Easy DIY Toddler Bed Platform

Build an easy toddler bed platform - tutorial via DIYOntheCheap.com

Note: My first HLN segment will air this Friday, March 15, during Evening Express at 5pm. It will be super short (2 minutes or so) and will show Part 1 of the Boys’ Bedroom Makeover.

I mentioned before that while I was in the midst of having HLN film my sons’ bedroom makeover, I decided at the last minute to make a new toddler bed for our youngest son instead of using the one we already have. I did this because I wanted to make him a mini-version of our oldest son’s headboard, but our existing toddler bed has a headboard attached that cannot be removed. I came up with this easy solution. Keep in mind aside from making the headboards, I have never built anything. Therefore, If I can do it, so can you! Here is a quick tutorial on how to make this Easy DIY Toddler Bed.

Build an easy toddler bed platform - tutorial via DIYOntheCheap.com

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4″ thick plywood cut to 52″L x 29″W (this will fit a standard crib/toddler mattress)
  • 4x4x8 cut down into 5 pieces, each 9″L (You will have some left over)
  • Wood Screws (I used 1 1/2″)
  • Drill
  • Wood Glue
  • Sander

Sidenote: Our old toddler bed had rails built onto it for protection. This one does not, therefore if your child needs guard rails you will have to purchase those separately. We have the kind that just slide under the mattress.

This is not the most attractive bed, but ours is hidden by a bed skirt so you don’t even see it. It just serves as a platform for the mattress. I attached the new headboard to the legs of the bed with wood screws. I did not glue that part since I want to be able to easily remove it if we ever need to move the bed.

The process is very easy, not to mention inexpensive. You can have your wood cut down at Home Depot, which makes the process extremely easy since all that’s left to do is sand and attach the legs to the plywood. First, sand your plywood and 4×4 pieces until they are smooth. (I just used an orbital sander). Place one 4×4 piece under each corner of the plywood, creating legs. Center the fifth 4×4 under the platform. This will act as extra support.

Apply wood glue to the top of each 4×4, then place it back under the plywood and drill a small pilot hole through the top of the plywood and into the center of the 4×4. Attach each leg with a wood screw. Do the same with the support 4×4 underneath. Allow glue to dry, and then you have a bed!

Build an easy toddler bed platform - tutorial via DIYOntheCheap.com

I ended up using a twin size bed skirt (I was in a pinch) and just cut it down and used hem tape to attach it to the platform. Then I placed the mattress on top of that. I attached the new headboard to the back legs of the bed with wood screws. (Click here for the headboard tutorial.) That’s it! Didn’t take long at all.

You could certainly modify the dimensions and use this same method for a larger bed, although I would recommend adding more support underneath.

And here is the end result (the bed on the right):

Build an easy toddler bed platform - tutorial via DIYOntheCheap.com

Jake has been sleeping in his new bed for a couple weeks now and he seems very comfortable. He loves it, especially since it looks just like his big brother’s bed. I usually put the guard rails on at night.

How many 2 year-olds do you know that have a completely custom-made toddler bed? Yep, we’re pretty fancy over here. Ha! But this custom bed (including headboard) cost less than the inexpensive toddler bed we bought at Target a couple years ago.

This project definitely inspired me to continue learning how to build furniture. This was a very easy beginner project – and now I have big plans for some upcoming furniture builds!

Do you love building furniture – or want to learn how? If you have any tips or building advice, please share!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Sally says

    Yay! I put the air date on my calendar so I can Tivo it!
    I’m thinking the answer to my kitchen coffee station furniture piece might be to just build it ourselves. Thank goodness for Ana White or I wouldn’t even consider it. Your bed turned out amazing!

  2. Mel@JunkinJunky says

    Such a brilliant idea and making your little guy feel like his “big” brother is priceless.

    I hope you won’t mind this one piece of advise; drill a few holes in the platform to allow for the mattress to breath.

    Great work!

  3. Lacie says

    Now this is what I’ve been looking for. I have two toddlers, 5 year old girl and a 3 year old son. I’ve been thinking about buying toddler beds, but for the price of one I can make two. Luckily, I’ve got some skills in building. Thanks for posting this. I’m going after the stuff today! :)

    • Erin @ DIY on the Cheap says

      I’m glad you found this to be helpful! This is an easy build and has worked out well for my little guy so far. Good luck! Hope it works well for your kiddos too!

  4. Grace says

    What kind of supports would you put under the bed if you made a twin bed, or to just add extra support? How much did this bed (materials) cost you?

    • Erin @ DIY on the Cheap says

      Hi Grace! I can’t remember exactly, but I think the materials cost me $20-25 or so. If you want to make a twin size, I would either add more support “legs” underneath the bed (I only put one support 4×4 in the center underneath), or you could build a wooden frame around your plywood with slats underneath.


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