find a sturdy crib that you’re willing to modify. We got ours for free off of our local Freecycle network (and we were gifted a new mattress to go with it from Judah’s baby shower last year).
2. Remove the mattress base and relocate it to the height you want. This might be the highest setting you used when bubby was a newborn, or you might want to reposition it all together.
3. Take off one of the long edges of the crib and cut an opening for the ladder, about 2/3s of the way down. Use the extra part of the rail to finish off the new edge and then re-secure it to the rest of the bed.
4. Taking the left over crib slats, cut to the size you want in order to make the rungs for the ladder.
5. Measure two sturdy pieces of wood (we used pallet wood – also from Freecycle) to make the sides of the ladder for whatever height you cut your mattress base to. Then cut the bottom edge at a slight angle so it will rest flush on the floor when the ladder is leaned at a slight angle up against the bed.
6. Use a router to create grooves in the side of the ladder in the size and shape of the rungs. The tighter you can make the fit, the more secure the ladder will be.
7. Use wood glue to secure the rungs in place. If you need more security then screw or nail them together from the outside edges of the ladder to make it extra sturdy.
8. Cut a notch in the top of the ladder so that it will fit snuggly on the side of the bed. Secure it using wood glue and screws.
9. Get a metal angle brace to reinforce the end of new guard rail since this part of the bed will undergo a lot of pressure as your little one climbs up and down, holding onto it for balance. Secure it under the bed and on the back of the new section of rail.
10. Give the entire bed a fresh coat of paint. (Depending on the condition of your crib, you may need to sand it back before painting.)
Levi (our 2.5 year old) absolutely loves his new bed and it’s made the transition really easy. Judah (our 13 month old!!) absolutely loves it too. He’s quite the climber and has already figured out how to get both up and down it.
It’s sturdy enough for me to crawl up there with the boys and read stories together before bed, and I’ve even seen Ryan perched on the end reading to Levi. I guess you could say we all really dig it.
For me, the cute-factor is one thing, but I especially love that it doesn’t take up extra room in the boys’ (already very full) shared bedroom. Not only has the bed’s footprint not changed, but we’ve created storage space for toys underneath. #winningallaround
Dear friends, if you decide to make a little toddler loft bed like this I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do!Pin It