Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's a trade! Guest contributer: The Frugal Designer

Remember a few days ago, when Rayan kidnapped me to share my garden with her readers?

Well, I thought it might be nice to return the favor and share some of her amazing talents with you, right here on Dorese's Pieces!

And since there's no time like the present, here we go!


Hi everyone!  Rayan - The Frugal Designer here!  Excited to be sharing this project with you all today!

It's dear to my heart since I have a toddler and because I named it after my aunt who just recently passed away.  I hope you enjoy!  Feel free to stop over at my site and check out the other projects I have done... hope to see you soon!

There is no reason your little one's have to go without style for their furniture.  Big kid style in a little kid's room is the highest compliment you can pay to your cherished ones.  Don't be fooled by the name of this bed, this is for boys as much as it is girls.

This bed is what I would like to term a lifetime bed, and while it isn't a crib also, as most lifetime beds are, this should transition easily into a full sized bed with three of the sides: back, left, and right acting as a winged headboard for a full sized mattress.  Just a few modifications will allow for this transition when your child is ready for an even bigger big boy or girl bed.

I will be providing plans for several pieces to coordinate with this, including shelving, storage, a desk or play surface and will be providing plans for adult bed sizes with options for storage underneath, a trundle, or open for decorative purposes and instructions for upholstering this winged headboard if you prefer that!  Stay tuned, this should be an exciting collection!

If you happen to be partial to greens, in minty greens and yellows : 
(this one is my personal fav, and likely the one my boy will be getting
in the very near future!)

Final with mattress pillows-green

In blue for your prince: (hmm, I love this one as well, now I can't decide)

Final angle with mattress pillows
In pink for your princess: (maybe one day I shall have a reason for this one!)

Final angle with mattress pillows pink
Can't go wrong regardless of the color you choose!  White or Black would also be stunning!

Build it plans

This particular plan is meant to be painted, and uses MDF to allow for smooth paint application, however if you prefer a natural look for this bed, you can use premium plywood for the main components or connect dimensional lumber using a Kreg Jig to join each board, and then carve with a jig saw to create the curved sides.  Either option would be stunning.


1 1/4" Screws

1 1/4" Finish Nails

Wood Glue

Wood Filler


Finishing Supplies



3 - Sheets of 11/16" MDF or 2 sheets and 1 sheet of 3/4" Ply if cheaper.  A sheet is typically 4'x8'.

1 - 1x3 @ 10'

8 - 1x2 @ 10'



Sander  - or a Sanding Block, this will help smooth
your edges so the pieces fit flush with each other.

Saw - to cut your pieces to size

Jig Saw - to create the curved sides.


Pneumatic Nailer for Finish Nails (Finish Nail Gun) or Finish Nail Set and Hammer. 

Cut list

Note: I believe the exact dimensions of MDF are slightly different than lumber and plywood, for example what would normally be 3/4" will likely be 11/16" in MDF.  I use the correct measurements below but want you to know what it should be the equivalent of.  So, your 11/16" MDF would be similar to 3/4" Ply or a 1x board of dimensional lumber (if you are going to do that instead).

1 - 11/16" Sheet of MDF @ 52 x 33 3/4" (Back)

2 - 11/16" Sheet of MDF @ 29 x 33 3/4" (Sides)

1 - 11/16" Sheet of MDF @ 53 1/2 x 11 1/4" (Front)

1 - 3/4" Ply or 11/16" MDF (whichever is cheaper for you) @ 52 x 28" (Bed Slats) - can be substituted for several 1x3 slats at 28" each and spaced about 4" apart.

1 - 1x3 @ 52" (Bottom Trim - Back)

1 - 1x3 @ 55" (Top Trim - Back)

2 - 1x2 @ 55" (Top Trim - Front and Front Bottom Base)

6 - 1x2 @ 52" (Cleats, various Trim on Front and Back)

2 - 1x2 @ 49" (Trim)

4 - 1x2 @ 33 3/4" (Trim for Sides and Back)

2 - 1x2 @ 29 3/4" (Bottom Base for Sides)

2 - 1x2 @ 26 3/4" (Side Trim)

2 - 1x2 @ 21 3/4" (Trim on Inside Back)

4 - 1x2 @ 11 1/4" (Trim for Front and Sides)

2 - 1x2 @ 4 1/2" (Cleats Supports on Sides)

2 - 1x2 @ 3 3/4" (Cleat Supports on Back)


** Adhere to all safety standards and check for square often.  You will
have a more difficult time with this project if you are not squared up.  Make sure your MDF is cut straight and square or you will have difficulty joining sides and having them meet properly.

** You have the option to cut 2 - 1.5" wide strip in the same arc as your sides to add trim to the top of the sides. 

1  Attach the Back to a 1x3 by centering it on the 1x3.  This should leave 3/4" on either side which will accommodate your trim later.  Use 2" Screws and Glue to attach.

Step 1

2  Attach your Cleat Supports, Cleat, and Trim on the interior side of the Back Piece.  Use 1 1/4" Screws and glue to attach the Cleat and Supports.  Use 1 1/4" Finish Nails to attach the trim.

Step 3

3  Cut your sides to size and carve out a half circle arc, using a Jig Saw.  You will want begin your arc 1 1/2" in along the top and 3/4" in from the side edge to allow for trim placement later.  I have given the dimensions your arc should be applied and you can simply hand draw a relatively similar shape as shown in the image below and cut.  This doesn't have to replicate my arc exactly, it simply needs to begin no higher than 11 1/4" in height along the side and to allow for trim placement.  Otherwise this exact shape is at your discretion.  Make it steep and highly curved or loose and low like mine. I suggest drawing on one side and cutting, then using that side as a template for the next side to ensure accuracy.

** Optional- you can cut 2 - 1.5" wide strips of MDF in the same arc as your sides to trim out the upper part of your sides.

Step 4
4  Attach the Sides to the Back Piece:  Use 2" Screws and Glue, the sides should be flush with the outside (back) of the back piece as well as the top of the back piece, but will be 3/4" shorter than the back and it's bottom trim are.  This will allow for the bottom trim on the sides to be attached in the next step.

Step 4b
5  Attach the bottom trim for the Sides, use a 1x2 leaving the overhang on the outside of the Side.  This will accommodate the trim later. this will extend 3/4" beyond the back edge of the side and be flush with the front edge of the side.

Step 5
6  Attach the trim to the outside of the Sides and the Inner Cleat Support:  Use 1 1/4" Finish nails on the outside Trim and 1 1/4" Screws on the Cleat Support.  The cleat Support will be flush with the ground and bottom of the Base trim.  It will not rest on the base trim itself.  The 11 1/4" Trim piece will sit 3/4" beyond the edge of the Side itself to create a pocket for the front to sit in and to cover the edge of the front piece.

Step 7

7 Attach the Front to the Sides:  Use 1 1/4" Screws to attach to the sides and 1 1/4" Finish Nails to fasten to the Side Trim.  Attach the base trim to the Front piece with 1 1/4" Screws and allow the 3/4" overhang of the trim to lie on the front side.  This will accommodate the trim later.

Step 8

8 Attach the Inner Cleat to the inside of the Front Piece: Use 1 1/4" Screws and Glue.  It should rest right on top of the Cleat Supports that you fastened to the sides.  The cleat supports are not so much for support as to give you a guide for placement and a tad extra support for those rambunctious babies some of us have (!)!

Step 9

9 Attach the front Trim and then cover the top of the front with another piece of 1x2 trim (not shown here) for a more finished look.  This top trim will be 55" in length and will sit perfectly over the front piece and it's trim.  Use 1 1/4" Finish Nails.

Step 10
10 Attach the trim to the outside of the back as shown and fasten a 1x3 along the top to finish off (not shown here).  Use 1 1/4" Finish Nails and glue. 

Step 2

11  Add 3/4" Plywood on top of the cleats.  You are welcome to do a series of 1x3 slats at 28" if you like, but honestly for me, stuff falling down under my boy's bed is a major pain, and I prefer to have it closed off.  You can screw this down or leave it be.  It doesn't make it more secure and might actually be nice to be able to remove and clean underneath if necessary.

12 To finish this project well, run your finger along any exposed cut edges of the MDF (this will likely only be your arcs) with a thin layer of Spackle.  Once it dries fully, you can sand it flush and finish as desired.  Prime first, then paint and make sure to seal with a polyurethane.  If you intend to paint a light color, an aerosol lacquer will be more ideal as it is just as durable but does not yellow in time as Poly does.

For finishing tips and tutorials see my Finishing School:

Finishing school

**Disclaimer: Some rights reserved. Private use only. Plans from this
page are not to be used for commercial purposes or republished without
the express written consent of Rayan Turner, The Frugal Designer.

I hope to provide accurate plans, however, I cannot guarantee each plan
for accuracy. Not every plan that I post has been built and tested, so
you are building at your own risk. It is recommended that you have a
clear understanding of how the project will fit together and how it works
before beginning any project. Please contact me if you find an error or
inaccuracy so that I might fix it.

Pillows are all from

I hope you enjoyed this post!  I sure enjoyed being here with you all!  Xx Rayan

1 comment:

Angie said...

Rayan, I had no idea you named it after your Aunt. What a nice tribute. ;)