Easiest DIY Toddler Bunk Bed (no sawing or additional tools required!)

Allow me to preface this with the statement that I am not an architect, nor am I a DIY expert, just a mom on a mission, so please feel free to ask for clarification on construction for this bed! 🙂

Ever since the twins were born, we’ve been a cosleeping family, and loved it. Many things contributed to that decision, not in the least of all which was space. (When you have one bedroom you do what you gotta do!) When our queen bed got too small we purchased a twin bed off of Amazon and sidled it up next to the queen mattress to make one bigger bed. When we found out we were pregnant with Charlie, I started making plans to transition them into their own beds as part of our home renovation. Well, the renovation took longer than expected (don’t they all) and suddenly Charlie was here and the only progress I had made was to remove the extra twin mattress and in its place put some toddler mattresses on our bedroom floor, so essentially we were all in the same bed still, it was just a LOT smaller!

No one was sleeping, Charlie sleeps in a snuggle me organic pillow so you can imagine how tight it was with two toddlers, two adults AND the baby in the snuggle me! I mean, sardine city guys. (By the way, I WISH I had snuggle me’s for the twins. best. investment. of. my. life! Seriously though. It’s AMAZING. He loves it!).
But anyway, it was too tight. And in my “mama of a newborn” haze of exhaustion, I had a small/large-ish breakdown. Something HAD to be done! We have a pretty small space and so I set out to research bunk beds. Regular bunk beds seemed way overkill, but all purchased toddler size bunk beds were way above our price point. (Seriously why are SMALLER bunk beds more expensive?! It’s like underwear and baby clothes! Ha!)
Anyway, I researched DIY toddler bunk beds and found some fabulous ideas but they all required saws. I have no issue with using a saw, but I needed a fast (and cheap!) fix and frankly using a saw while holding a newborn and juggling the twins by myself in my still fresh post-birth stupor seemed, well, stupid. One thing I had learned from my Pinterest DIY toddler bunk bed research was the idea of repurposing a crib. Again, they all required saws but this mama was desperate and I knew there had to be a way. So, I found a used crib on Facebook marketplace and bought it. We brought it home, and after some days (and nights!) of tears and frustration and being convinced I had wasted money on a used crib (post birth hormones are no joke and did I mention we were all tired?!) this was the final product. I will save you the explanations of my failures ha!
I will say that the structure of the crib I found is important. You need the four top rails to sit flat on the floor in order to avoid The Saw (see the first image below). But, to turn an old crib into a pretty spiffy toddler bunk bed (and let me just say, we’ve been having EXPONENTIAL progress towards them staying all sweet night long in their beds and I attribute this to how much they love their beds!) this is all you need:
-One old crib, we have this Union convertible crib (found used on Facebook marketplace) The brand doesn’t matter, what matters is the flat top:
otherwise you have to saw! (You’re going to turn this puppy upside down!)
-Two toddler mattresses, we got these
-Two toddler bedding sets, we have this one for Harry and this one for Arabella (while I would have loved matching sets I truly believe part of our personal success has been they chose what they loved for bedding and really been able to make each bed their own space).
-Zip ties
Optional: 😉
Led fairy lights and two star projectors (these are the exact ones we have, this one is Harry’s and is battery operated, and this one is Arabella’s and plugs in. They’re both fabulous.
I also have a set of star lights from Ikea! (I do turn most of these off after they fall asleep).
Put the crib 2/3 of the way together, and by that I mean attach the headboard and footboard to one side piece as if you were building the crib normally. Flip the crib completely upside down.
Now install the mattress base in the second to lowest setting (but it will now be the highest setting).
Make sure to install it right side up so it won’t slip down.
Turn the second siderail of the crib onto it’s side and turn it into a guard rail by attaching it to the bed with zip ties.
Boom. You have a darling little toddler bunk bed. You will need to place the other side against a wall for safety if your kids are like mine and basically sleeping acrobats. I will say there is enough of a side that Arabella has never fallen off though.
We actually have the twins bunk bed up against ours so they can crawl into our bed if nightmares happen, or they would fall into our bed if they did flip around on the top, either way, they’re safe.
I decorated it with fairy lights and they each have their own star projector for bedtime (Harry sleeps on the bottom and calls it his “tunnel”, and I’ll admit it’s the coziest little spot ever! But don’t worry, Arabella loves the top haha).
We turn on the stars and put lavender in the diffuser and sing and bedtime is getting to be much less painful for us all.
I hope if you’re searching for a toddler bed solution that this is helpful! The bottom space could always be a reading or play area too if you’re not needing a double bunk. 🙂

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Robin Lloyd

Robin Lloyd is a Jesus lover, future Dr's wife, boy girl twin mama plus a new little babe, animal lover, pianist, teacher, coffee addict, and blogger who delights in pouring her creative energy into photos and posts. She spends her time loving on her kids, dreaming of new creative content, and supporting her busy hubby! Robin graduated with a BM in piano performance from Lamont at University of Denver (where she met her husband!), and now resides in Colorado.