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Bunk or Loft Beds

For students in a dorm looking for more space, a bunkbed that is strong, inexpensive and easy to build, may be the answer. If you are looking to loft your bed and put your desk or a chair or other furniture under it, these plans will work for that too. And if you are just looking for an inexpensive, yet sturdy bunk as a temporary unit.. take a look.

I built this with my daughter in a couple hours, took it apart and loaded it in her car and she put it back together at school with no trouble at all. EXCEPT her bed was 3 inches wider. So we needed to make the cross pieces (C) 36 inches long and replace the original ones. Oh, well, measure twice, cut once! These plans were ones supplied by her boyfriend's university as the official bunks allowed in the dorms.

Bunkbed Construction Plans

This bunk bed is specifically designed to accommodate any of the various sizes of bed frames found at your college or university. Students should use one of the bed frames provided by the University, and measure it for the best fit.

Before cutting and building it though, measure the length and width of your bed frame or mattress to make sure it fits. This frame as described in our plans will hold the bed frame with the legs removed as long as it is 80" or less long and 34" or less wide. If yours is longer or wider, you will need to make adjustments.

Please note that the top of the lower bed box should be a minimum of 12 inches from the floor. The top bed box may be at any height, but it is suggested that it be at least two inches below the top of the posts in order to capture the metal frame and mattress.

In addition, this design can easily be turned into a loft by removing items A2 and B2 (we suggest that if this change is made additonal cross supports be added to the construction).

Since my daughter wanted to put her desk under the bed, she measured that and we raised the leg height to 5' tall, rather than the 4' given in these plans.

If you don't have a bed frame to rest on the supports at either end, then the whole frame can be covered with the 3/4" plywood and the mattress laid right on top of that.

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Directions for building:

  1. First, measure the bed frame or mattress that this frame will support.
    The width should be the lenght of parts (C). You can add 1/4 inch for good measure. I will use the 34" specified in the bill of materials, but you use your dimension.
    The lenght of the bed MINUS 3 inches will be parts (A). The 3 inches accounts for the width of the parts (C). Again, you can add 1/4 inch for slop. And again, I will use the 80" that I have specified, you use your dimension.
    Finally, how high do you want this? 4 feet works out well, because you can cut an eight footer in half for the legs, and not have much waste. Likewise, with 5 feet, you can use 10 footers. I will use the 4 feet specified, but use what works for you. These will be parts (D)

  2. Ok, cut all the 2x6 lumber to length.You will have:
    8 parts (D) for the legs
    4 parts (A) for the stretchers
    and 4 parts (C) for the Headboard and Footboard cross pieces

  3. Now cut the 3/4 inch plywood (Part (B)). It will be 9 inches wide, by the length that you use for parts (C).
    If you don't have a frame, and intend to use it over the whole bed and lay the mattress on top, it is part (C) wide by part (A)+ 3 inches long.
    You can undercut the plywood by 1/8 of an inch to allow it to fit in without a struggle.

  4. Ok, all the parts are cut now.. It is time to assemble:

  1. Start with the legs. Screw 2 pieces (D) together for each of the legs using about 10 3" wood screws in each.

  2. It helps if you have a few C clamps to hold things square while you drill and bolt the parts together. Measure up from the bottom of the leg 1 foot and draw a line at that point on the inside of the legs. Measure down from the top of the legs 2 3/4" and mark a line again on the insides of the legs. The pencil lines mark the location of the top of the cross pieces.

    NOTE: orient the legs and cross pieces correctly. The cross pieces go against the side of the leg where they will be bolted to the same part that has the screws in it's face. See figure A.

    NOTE: Drill the bolt holes to allow for placement of the stretchers (A). The holes should be about 3 1/2 inches in from the outside edge of the leg. See figure B

  3. Using a square to check that the cross peices (C) are at 90 degrees to the legs, drill two offset holes 3/8 in diameter through both the cross piece (C) and the legs. Insert a bolt, washers and nut and tighten to finger tight and then do then next hole. Attach all four cross pieces (C) to the legs at the points marked.

  4. Next attach the stretchers (A) to the top of the headboard and footboard. Have the C clamps to hold things in place while you drill and bolt the parts together helps. Again, square things up before you drill and bolt the parts together.

  5. When all the stretchers that you are going to use are attached, you can use a wrench to tighten all the nuts tight. Draw the heads of the carriage bolts into the wood.

  6. Finally attach the plywood on the two ends of each bed support. Screw it down with the 1 1/2" wood screws (E).


Item       Qty.       Item Desc.
   E       48       1 1/2" Wood Screws
   A       4       2x6x80" (or to fit)*
   F       32       3/8"x4" Carriage Bolts/Nuts
             32      Regular Washers
             32      Lock Washers
   G       40      3" Wood Screws
   D       8      2x6x48"*
   B       4      3/4" Plywood (9"x37")
   C       4      2x6x34" *(Or to fit)

* 10   8' 2x6s will cover these items.

Remember if you are modifying the plans to eliminate the bottom bunk, you can get 1 less 2x6 and 4 fewer bolts.

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