Classic Bunk Beds

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 09/03/2010 - 08:37
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These bunk beds are unique because they are easy to build and can be assembled and disassembled easily. Ladder is integrated into the design.

Dimensions are shown above. Fits standard 39″ x 75″ twin mattress, shown with 6″ mattresses.


Shopping List

7 – 10′ 1×4 Boards
4 – 8′ 2×2 Boards
9 – 8′ 1×3 Boards (not including wood slats)
2″ Wood Screws
1 1/4″ Wood Screws
1 1/4″ Finish Nails
Wood Glue
Wood Filler
Finishing Supplies
16 – 3″ Bolts with washers and nuts

Cut List

12 – 1×4 @ 37 1/2″ (End Rails)
8 – 1×3 @ 63″ (Solid Leg Pieces)
8 – 1×4 @ 80 1/2″ (Back and Front Rails)
12 – 1×3 @ 3″ (Trim Pieces between Rails)
2 – 1×3 @ 22″ (Trim Pieces between Rails)
4 – 1×3 @ 8″ (Bottom Trim Pieces)
4 – 2×2 @ 75″ (Use Metal braces for a stronger bed)
1 – 1×3 @ 55″ (Ladder Side)
2 – 1×3 @ 19″ (Ladder Rungs)
1 – 1×3 @ 13″ (Ladder Front Trim Piece)
6 – 1×3 @ 10″ (Ladder Trim)
1 – 1×3 @ 35″ (Front Leg Trim Piece)
1x3s @ 39″ (Bed Slats, as shown with 34 total slats)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander


Step 1

Build the Ends Build two of the ends as shown above. Best joining method is to use pocket hole screws from the insides of the rails into the legs. Other option is to use 2″ screws from the outside of the legs, with a countersink bit. Screws are recommended, because bunk bed are going to take lots of movement, and nails joints will eventually separate out.

Step 2

Build the Back Simply take two of the 1×3 legs @ 63″, and mark as shown in the diagram above. Glue and screw with 1 1/4″ screws the side rails to the legs. On this step it is very VERY important that you check and adjust for square. If the diagonals do not match up, push the outside corners of the longer diagonals together.

Step 3

Trim the Back After you have built the back, cut 1×3 pieces to fit the legs between the slats. You can nail these pieces on with a finish nailer and glue, using 1 1/4″ nails. TIP: Don’t cut these pieces prior to building – measure and cut to the opening, to get the exact fit.

Step 4

Bed Slat Supports If your child is heavy or you expect the bed to take a large amout of abuse, I recommend purchasing metal braces, and screwing to the inside of the bed. Otherwise, use 2x2s, 2″ screws and WOOD GLUE to attach the bed slat supports to the back slats, keeping bottom edges flush.

Step 5

Step 6

Rails and Ladder Rungs Mark the sides and the ladder piece as shown above. Glue and screw with 1 1/4″ the top bunk rails and the ladder rungs to the legs and the ladder side.

Step 7

Trim the Front As you did the back, trim the front, filling in all the spaces with 1×3 boards. Use 1 1/4″ nails or optionally screws and glue.

Step 8

Assembly Assemble the bed by bolting the four pieces together, using 3″ bolts and washer and nuts, four bolts per leg. If you plan on seldom assembly/disassembly of the bed, you could also use 2″ wood screws from the inside of the end legs into the back/front legs.

Step 9

Mattress Slats Your mattress should have recommendations for bed slats. Use 1x3s, cut at 39″, layed on top of the wood slat supports, according to the recommendations of the mattress. Screw down with 1 1/4″ screws.


Tyler (not verified)

Wed, 03/02/2011 - 08:18

Did you build these bunkbeds? I came up with the same numbers for wood needed. What type of wood are you using and where did you purchase?

Marcelle (not verified)

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 15:00

Started these today--bought the lumber yesterday.  Getting ready to head back to the big orange store for more lumber to strap to my Ford sedan--my tall, tall husband is gonna love climbing through his window "Dukes of Hazzard" style AGAIN to help me get more wood.  I read the list and the comments and have cut carefully, but there's just no way you can get 8 - 80" pieces from 7 10ft boards!  It didn't click sooner--this is my second big project on my own and I'm loving it!  The site is awesome.  Thanks for all the info!

Brian (not verified)

Mon, 06/20/2011 - 13:22

Ok, We are getting ready to build these for my son and I have a couple of questions. 1st, What type of wood are you using? and 2nd, what settings are you using on the kreg jig?

Guest (not verified)

Sun, 07/24/2011 - 20:41

I have triple checked and many of the measurements don't add up. An example is in step 6, do the math? Also if according to the sketch it show an inside measurement of 39 yet the cut list calls for the end slats to be cut at 37.5". Add it up 1" + 1' =+ 37.5 is 39.5", not 39? WTF?

gdayskippy (not verified)

Mon, 07/25/2011 - 14:48


If you look those measurements are based on wood not being true 1 x 3 and 1 x 4. Perfect example of this is:

So 37.5 + .75 + .75 = 39.

I have built a mod of these bunks with steps instead of a ladder and have not ran into issues other than figuring out the wood and cut list since adding steps. Pics to be posted soon.

Guest (not verified)

Mon, 07/25/2011 - 16:44

Like a fool I jumped to conclusions and looked on the net shortly after posting and found out what you are saying. Thanks for your swift response.

Beke (not verified)

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 06:50

Ana -- could you put the updated cut list in a comment, I understand that people have needed more than you originally put in the initial directions but am unable to decipher exactly what the differences are. This is to be my first project so please take pity on a newbie! Thanks so much, you are such an amazing woman!!!

Adam (not verified)

Fri, 11/11/2011 - 12:16

Hi Ana! Your website is great. Would I be able to download your sketchup model of the classic bunk beds? I, too, am a sketchup fanatic and am looking to build some beds. Thank you!

Ulmcrew (not verified)

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 13:23

LOVE THIS BUNK!!! We made two of your twin size storage beds and now we're planning to make these bunks! Love your site and I love how simple you make these projects look! Such detailed plans and so stylish! Thanks!!!