There are roughly 5 million Google results for how to help your toddler move from a crib to a toddler bed. You know what? Skip that, because I’m here to bring you not only manageable diy woodworking awesomeness, but ways to improve your parenting life as well.
Okay, one way. Maybe. Actually, I made it all up.
Both of my willful, active, stubborn, slightly feral children transitioned to toddler beds like a dream. Overnight. Really. Whiiiiich makes me the foremost authority on the topic. (And simultaneously discounts my opinion on pretty well any and all other topics related to child rearing.) They not only transitioned, they did it themselves. My son literally grabbed his blanket and his seahorse and turned his back on the crib without so much as a glance. My daughter did the same.
How? I made (sort of) their beds. Well, at least, I made them special. Guys, this is so doable. And creative. And fun. I’m going to show you two ways that I made toddler beds with the hope that it will inspire you and be a great place for the special little person in your life.
The first is a toddler bed made from old twin head and foot boards. The second is an aging toddler bed that needed a little jazzing up. Both cost me only the cost of paint. And, guys, these were fun weekend projects. Really, they were fun to do.
Toddler Bed 1: The Princess
I know, calling little girls Princess is so passe. My girl is more along the lines of Princess Warrior than anything, but she calls it her Princess bed, so who am I to argue?
This was what the bed looked like before
The best part of this was the superman duct tape over a large break in one of the legs. But you can’t see that right now because I’m saving it for a post about how to repair furniture later, which I just know you are dying to read.
Here’s an up close of how amazing this piece looked. The wood was pretty damaged, so sanding was in order first. I always prefer to sand flat spaces, and save the wood stripping for spindles and other hard to sand areas. I know there are paints that you can put right over other finishes, but my preference is always to remove existing finish. Call it an OCD thing.
See? How much better does that look already? And I’ll bet you cannot even see the break.
Truth: This didn’t start out as a toddler bed. It was actually a stress-reliever project that was going to be a bench (that I had no need for). Midway through the project the inspiration came to make it a day bed style toddler bed. So I ran with that.
I cut the foot board exactly in two, and matched it up to the headboard. As you can see in the photo, it needed some adjusting.
Here’s another shot.
To make this work I sketched a new line…
…and routered it out and sanded it smooth. Wallah…wall-a…wal-la. Here:
Lesson: It’s wood. You can change it. If it doesn’t work, just get creative.
I painted this bed with Sherwin-William’s Coral Reef (SW6606). This was partially because it was a nice variation on pink and partially because I had been looking for an excuse to use that color.
Here she is in all her glory!
Now, I’m not going to finish this with a nicely staged photo. Because I’m saving that for later when I show you how the whole room came together. But here’s a cell phone shot of the moment little miss thing got to have her new bed brought in.
Guys, she was so happy. She loves her bed. And that makes this momma happy, too.
Toddler Bed #2: The Pottery Barn Knock Off…or Joanna Gaines. One of the Two
It turns out that one person was less than overjoyed about the new brilliantly coral bed. My son and my daughter are very close in age and they share a room. We love having them both close to us, and they get along great. Except when they don’t, of course.
Being the perceptive person that I am I totally didn’t notice that my son was feeling left out. He had always loved his bed, so it didn’t occur to me that he would feel left out. But then he told my husband that he wanted a new bed, too. So we discussed and settled on painting it blue.
But then I had it out in the workshop (garage) and a little voice whispered “why just paint when you can totally re-imagine this thing?!” That voice is sometimes brilliant, so I went with it.
Here it is at the beginning.
Not terrible, right? But it could be better. My son agreed that he didn’t need the side panels, so off those came (and no, he hasn’t rolled out of bed since.) With those off the solution was clear. Cover the slats.
I dug through my piles of wood and came up with 1/4 plywood, which I cut into the small groove around the slats, front and back. They are held on by glue.
That was a great start, but now the magic happens. I pulled out all of the luan plywood scraps and cut them into strips.
Then I glued and finish nailed those to the backer previously installed. Shiplap!
Fill in the holes:
And paint! I used Velvet Finishes in Handsome for this. Which fit my son’s request for blue and my desire to try Velvet Finishes for the first time (I love paint, it’s kind of a thing.) It is awesome paint, by the way.
And here it is, done and ready to go back into the room!
That’s all I’m going to show of this one for now, as well, until I can get their room finished up enough to photograph. In the meantime, you can see a preview of it in the fun book ledges I built for the room.
The navy and coral beds go together really well, considering how vastly different the bed styles are. Both kids are happy, I had fun doing it, and the only money we spent was for the paint. That’s a total win-win-win situation.
My kid’s beds are side by side, with about three feet separating them. They are both so happy with their beds that somehow, by some miracle, they have no problem settling in and sleeping through the night. Knock on wood. Seriously, I hope I don’t regret typing that.
If you make your kids totally awesome beds they will sleep pleasantly all night long. Alright, maybe that won’t work. But you will get to witness their little faces lighting up with joy as they see their “new” bed and crawl in to give it a feel. And that’s worth at least the cost of a can of paint.