Turning a plain bed into a place of enchantment is simple to do using pine you’ll find at most timber yards. Just start with a basic wooden bed, make up L-shaped posts and canopy rails, sprinkle with a little fairy dust and your princess will drift off to sleep for a night of sweet dreams.
Starting with a bought bed gives you a head start as all you have to do is embellish it. This design is easily adapted to most beds that stand on legs on the outer corners, rather than those on castors.Watch Rob make this project:
Gather your supplies
Narrow post sides (4) 90 x 18 x 2200mm pine
Wide post sides (4) 116 x 18 x 2200mm pine
Short tops (2) 90 x 18 x 1046mm pine
Short canopy rails (2) 116 x 18 x 1082mm pine
Long canopy rails (2) 116 x 18 x 2026mm pine
Long tops (2) 90 x 18 x 2026mm pine
Brackets (10) 90 x 18 x 90mm pine
Long curtain rods (2) 28.6mm-dia x 1885mm Tasmanian oak dowel
Short curtain rods (2) 28.6mm-dia x 930mm Tasmanian oak dowel
Adjust sizes of canopies to suit the size of your bed.
- Step 1: Cut timber for posts to length. As they’ll be joined in an L shape, it’s hard to entirely hide join between 2 pieces, even when filled and painted. So make a feature of it by hand sanding a small chamfer along edges that form joint. Hold pieces together to check how joint will look and sand more if necessary.
- Step 2: To create matching dummy joint on other face of post assembly, you’ll need to gouge a groove on face of 116mm-wide piece. This is easy to do using a homemade grooving tool. For this, drive a slotted screw into an offcut of timber until screw head finishes 18mm above timber surface – same as thickness of posts.
- Step 3: Run grooving tool along posts with wood hard against edge, and screw will gouge a groove in surface. It works like a hand-driven mini router. Run it over posts several times to get depth you want.
- Step 4: Fold 120-grit sandpaper into thirds and run it along groove you’ve formed to smooth it.
- Step 5: Repeat Steps 1-4 to create grooves in remaining wide post components.
- Step 6: Glue and screw 116mm-wide post side to 90mm-wide post side after predrilling and countersinking. Repeat to make 4 post assemblies. Fill all screw holes with a fast-drying filler, such as Timbermate, let dry, then sand smooth.
- Step 7: Depending on your bed, you might need to make a few modifications so posts can be screwed to legs. Here, a little of the bedhead needed to be cut off. Measure carefully and cut using a jigsaw. If blade nicks side of post, don’t worry too much as it will be hidden by new posts.
- Step 8: Glue and screw 2 post assemblies to bedhead, using clamps to hold tight if necessary. Make sure wide side of each assembly faces out to sides. Don’t screw to bedrails, otherwise you won’t be able to take bed apart. Glue and screw 2 post assemblies to bed legs at foot end, but this time screw from bed legs into L-shaped post assemblies from behind.
- Step 9: Cut tops and canopy rails to length. Cut a 45° mitre at each end of short tops and, to match posts, cut a vertical groove at each end of short canopy rails, this time cutting across grain with grooving tool.
- Step 10: Glue and screw rails to short tops so short top is 18mm from each end – use a spacer block as a guide. In a similar way, cut a mitre at ends of long tops and screw to long canopy rails. However, in this case, both tops and rails are same length and there’s no vertical groove cut in rails. Round meeting edges of both long and short canopy rails to highlight joint.
- Step 11: Cut brackets to size and find centre of each by drawing diagonals from corner to corner (see Bracket Diagram above). Drill a 30mm-dia hole in centre of bracket using a Speedbor. To stop breakout at back, drill until point comes through back, then turn over and drill back other way. Drill holes in all 10 brackets. Mark in 2 cuts to form a J shape. The timber grain should run horizontally under bottom of J shape, so when it supports curtain rod there will be no short grain that would easily snap off.
- Step 12: On short canopy rail assemblies, measure 135mm in from ends, mark in position of brackets and drill a hole in both top and rail to secure brackets in place. Repeat for long canopy rail assemblies, but add an extra bracket in middle.
- Step 13: Glue and screw brackets in place. It’s essential to predrill pilot holes or timber may split, as it’s quite small.
- Step 14: Fit long canopy rail assemblies to top of posts and clamp in place so ends are flush. Don’t glue, as bed will need to be taken apart to move it into bedroom. Screw from post back into canopy rail and from top of assembly into top of post. With 2 long canopy rails in place, screw on 2 short canopy rail assemblies, making sure joints are tight. If mitres aren’t aligned, add a flat mending plate across top of mitres to hold them in alignment.
- Step 15: Cut curtain rods to length, place on brackets to check for size and adjust as necessary.
- Step 16: Give entire bed 2-3 coats of paint, allowing to dry after each coat.
- Step 17: Dismantle bed and reassemble in room. Fit tie-top curtains to rods. Add bows to hold curtains back when open.
You’ll also need
Raw pine bed (about 1990 x 1010mm); 12-gauge slotted steel screw; PVA; wood filler; 75 x 19mm mending plates (4 – if necessary); paint to suit (here, Dulux Weathershield Low Sheen in Vivid White); power drill with 30mm Speedbor bit; 120-grit sandpaper; curtains to suit