{DIY} Toddler Pallet Bed

So I thought I’d share with you how I made Little Sister’s toddler pallet bed, because I know you’re staking out dumpsters at warehouses and such, trying to get your hands on a couple of pallets so you can make a bed of your own. Right? OK, maybe not that desperate, but still, you’re curious. :)

Plus, this will save you from half a dozen trips to Home Depot throughout the duration of the project for supplies you had no idea you needed. ( no, I’m not speaking from experience. . .OK, OK, maybe I did take 5 trips. )

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To start you’ll need at least 2 pallets, 3 if you’re going to need to do any repairs to your pallet — and spare parts are never a bad thing.
The ones I used were 48 x 40 inches and had the slats pretty close together, which is how I achieved the head & foot board. Also, the 40″ worked perfectly for a toddler bed, which you’ll find out why in a moment.

You will also need:
• 4 – 5 bolts, (long enough to go through 2 widths of bracing when butted up next to each other) washers & nuts
• short wood screws (long enough to go through the slats & into the next board, but not through)
• long wood screws (long enough to go through the bracing and into the next board, but not through)
• one 2x4x10 piece of lumber (longer or more pieces if you need to make any modifications due to different pallet size)
• 5 casters with locks

• palm sander with medium grit sandpaper
• circular saw
• drill w/ bits in sizes for your bolts and potentially the screws, depending on age of pallet, condition of the wood & how prone the wood is to splitting
• socket set
• tape measure
• pencil :)
• T-square

****the following could come in handy, but may not be necessary, depending on placement of slats & nails****
• hand saw
• sawsall with blade for metal

Have everything??? OK! We’re ready to start!!
(please keep in mind that no two pallets are going to be exactly the same. use these instructions as guidelines, and make adjustments where needed.

Also, I will be referring to the top and bottom boards as “slats” & the 3 center boards as “bracing” so we don’t have any confusion)

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With your palm sander, sand down all the surfaces to keep your little one from getting splinters. I didn’t have to sand a whole lot, just got rid of the rough wood, but kept the character. (Once it was built I did go back and sand portions that would be touched often and thus needed a little more caution)

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Toddler mattresses are generally 28″ wide. So, to start with, using a circular saw, I cut both pallets to 29″, cutting ACROSS the bracing, not with it. That gave me two pallets 29″ x 40″.

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You will have to cut one side of the pallet, then turn it over and cut the other side of slats, as well as each brace from the side. The middle one can be tricky which is where a hand saw can be useful. Also, if you find some nails in your way, a sawsall with a blade for metal, may just be your best friend.

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On a flat surface, lay both 20″ x 40″ small pallets up-side-down, butting up the edge bracings, matching edges as best you can.

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With the drill, drill pilot holes for your bolts through the entire depth of both bracings (clamp together, if needed, to ensure alignment). Put in the bolts and tighten the washers & nuts with a socket set.

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A typical toddler mattress is 52″ long. My pallets were 4.5″ tall. So, I then drew a line on the connected pallets at 61″ (52 + 4.5 +4.5).

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Cut with a circular saw. I found it worked a lot better to place a board under the slats I was cutting to help stabilize them and keep them from drooping after being cut and putting tension on the saw blade.

You might notice that cutting at 61″ puts me just about an inch past the middle brace of the pallet. This is perfect for my toddler bed! If however, your cut has to go on the other side of the brace, you will need to reinforce the slats by screwing/nailing a 2×4 (or whatever size is appropriate to your pallet) inside the end of those slats.

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Flip the pallet over and attach your casters at each corner and one in the middle where the 2 pallets come together. If your screws will be close to the edge of a board, or the boards are prone to splitting, drilling pilots will help alleviate splitting. Of course, good help is always welcome. :)

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Flip the thing over and Whoo-Hoo!! You’re almost there!!

Next step, head & foot boards.

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Using the 29″ wide section that you cut off from the connected pallets, flip is up on end, so that the bracing sits on the edge of the bed. Drill pilots holes, then screw into place. Cut a section of 2×4 to stabilize the slats and screw in place a few inches from the top of the slats.

For the foot board, cut two sections from the 2×4, 29″ long. From the remaining parts of the pallet, cut the slats into 12″ sections and then screw/nail them to the 2x4s on ONE side, aligning with the bottom. Then flip this up on end and place on the end of the bed, leaving space for the final row of slats from the very edge of the bed. Drill pilot holes, then screw in place. Screw/nail the other 2×4 to the slats a couple of inches from the top. (If you do this step sooner, you will need a 90 degree drill in order to be able to screw it in place)

Attach the slats to the other side of the 2x4s.

If adding side rails, repeat the steps for the foot board, cutting your 2×4 to the desired length & only attaching slats to one side. Run a 1×4 across the top to stabilize. Then screw into the pallet. You may need an extra pallet for this step, depending on the type/size of pallet you use.

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And there you have it!! One ridiculously cute bed for well under $100!!

If anyone gives this a try, please send pictures!! I’d love to see your interpretations! And let me know if any of the steps don’t make sense. I’ll try to clear it up for you!!

Enjoy & Happy Building!!

xoxo—Lori Danelle

I also have plans of making another one for Big, as she requested. Hoping to get my hands on more pallets this week & built next weekend, so I’ll have pictures for you as soon as I can. We’ll see if my instructions change any if I get pallets that are a little bit different. I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll be the same — I’ve already got this way figured out!!

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the latest installment of Preschoolers 101 over at Southern Institute for Domestic Arts & Crafts!! Today Heather is talking about little one’s emotions! Good stuff!!

**********************************************************************

Any comments that are overly critical and/or mean will be deleted. I’ve read my share of negative comments on various blogs where this bed has been featured and don’t need them here. I would never go to your personal space and make rude or judgmental comments about something of yours. I expect the same courtesy while you are here.

You do not have to agree with me or like the things I do, but if you choose to voice your opinion, please keep it respectful. If the only way you feel comfortable leaving a comment is by leaving it anonymously, then perhaps you should think twice about leaving it in the first place. 

Lori Danelle

 

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59 Responses to {DIY} Toddler Pallet Bed

  1. house 09 at #

    OMG! can't wait to show this tutorial to my hubby ;) it is really amazing that you do it all yourself! again, it turned out fabulous and I can't wait to see a big one!

  2. Jenny at #

    So if I ever need one of these beds I think I'll just have you make one for me, Ms Handy!

  3. Dessie at #

    Did you do anything to treat them for potential chemicals in the pallet and off-gassing?

  4. Lori Danelle at #

    These pallets were heat treated rather than chemical treated so this was not necessary. But good question!

  5. Renee (eatliveshop.com) at #

    AMAZING! This looks so good! I don't have a little one I could make this for but maybe my 60 pound lap dog Nathan would like one ;)

  6. RENATA RZ - Dicas Green at #

    Oh the pallet bed is so beautiful!
    Congratulations on your work, and the pictures are very nice too.

    Follwing you right now.

    Green kisses

  7. esther lee at #

    I want to have a kid JUST so I can make one of these.

    Ok, I'm only 95% serious.

    But for real, I'm excited to see how this can be varied. SO creative!

  8. creativejewishmom/Sara at #

    Really great, and congrats on getting posted on Design Sponge! I'd love it if you'd drop by my crafty blog linking party on Sunday (thru Tues) and link to this so I can share it with my readers! Plus there's a lot going on on my blog I think you'll like! All the best!

  9. Anonymous at #

    Incredibly original and well done. Love it.

  10. Sweeter Hours at #

    Omigoodness. You read my mind! My toddler just climbed out of his crib two weeks ago and we've been debating on whether or not to buy a bed. In the mean time he is on a mattress on the floor. I love pallet recycling.
    Wonderful! Thank you for this great post. We will be sure to send you pics!

  11. Aru (Nanouk atelier) at #

    Congratulations!

    Cool recycled bed!! Really love it.

    I share it in my Inspiration Label ;)

  12. a happy wanderer at #

    oh my goodness…that's the cutest bed i've ever seen! it might be time to go dumpster hunting!

    what a gorgeous blog you have! i found you through the southern institute :)

    and thanks for the shout out!

  13. veggie wedgie at #

    This is the mot beautiful bed I have ever seen. Do you think this can be made into a double bed? I want to make one!

  14. Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings at #

    I loooooooove this idea and have two two year olds in desparate need of a different sleeping situation. Tempting, very tempting.

    Are all pallets heat treated and chemical free or is that something you have to figure out? If so, how do you tell?

  15. Chantale at #

    I just saw this bed over at Baby Space Kids and I think it's incredible! I love that rustic look!! Talk about talented.. thanks for sharing with us! You've got 2 little cuties there..

    (I'm also in love with the 2 dressers as well).

  16. polwig at #

    I love this bed… it is absolutely awesome… I love the rustic look…

  17. Molly at #

    I would love details on the bedding as well… do I see some anna maria horner fabric or is it just my imagination? VERY CUTE!

  18. Lori Danelle at #

    veggie wedgie, I think it's completely possible, you just may want to brace it differently underneath. Not sure I would trust bolts & a 5th wheel to anything beyond a toddler bed.

    Kristin, I did a post on this topic, so check out my newer posts to get all that I know! :)

    Chantale, thanks for the compliment on the dressers. I just happen to love them as well! They were my husband's when he was a boy and they looked sad, sad, sad. So I spruced them up just and tad and now would have a hard time getting rid of them for any amount of money! I believe I did a post on them as well at some point.

  19. Lesley at #

    This is such a great idea. I love the rustic look. My only hesitation in not doing it this weekend is "how do you know if the wood has been treated with some nasty preservative or been in contact with some kind of "spray" in the shipping process. This has been my inpiration for the week!
    mymommymakesit

  20. Jenn @ Delicious Ambiguity at #

    Wow! This is absolutely amazing! You’ve got a great blog and I think you’d be interested in mine. I’d love it if you’d link up to my Tot Tuesdays party- a linky party dedicated to all things toddler: http://www.mydeliciousambiguity.com/ Have a great day!

  21. dockworkerette at #

    This bed looks so cute, but it's also so incredibly dangerous… Wooden pallets, even heat-treated ones, contain massive amounts of formaldehyde. Not to mention that the slightest spark of anything (from an electrical outlet in the room, or a falling spark from anything you can imagine, or a candle) will send this bed up in flames. Wooden pallets are notoriously easy to catch on fire, more so than 'proper' kids' bedroom furniture.

  22. TallerThinner at #

    Pallets only offgas formaldehyde if they're made with engineered wood (like pressed wood or plywood). I see no such product in the pallets she is using.

    Yes, they're pretty flammable. But so is a whole lot of other stuff in the typical house, unless it's treated with fire retardant – which can bring problems of its own.

    There should NOT BE ANY flames near a toddler's bed, and if an electrical outlet sparks, you've got bigger problems than those pallets, believe me. I've burned pallets on trash piles, and I've never been able to light one with a Bic.

  23. Anonymous at #

    You should have painted it or stained it or put a pr0tective coating on it so that your little girl doesn't get wood splinters.Still looks a little stained. :0(

  24. Lori Danelle at #

    Thank you for your concern, but I can assure that it is well sanded and will not be giving her any splinters.

    I understand that this isn't everyone's style, but everyone at my house LOVES these beds. A perfectly matching Pottery Barn style room just isn't us.

  25. Camilla Fabbri at #

    This is wonderful! Great job!

  26. david at #

    Nice idea and great bed.
    But I agree with several of the above comments, be careful and know the source of your pallet. Since pallets are a business expense, companies recycle,repair and reuse them. Rather than digging through dumpters, ask the business owner, or find a local pallet manufacturer and buy a new, unused one.
    A good sanding and several coats of polyurethane is a must.

  27. Lori Danelle at #

    David, I agree. Knowing the source of your pallet definitely helped me be confident that I was not putting my kids at any sort of risk. I was able to get my pallets through the company I work for, so I know exactly was has been on them. Plus the warehouse manager is a very good friend of mine, so he was able to help me select the best ones for my project. In addition, he keeps all the pallets in the warehouse chemical free for the same reason people have been concerned with making a bed out of chemically treated pallets. Just as they're not good for toddlers, chemicals aren't good for warehouse workers either!

    As for the sanding, though they still look rough because they have been heavily used, I can assure everyone that I was very conscientious about making sure that the boards were smooth and would not give splinters easily. My girls are pretty rough & tumble at times, and like most kids, don't just use their beds for sleeping!!!

    Most of all David, thank you for voicing your concerns in a manner that is respectful! I really appreciate that after hearing so many assume that I went out of my way to cause as much harm to my tots as I possibly could. ;) I have no problems with people disagreeing with me, just be nice about it!!

  28. Tanaya and Brian at #

    Lori, you did an amazing job. I love the design concept and the fact that this is such an ecologically sound way of decorating. I am most definitely going to attempt this for my queen sized bed. Of course, that means I'm going to have to make a bright and funky quilt to contrast it as well.

    Oh, this is going to be fun. Thank you for sharing the tutorial and your idea! (And keep 'em coming. What else could we make with wood pallets!?!?!?

    Tanaya

  29. Lori Danelle at #

    Tanaya,

    I think it's a great idea to make one in a larger size! My only caution/thought is that you might want to rethink how you re-enforce the base. I personally wouldn't trust a few bolts to hold up my husband & I! Perhaps building a frame out of 2 x 4s and attaching that to the base of the pallets? Also, the wheels might need to go and use 6 4 x 4 posts instead. . .??

    I've given it a little bit of thought as you aren't the first to mention making it in a larger size. Perhaps I should draw up some tentative plans. . . .???

    As for what else, A friend and I are contemplating a porch swing for her house and I'm needing a table for my newly opened up living room (just got new-to-me-furniture)to house some toys. I was thinking that might be a lovely spot to add a little pallet love.

    However, at what point of pallet re-use does your house start to look like a scrap yard? If I find that point, I'll let you know!! :)

    Send pics if you give the bed a try!!

  30. a happy wanderer at #

    so…i've been on an endless search of a nice trundle bed, and keep coming up with so much ugliness! do you think this could be made somehow to fit a trundle underneath? none of the daybeds i'm seeing can compete with how great yours is! help!!!

  31. Anonymous at #

    I would`nt mind this bed as an outsidebed in the garden.Perfect.

  32. Fabio at #

    olá, tudo bom ?! Parabéns pelo post !
    Aqui no Brazil, em São Paulo, temos uma fábrica de paletes, e uma linha voltada para a fabricação de móveis de paletes. Visitem http://www.madeirausada.com.br . Abraços, Fábio

  33. Anastasia at #

    This is such an awesome idea. We were seriously just looking at what to do for our son. I think he's going to looooove this & I know my husband will have a blast making it.

    Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

    :o)

  34. hello! I love the bed and the great instructions. The munchkins are cute too. My only concern is that some pallets are used to transport toxic icky stuff, so if people are going to do this project they should check the source of the pallet. Reuse! but do it safely.

    • Lori at #

      Thanks! And Wendy, you are correct — you do need to pay attention to what pallets you use. These were heat treated & perfectly safe. For more information on pallets you can see my post on the topic

  35. The McKSneds at #

    I LOVE THE TODDLER BED!!! I plan on making one for my son. Thanks for the directions and sharing your creativity!

  36. Beckgymnast10 at #

    I was wondering what size bolts and screws you used?

    • I can’t remember for sure, but I imagine I used 5/16″. The length will totally depend on the pallets you’re using. The screws were standard wood or drywall screws, but the length depended on the thickness of the wood I was using it on, so in places I may have used 1.5″ while in others 3″.

  37. Jackie at #

    http://thatssewlife.blogspot.com/2012/08/big-girl-bed.html
    Here is my version of the pallet toddler bed I created for my girl from a picture I found on Pinterest and tracked back to your website. I love finding the original sources and love it even more when there is a tutorial. I think the toddler bed you made is absolutely adorable. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Connie B at #

    Just found your Pallet Bed & can’t wait to show hubby. Have been looking for trundle bed for spare room – can’t find one I like/for adults/long enough for a 6 1/2 footer/suitable to sit up to read in ‘day bed’ portion. You have design I want & so affordable! Hubby welds/builds with wood/has really good ideas. He commissioned woodworker to make parson’s storage bench out of large pallet used to transport clean building equipment. It’s in the bedroom at end of bed. He did a beautiful job/can’t tell it’s from pallet.

    Won’t make bed ’til ’13 or ’14 but will send pix. Thanks very much!!!

  39. Bed Blog at #

    Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.
    You have done a outstanding job!

  40. Richie at #

    Hi, Lori,
    building beds (and other stuff) from pallets is getting kind of a hobby of minere – in case that you haven’t started your bigger one yet, there are now two (one double, one single) palet beds i built yet and i described it quite detailed on palettenbett.com – yet in german, but i hope google transolate will help and the pictures should be quite instructive too.

    Hope its maybe also a bit inspiring – your method looks quite interesting to me :o)

    Al the best and happy pallet hacking,
    Richie

  41. Heather at #

    Beautiful! I first saw this on the inhabitant site and was surprised when I read the comments – it seemed many hadn’t read the article which mentioned the pallets had been heat treated and not chemically treated. Such a shame, but you should be very proud of this and your daughter is very lucky. Best, – H

    • Lori at #

      Trolls will be trolls and I do my best to ignore them. :) But I must admit, hearing kind comments does make it easier! You’d be surprised at the awful comments I STILL get nearly 3 years later! Thanks!!

  42. Tanisha at #

    Hi! Very cute. Thanks for sharing. Why do all of the pallet beds I see have wheels? Before i go and learn the hard way, is there a disadvantage to setting them directly on the floor?
    Thanks!

    • Lori at #

      Tanisha, for us it was an aesthetic choice, but off the top of my head I can’t think of a reason why you couldn’t. If your floor is wood, I would just remind you to protect the surface with felt pads or something, but other than that. . . ??? Go for it! :)

  43. Tanisha at #

    Thanks, Lori! I’ve been wondering for a while.

  44. Nancy at #

    Hello, I love this!! I’m trying to become more of a DIY type of gal..so am looking for a project to work on. This is probably the one! I looked at all your tutorials, very talented! Are you still posting new things up?

    • Lori at #

      That’s awesome Nancy! I think tackling DIY projects is always a good idea!! Often you surprise yourself what you are capable of and it’s completely empowering when you’re done! Plus, getting to say “Thanks! I made it” NEVER get old. ;)

      I am still doing & making new things, so yes, more projects are up and/or coming! I even have another bed project coming soon. . . :)

  45. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a
    team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same
    niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on.

    You have done a marvellous job!

  46. Kristen Helmes at #

    WOW! I have never in my life seen so many negative comments! Do you really think a mother wouldn’t sand a pallet to prevent splinters? I mean…she even said, “Once it was built I did go back and sand portions that would be touched often and thus needed a little more caution”! Your bed look great and some people are CRAZY ;)

  47. Julia at #

    Love the bed but where did you get that bedding?! I’m in love with it!!

    • Lori at #

      Thanks Julia! I actually made the quilt a few years ago. :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    [...] It’s going to be a while long while before I need to build one these, but definitely wouldn’t mind keeping this in my bag of tricks. Way cooler than a race car bed in my opinion. However, I would be a little worried about splinters. For the full tutorial check out Lori Danelle’s blog. [...]

  2. Palatable Pallets | EGG -

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