Asleep Under The Stars

$600
3 Weeks
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While perusing Pinterest one day, I came across a beautiful toddler teepee bed with pull out trundle that I knew would be perfect for my son. My inner child screamed in delight over the thoughts of cozy forts on stormy nights while my wallet howled in horror over taxes and shipping fees. When I found out the price tag was well over $2000, there was only one thing to be done...build it myself
After days of studying the photos from different angles, making my own schematics, soaking up encouraging blanket statements of "No, I don't think you're crazy" and "I love that you want to do this" from my fiancee, and several trips to Lowe's later, I got started.
My very first step in building this bed was determining what size of mattress I was going to use. I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on childrens' mattresses that were going to be useless in about 6 years. So I went to Ikea and bought 2 VYSSA SLA mattresses @ 27.5 x 63". I also bought 2 SULTAN LADE slatted bed bases with the same dimensions as well.
I used 2x2 furring strips to create the ledge that my slatted bed base would sit on. The base required 2x 63.25" lengths for the sides of the frame and 3x 25" cross beams. Then I attached a 2x4x4" block at each intersection to help both stabilize the base and create platforms to attach my 4 castors (one on each corner) to.
Once my base was built. I laid the slatted bed base on top and screwed every 3rd slat to the furring strips. Then I attached the castors taking care to keep the castors within the base boundaries when they swiveled so they wouldn't hit the frame when it was attached. The base was complete.
Next I built the frame of the trundle bed. I used 1x6" pine boards cut to 28" for the ends and 1x8" pine boards cut to 65" for the sides. It was important to me that I didn't have any edges in the front or screws showing anywhere so I mounted the end pieces inside the front and back pieces so the edges were on the sides of the bed. I mounted them together with L brackets.
Next I slid my finished base inside the frame. With the mattress laying on the base, I sunk the base until the mattress top was level with the front and back panels of the frame. Leveled it off and screwed the frame to the base all the way around. I countersunk my screws so I could fill them in with wood filler, sand and paint over the whole frame for a smooth finish.
I used Killz primer and Behr enamel paint. I painted the frame white in 2 coats, taped off my grass with painter's tape and painted over the tape in my white paint to prevent any bleeding. Let it dry and then painted over again in the green tinted behr enamel paint. Once that was dry, I applied 2 coats of Minwax clear polycrylic over the whole thing. The Trundle bed was complete.
So the base for this bed required 2 lengths of furring cut to 65" and 3 lengths for crossbeams cut to 25". I fastened the base together with L brackets and then attached 2x4x4" block at every intersection once again. Next I fastened the slats to the base, same as the trundle.
Now I built the frame for the main bed. I used 2 2x6 pine boards cut to 28" (ends) and 2 2x6" boards cut to 68". I fastened everything together with L brackets and sunk my base into my frame with the mattress in place. This time I wanted my mattress to be 2 inches higher than the bed frame. Once I got it to the desired depth in my frame, I leveled it off and screwed the frame to the base all the way around countersinking the screws, filling and priming/painting/polycrylic once more.
Now it was time to make the stilts that would support the main bed frame. I used 2x3" pine cut to 6 lengths of 14". Then I notched each piece 3 inches down the length and 3/4" in to create a ledge that the main bed will sit on. I sanded the hell out of these since they were going to be stained. 80 grit first then 320 grit. I stained these with 1 coat of Minwax wood stain in espresso then went over them with 2 coats of Polyurethane, sanding them with steel wool in between coats.
Next I simply screwed the stilts directly into the frame taking care to position the stilts directly over the seam where the end pieces meet. I used 3" screws for this to further brace everything together.
Next it was on to the roof. I cut 2x 35x35" squares of FINISHED pine plywood. At the top of the square, I measured in 17.5" to find the point of my triangle, drew 2 straight lines from that mark to each bottom corner of the square to make a symmetrical triangle. I cut along my 2 lines with a circular saw. Next I needed to cut an 11" circle out of the triangles. To do this I screwed the base of my jigsaw to a 7x6" leftover scrap of wood. I cut a hole for the blade of the jigsaw to operate in and measured 5.5" on my plank over from the jigsaw blade and made a mark.
I found the center of my circle on my triangle piece, measured 5.5" over from that mark and drilled a hole that would be my starting point of the circle. I screwed a screw through the 5.5" mark I made on my magyvered jigsaw plank into the mark I made that was the center of the circle in my triangle, inserted the blade of the jigsaw into the hole I drilled and guided the jigsaw around my pivot until I cut a perfect circle. I repeated this process for the second triangle.
Next I cut my roof pieces. The front roof was cut to 70x41" and the second cut to 70x40". Next I drew a grid of 5x5" squares over both pieces. Next I found the edges of my holes and measured 5.5" in from each corner and used the same jigsaw setup to cut my rounded corners. Then I completed the hole by connecting my circles with my circular saw.
Next, using the same grid lines I drew earlier, I clamped strapping to my roof boards with vice grips as a sort of track around each horizontal line. With a surface grinding bit attached to my dremel, I guided my dremmel through the track I made, creating my grooves in the roof pieces. I took special care to make sure my grooves lined up with the tops and bottoms of my cut holes for a clean look. Next I primed the roof and triangle pieces.
Lastly I made my teepee pieces. I used 4 lengths of 1x3" pine cut to 45" each and 2 lengths cut to 25". I sanded these down with 320 grit sandpaper and grinded all the corners down until they were round. I centered my 45" pieces over the edges of my triangle pieces and marked where they overlapped. With my circular saw set to a depth of .375" I cut along my diagonal lines and then made several cuts within my guidelines until I could just chisel the remaining wood out with a screwdriver and hammer. I did this on all 4 pieces. I then wood-glued and clamped my teepee's together. I then stained the 2 teepees and 2 cross pieces with Minwax espresso to match the stilts and then covered them with 2 coats of Minwax Polyurethane, sanding with steel wool in between coats.
Next I nailed the teepee pieces to my triangle pieces from the inside out and at the very edge so the finishing nails would later be covered by 1x1" strapping. Then I centered and rested the triangle pieces on the tops of the stilts at each end and applied 1x1" strapping to the inside of the triangle piece where the top of the bed frame ends. This is to hide any gaps and give it a clean edge. Next I screwed L brackets into the top front and back ends of my bed frame vertically to eventually attach my triangle pieces to the bed.
Next I held my roof pieces in place and marked the top of the bed frame along the length of the pieces. With some leftover 2x6", I cut 8 supports the width of the gap between frame and roof with a 26 angle on one side. I glued the angled edge against the inside of my roof piece flush with the line I drew that marked the top of the bed frame and countersunk the screws from the outside of the roof into my supports. Next I held my roof pieces in place and marked the bottoms of my supports on the bed frame itself. I also marked where the junction between triangle piece and roof meet to apply my 1x1" strapping to my roof pieces. Next I took the roof pieces away and using the marks I made on the bed frame, fastened horizontal L brackets to cradle the roof supports.
I filled all my screw holes in the fronts of my pieces and and painted my roof and triangle pieces in Behr enamel paint and 2 coats of polycrylic. Then I secured my triangle pieces to my bed frame using the vertical L brackets, secured my roof pieces to the bed using the horizontal L brackets and screwing up into the bottom of my supports. I then fastened my triangle pieces to my roof pieces by screwing through my teepees, into the ends of my roof pieces. And lastly, I screwed my teepee cross pieces over the those screws for a clean relatively screw-less look!
To check out more projects we've done and to see more detailed photos head over to our blog at hellobowsers.com!

Sarah Bowser
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Dallas Sills Dallas Sills on Sep 03, 2016
    Love this!!!! Brilliant idea for my grandchildren to visit me

  • Lisadoll Lisadoll on May 24, 2020

    oh my! Impressive!

    my favorite things are the tree in the room, and the blackboard dark night!!! HOW FUN!!

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