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How to Build a Car Bed

by Guest Post on Nov 29, 2010

You have probably seen the plastic car shaped beds that are so popular for toddlers and young boys. While they are full of character and appeal, they also come with a steep price tag. If your budget does not allow for an expensive bed that will only last a couple of years before your son outgrows it, there is another option. You can build a car bed using a twin bed to ensure that your son will be able to enjoy it for years to come.

The Bed Frame

One of the most important aspects of the bed is the bed frame. You can choose to either build the entire car bed out of MDF or plywood, or you can use an existing bed frame. For these instructions, we will be using a plain, metal bed frame. Make sure it is in excellent, sturdy condition and that all the necessary nuts and bolts are firmly attached. With the weight of the car form against it, it is important to make sure that the frame is very secure.

The Design

After you have the bed frame in place, start working on the design of the car itself. For this car bed, each side of the bed will be framed by the car shape cutouts. Make the first sketches on plain pieces of paper, laying out the design and detail in pencil first. Consider the height of the car cut out. If you want your child to climb in and out of the bed from the side, the height will need to be such that he can easily maneuver over it. Cutouts shaped like Formula 1 racing cars are an excellent example of this style. If your child will only be entering and exiting the bed from the end, a higher profile car is entirely appropriate. Once you have the design set, measure the length of the bed frame. You can make the car cut out true to the size of the frame, or you can make it slightly longer depending on your preference. Draw the design onto appropriate size lengths of medium density foam board, fiberboard or plywood. It may take several tries to draw the car to scale and make it look the way you envisioned, so be patient during this part of the process. Once the car has been drawn on the chosen material, cut it out with a sharp knife, handsaw or jigsaw. Use acrylic paints to paint the car the desired colors.

Attaching the Car

The car pieces, depending on what they are drawn on, may be heavy or rather light. For heavier materials like plywood, attach the car pieces to the bed frame using heavy-duty screws and bolts directly into the holes in the frame. Make sure that the pieces are securely fastened. Lighter materials, such as foam board, can be attached with zip ties or other fasteners that are appropriate for that material. Once fastened, the car should be able to stay in place against even the toughest of toddlers.

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