A customized toddler loft using plans from Ana White as a starting point.

Our DIY Toddler Loft

One year ago this weekend, my husband built our son a toddler loft. He was going for hernia surgery July 9th and needed it to be done before his surgery. I’ve been meaning to write up a post about it, but it just kept getting put on the back burner.

There comes a time when every kid has to move out of the crib - some earlier than others and others later.

Evan was a pro at climbing out of his crib, and we were actually hoping to use the crib with Oliver (who was already a few months old this time last year), so we needed to get him a big boy bed. There was one problem – his bedroom is small! So we needed to maximize our space.

I scoured Pinterest, and at first I saw the IKEA KURA bed. I loved what some people had done with it! But when we went to IKEA, it just didn’t grab me. I didn’t like the feel of it, or the mattress that was supposed to go with it. I wanted to use a normal thickness twin mattress, and I wanted higher guard rails. But I loved the idea of a toddler loft.

So I started looking for loft plans, and basically a DIY IKEA KURA.

When I came across THIS blog post by crab + fish on Pinterest, I was SOLD. I had found the one! Or so I thought at the time.

They used a bed plan from Ana White, which led me to her website. After looking through all of her bed plans, I came to a new decision. The steps from the first plan, but I wanted to use the Surf Bus Loft Bed plan for the bed itself. Instead of making it into a bus or car, we were planning on decking it out Disney Planes style. We did end up using the Surf Bus plan, but soon realized the bedroom was too small for the stairs from the first plan. But that’s ok!

We modified the height of the bed, and the rails, to fit our own preferences. To save money, as my husband was taking a month off work unpaid for his surgery, we used OSB on the sides. If we didn’t have cats, that would have been fine. One of our younger cats has been scratching at the OSB, so a year later, I would like to replace it with higher quality material in the near future.

 We built a modified toddler loft using plans from Ana White as the starting point.
My husband ran into a problem early on. Our drill, which was an old hand-me-down, was having trouble charging. It wasn’t holding battery power. It was going to be a long weekend! Since we knew he still had a lot of work to go, and that we had to go get the bedding from Target (a Planes themed sheet set), we picked up a cheap replacement, which worked for the rest of the project.

When it came to putting the OSB on, Evan wanted to help, and my husband let him. Not that Ev got to accomplish much, but it completely made his day to be a part of it!

 Evan loved his new toddler loft right away!
Eddie completed the construction before his surgery, but given the delay from the drill, it wasn’t painted and ready to go just yet. That worked out well though and gave Evan time to get used to the new bed. He loved playing underneath it from the beginning.
A customized toddler loft using plans from Ana White as a starting point.A customized toddler loft using plans from Ana White as a starting point.

We had chosen the colors specifically to resemble Dusty Crophopper. The white was a very simple white, and the orange was Orange Marmalade by Glidden. We bought a small container of black paint to paint the Jolly Wrenches symbol, but never got around to it. And once the cat started scratching up the OSB, it was a definite no. If we do replace the OSB, we can paint the Jolly Wrenches symbol on the side then.

A customized toddler loft using plans from Ana White as a starting point.

Under the bed, on the left (which is the side closest to the door), we secured a sheet of metal to be used for magnets. At the time, we kept books in a crate, and put the dresser on the right side, closest to the outside window. Now, we have moved things yet again, and there is a bookshelf under the bed. I want to do a book sling for the bed though, like this.

A customized toddler loft using plans from Ana White as a starting point.

We all really love this bed. My husband is definitely not a pro, and doesn’t really have any special tools beyond a simple saw, jigsaw and drill, but he found it fairly simple for his skill level. It would have looked better with all the tools mentioned in the plans, I’m sure, but you can make do without them. The Ana White directions were easy enough to follow.

A customized toddler loft using plans from Ana White as a starting point.

Evan loved his new bed, and still does to this day. We’re hoping it can grow with him.

*Affiliate link: The comforter for the bed is a licensed Disney reversible comforter with generic planes on it. It does not have any characters on it at all, but I love the design so much. It’s exactly what I wanted for Ev’s room.

UPDATE: We’ve since moved the crib to our room, and sidecarred it to our bed. (UPDATE 2: The crib is no longer against our bed, but it is still in our room in toddler bed form.) In doing this, we freed up a good amount of space and moved the dresser out from under the bed. We put a bookshelf in it’s place.
In the future, I want to make a book sling next to the pillow on the bed, and block the gaps in the rails with some type of mesh so that things can’t fall through. Also, there was one night that Evan somehow got stuck in the rails – we have NO clue how, because he would have to be wedged down under the mattress somehow. Luckily it hasn’t happened again, and he didn’t get hurt at all. But better safe than sorry.

A customized toddler loft using plans from Ana White as a starting point.

9 thoughts on “Our DIY Toddler Loft

  1. This is so great! I will be saving this post for sure – My husband LOVES doing things like this – but we are only expecting our first in a few months – so we have a bit before we would be able to do this! But it looks great!!

    • Ana White has a ton of plans for DIY projects on her website. I almost (almost) had my husband build us a bed, too, because I got sucked into her website. Ha!

  2. This turned out so awesome!! I love it! Thanks for sharing your plans and your process!! Your hubby did a great job!! I’d love to do something like this for my son when we finally get a house!! There’s never enough floor space!!

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