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Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

April 4, 2011 |
posted by Ana White
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A storage system that doubles as a desk for your bunk bed.  Features two drawers for pencils and other homework essentials, and a large cubby with optional door, perfect for books.

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

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About Project

Author Notes: 


Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support
Dimensions are shown above.

Materials and Tools

Shopping List: 

1 - 1x12 @ 8 feet long

1 - 1x12 @ 12 feet long
2 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
5 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long
1/2 sheet of 1/4" plywood
2 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x4 @ 4 feet long
2 sets of 12" drawer slides (bottom/side mounts - the white ones)
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
1 1/4 inch pocket hole screws
2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws
wood glue
wood filler
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
measuring tape
safety glasses
hearing protection
circular saw
countersink drill bit

Cut List

Cut List: 

2 - 1x12 @ 46 5/8" (Sides)

4 - 1x2 @ 11 1/2" (Width of 1x12s)
2 - 1x2 @ 43 5/8" (Trim)
4 - 2x2 @ 54" (Legs)
4 - 2x2 @ 39" (Shelf Trim)
3 - 1x12 @ 39" (Top Shelf)
1 - 1x12 @ 3 3/4" (Divider)
1 - 2x2 @ 19 5/8" (Back Support)
1 - 1x12 @ 15 3/4" (Cubby Bottom)
1 - 1x12 @ 17 3/8" (Cubby Side)
1 - 1/4" Plywood @ 42" x 22 5/8" (Plywood Back)
Drawer Pieces - Cut to fit your drawer openings
4 - 1x3 @ 10"
2 - 1x3 @ 21 1/4"
2 - 1x3 @ 14 1/2"
1 - 1x4 @ 22 1/4"
1 - 1x4 @ 15 1/2"
1 - 1/4" Plywood @ 21 1/4" x 11 1/2"
1 - 1/4" Plywood @ 14 1/2" x 11 1/2"
Cutting Instructions: 
You can also use 3/4" plywood, cut into strips 11 1/2" wide as 1x12s. Please note that this plan assumes that your 1x12s are 11 1/2" wide, and you should always measure the width of your boards and adjust accordingly.

General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Step 1

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

Use 1 1/4" nails and glue to attach the trim pieces to the 1x12s. Do this on both 1x12 boards @ 46 5/8" long. Make sure you have drilled your pocket holes (see step 2) on the 1x12s first.

Step 2

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

Drill pocket holes along the sides of the 1x12s set for 3/4" stock. Attach the legs with glue and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. Tops are flush. This is the back view, the front view has the trim boards.

Step 3

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

Now create your top shelf as shown here. Use pocket holes set for 3/4" stock along the sides and glue to attach the 2x2 trim to the top shelf 1x12.

Step 4

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

Now attach the top shelf to the two ends as shown above. The easiest method is to use pocket hole screws from the top, as the top will be hidden.

Step 5

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

Next comes the desk pieces. Attach the top shelf so the top is at 30". Use pocket holes from the underside set for 3/4" stock. Then add the second shelf, leaving 3 3/4" gap between (for 1x4s that measure 3 1/2" wide to be used as the drawer faces) and finally, the divider. You can use your finish nailer and glue for the divider.

Step 6

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

On the back side of the desk system, we need to add some boards to support the storage space and to fill in the back so we can add plywood. Attach the 2x2s - you can use 2" finish nails and glue, 2 1/2" countersunk screws or pocket holes.

Step 7

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

One more support added in the same method as step 6.

Step 8

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

Now you will want to join these boards to the 2x2 back frame with pocket holes on the inside/underside set for 3/4" stock. Use glue and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws.

Step 9

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

Attach the plywood to the back with 1 1/4" finish nails and glue.

Step 10

Cabin Bunk System - Desk Support

Drawers should always be made to fit the opening, so you get a nice tight fit. I did give measurements that work in a perfect world above. Build the drawer box out of 1x3s, to a total overall size 1" narrower than the opening, and leaving room for the drawer face (cut the sides of the drawers at 10" long). Use the drawer slides to attach the drawer in place without the face. Remember that the face is inset, so the drawer box will need to sit in 3/4". Then cut your drawer faces to fit and use 1 1/4" finish nails and glue to attach the drawer faces to the drawer boxes, keeping an even gap around the drawer faces. Attach hardware.

Finishing Instructions

Preparation Instructions: 
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

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tracysmith's picture

Ana, I love you!

LOL.. I hope that's not too creepy, but you are so awesome and I just wanted to make sure you knew it!  My 12 year old son is in love with this bed and we're going to be making it for him (with his help) over summer break.  We are soooo excited!  We are planning on adding a modified Cabin Nightstand with hutch, big enough for his TV and components as well.  This will complete his bedroom set and cost us MUCH less than it would to buy it.  Thank you for being you and helping those of us out there realize a dream we weren't even sure we had!  :-)

The best thing about this... we can get rid of his pressboard, flat pack Wal-Mart crap!!!  That makes me VERY happy!!!  Thanks again!!!!!!


posted by tracysmith | on Tue, 2011-04-05 04:38

Turning desk inward

Would any changes to these plans be needed to turn the desk inward if using as a loft without the lower bed?

posted by Gem (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-04-07 08:36


Oh Anna you are life saver!!!  I have been looking at  this bed collection from pottery barn for the last year and wanting to build it.  I am a beginner and did not know how to come up with plans for it so I kept procrastinating.  I was going to have someone help me modify some of your other plans to make it, but then I just found that you posted these!  Things are looking up!

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-04-18 20:19

Kreg Jig?

I really want my husband and I to build this bed for our son. But I have a question about the Kreg Jig. Which exact one should I purchase? Can you send me a link or describe it, please? I see they sell a few different kinds.

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-02-09 11:07

Cabin Bunk system Ladder

Hi Anna, this is an amazing system that I think we will be using for my two boys in our new home. The only question I have is what are the dimensions and material list for the ladder?
Thanks Chad

posted by Chad (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-04-09 11:04

Cabin Bunk Collection


Maybe I'm crazy but I can only find the plans for the desk support and bottom bed... do you have the rest of the plans somewhere else?! I want to make these for my boys! They will LOVE IT!!

posted by Ashley Homan (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-12-03 21:23

Cabin bunk collection

I to am having troubles finding the other side of the bed is it hidden someone I found the deck side but not the other

posted by Mike duffey | on Sat, 2013-10-05 20:14

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