Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Trundle Bed

We had a dilemma. Our youngest of the three girls moved out of her toddler bed and was ready to move into a regular twin mattress. The problem was we wanted her to stay in the girls room and not take up too much floor space. My wife-who has great ideas-mentioned wanting a tuck away Trundle bed. As always, I casted a vision first and measured second. I knew it had been done before, so I proceeded with a moderate understanding of the budget and time constraints.

I went to work by removing the standard ladder on the girl's bunk bed and installed one made from an old paint ladder that was my grandfather's. That solved the first problem...but I discovered the clearance on the bed the trundle mattress was to go under was 10 1/2". The mattress itself is 7" alone on the ground. That meant that your baseboard and wheels together would have to be under 3 1/2". With a board of 1" thickness, there was a fat chance of pulling that off. Plus, wheels on carpet that has an 8 lb pad does not mean easy maneuverability. So, what to do?  Raising the bed wasn't a good option in my eyes, not with 8' ceilings and a nearby fan.  

This pic doesn't lie: there wasn't much room for clearance.

In vision-like fashion, I had an epiphany one night when it occurred to me that we didn't need wheels. We just needed to scoot the baseboard across the floor. And what do you use to move things across carpet?  Simple: plastic sliders. 


These things are normally used to slide heavy furniture across carpet. The idea is these low profile plates will act as wheels to scoot the bed. All that is needed is to evenly space the sliders and this should work. I still wasn't sure, but went ahead as usual. 

So, I started with a 4' x 8' sheet of birch veneer plywood. I selected this wood over standard plywood because it is sturdier and smoother. It won't warp and it looks great. Additionally, at around $47 a sheet, it's a smidge cheaper than oak veneer. I used it on my shelves in our family room and was happy to purchase the excess wood I can reuse :).  

Next, I cut the board to 37" x 72". I allowed for more board on the sides and less on the top and bottom ends.  This is so you have some board to grab on the sides and so it won't rub against the wood posts at the long ends of the mattress.  The board length had to be less than 78" long (he mattress itself was 76"-tight fit).  I used a jigsaw with a straight edge to make the cut.  Additionally, I took a soup can and traced smooth corners that I then cut off.  Past projects taught me that little hands always find sharp corners to injure themselves on.  After a little sanding to smooth edges (you can use a router), I wiped of the sawdust off with a rag. The board was done. 

I then moved the baseboard for the mattress upstairs and then evenly spaced the sliders on the ground.  I placed the wood over the sliders (I didn't bother gluing, but didn't know how that would work till I tried). Then, Blake helped put the mattress on the board.  I couldn't believe we were done at that point.  And this thing is so easy to slide that my three year old can move the bed back and forth herself.  I may add a rope handle later, but for now, that is it.  

Total project cost: under $60. The sliders from Lowe's were about $8.23.  Not bad, if you ask me. I may end up painting the board or staining it to match the bed.  For now, this should suffice (I've come around: Painting wood was previously a sin to me). Should she transition out of this lovely bed, I have project wood and sliders leftover. Feel free to copy this idea and use it if you like it. Those of you with wood floors can use the felt sliders and get the same results. They work almost too good! Lucent in Tenebris.

Now, only if I can get that little girl to actually sleep in this bed and not in ours.


  1. Brilliant idea!! We have downsized and need room to house grandchildren when they come!! (Heather DiSilvestro's parents)

  2. It works great, Joanne. Let me know if you have any questions...I know both your daughter and son (Ian)!

  3. Great idea with the casters! I'm excited to try the felt on our hard wood in our sons room!

  4. There is no better way to save space in a room. The options are many and varied: sofas, studio bed storage drawer ... My 2 boys have to sleep in the same room, they are small and I'm afraid of injuries with bunk beds. In addition the room is slightly smaller than I pointed my choice for a trundle bed, easy to store and increases the game space in the room. It took a while to find but this site allowed me to contact a dealer of a good brand: Take a look, you will not disappoint.           

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