My son was about to turn 3 and I really wanted to redesign his bedroom as a birthday surprise. We went with a Toy Story themed room, he just loves Toy Story.
I started off by painting the walls blue with yellow stars like Andy's room in the movie. I added some custom painted art work and then it was off to find a cool playhouse bed. My husband and I were shopping around and we could never really find what we were looking for in the store. So we decided to build one ourselves using plans from this website.
I used the playhouse loft bed and the playhouse loft bed stair plans, for the bed and the stairs. I used the castle loft bed plan as inspiration for the slide. The project took us about 5 weeks from start to finish. We both have full time jobs and we did most of the work on the weekends. I looked at each plan very carefully and made notes. I had to modify the stair plans slightly to fit the space where we wanted to put the bed. The stairs look narrow, but they work just fine. My husband and I can both use them to get up in the bed. The stairs feature hinged stair tread with built in storage. We built them like that at first, but then later decided to make them stationary stair treads, with plywood. I didn't like the way the hinges looked and the top stair was so deep that I was worried my son would fall in there and get stuck. The storage idea was neat, but his safety was more important to me. The bed turned out really nice and VERY sturdy. Both my husband and I are able to get up there with my son (not at the same time).
Another modification that I made was instead of slats to hold on the mattress, I used a piece of plywood. I wanted the roof in the playhouse to look finished, and I didn't want to see his bedding hanging down from the slats. I painted the top of the plywood white, where the mattress goes to blend in with the slats, and the other side was painted blue to match the walls inside the playhouse.
I did modify the playhouse front facade to have 2 windows and one door. I like the symmetrical look. The total project cost about $400. I used birch plywood and select pine boards, and about 6 quarts of paint. I noticed AFTER we had finished the bed using the birch plywood, that Home Depot had cabinet grade plywood on a random end cap, that was just as nice for $12 less a sheet. If I could do it all over again, I would definitely use that!. I wanted the paint to have a nice smooth finish, without having to do a lot of sanding or patching.
We had Home Depot cut the plywood to the dimensions we needed. I had my husband cut the rest of the wood dimensions listed in the plans, and then I painted all of them before we put the pieces together. I used a small roller and self priming paint. The paint finish looks great. After assembling the bed I can not imagine what I would have gone through trying to paint it after the fact.
The slide was a bit tricky, I looked at the plan for the castle loft bed and attempted to use those dimensions, and for the most part they worked. But when we went to assemble the slide, we did end up recutting some of the wood to different dimensions. I used a piece of the melamine coated closet shelf material for the slide.
It is already finished in white and its nice and slick, like a slide should be! I hate MDF, but for this it seemed the best fit. We cut the top edge at an angle to meet up with the slide platform. PLEASE BE CAREFUL with this material. After it was angle cut the edge was razor sharp and I sliced my fingers up. Once it was installed it butted up perfectly to the slide platform, and the edge was hidden and not a danger. But use caution during the install.
Clamps are your friend! We used Kreg clamps for everything. They kept the wood in place while we were screwing the parts together. The coolest thing that my husband came up with was clamping two identical pieces for plywood together, and drawing the template for the slide support walls. Then he used his circular saw to cut them out. We ended up with two mirror image pieces. They looked awesome. I left them clamped together when I sanded the edges as well.
We really didn't have any building experience other, than building tables and chairs for children, We got the deluxe Kreg jig kit and a miter saw on Craigslist for $50 each and they were both practically brand new. This was the first time we had ever used a Kreg jig and we are both addicted. That thing is the bomb.
We locked my son out of his room for a week while we assembled everything. We had the big reveal at his birthday party and all of the guests were excited to see it after seeing my facebook teaser posts of our progress. There were 8 kids up there at one time and the bed did not budge. They all enjoyed the slide. I did the planning and paint and my husband did an awesome job making all of the cuts and sanding everything. We are both very proud of the final product. My son love his new big boy bed.
DISCLAIMER: This bed is not recommended for a child under 6 years old. My son is mature for his age and we monitor him carefully.