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I Love the Smell of Sawdust in the Morning

March 7, 2011

I want to call The Hubster right now.

Right. Now.

I want to tell him that the promise he made me make (the one where I can’t build ANYTHING this week) is killing me.

It’s gorgeous outside!

I have MDF in the closet waiting to be turned into a pantry cabinet for the laundry room.

I want to build!!!

But I can’t.

Because I promised.

(Insert many colorful curses here.)

In the meantime…I’m going to make a confession.

Remember the doll bed I shared last Friday?

I didn’t just build that bed.

I built a second bed as well.

It was my intent to get both beds built, primed, painted, and polyurethaned last week. It was also my intent to get all the bedding sewn for both beds. (If it’s true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I’ve got a four lane highway leading straight there.)

In reality, I could only manage to get one bed with all its accompanying linens finished by Friday afternoon.

The completed bed (the one in the photos above) was donated to my church as an item to be auctioned at our spaghetti supper Friday night. The second bed…the one I’m making for Lulu…is still a work in progress.

The fact that her bed isn’t painted and the flat sheet and the quilt haven’t yet been sewn hasn’t reduced her enjoyment of it one bit.  She loves this bed and spent a good part of yesterday afternoon tucking her dolls into this bed and and playing mommy.

And I am beyond tickled with how much she loves it.

I have to thank Ana White for posting the free (yeah..Fah-Ree!!!) plans for this bed. And I have to thank the awesome community of contributors to her site for posting their pictures, comments, suggestions and modifications for this bed. Without their input I don’t know that I’d have built these beds at all.

Ana’s plans for this bed are awesome exactly as they are, but I felt that the plans as posted would create a bed that was too big. Had I known that Lulu would pile about a dozen dolls into her bed, I might have built the wide version. C’est la vie.

SUPPLY LIST & ESTIMATED COST (for one modified bed)

  • (1) 2″x2″x8′ premium furring strip ($1.37)
  • (2) 1″x3″x8′ premium furring strip ($1.43 each)
  • (2) 1″x2″x8′ premium furring strip ($0.92 each)
  • (1) 8′ stick of 3/4″ trim ($3.70)
  • (1) 5.2 mm x 2′ x 2′ lauan plywood ($3.12)
  • 2″ screws
  • 1-1/4″ screws -or- wood glue and 1-1/2″ finishing nails

This bed can be built for less than $7 if you skip the trim and use a heavy cardboard instead of the plywood for your mattress base. Even if you upgrade the trim and purchase plywood, your out of pocket cost (assuming you have basic supplies such as nails, screws, glue, etc) is less than $14. If you’re like me and aren’t crazy about the rounded edges furring strips have, you can choose select pine, poplar or aspen and still spend less than $25 for material.

Both my beds were built from scrap lumber, so I had no out of pocket expense other than the trim I purchased.


  • (2) 2″x2″ @ 11″ (legs for headboard)
  • (2) 2″x2″ @ 4 1/4″ (legs for footboard)
  • (4) 1″x3″ @ 6″ (headboard panels)
  • (4) 1″x3″ @ 3″ (footboard panels)
  • (2) 1″x2″ @ 10″ (bottom of panels)
  • (2) 1″x2″ @ 13″ (top of panels)
  • (2) 1″x3″ @ 14″ (top of headboard and footboard)
  • (2) 1″x3″ @ 19″ (side rails)
  • (3) 1″x2″ @ 11″ (bed frame)

I began by cutting the pieces for the head and foot boards (recall that I built two of these beds).

When I stacked the pieces together as they would be assembled I discovered…

So I stood there and scratched my head. Then I double-checked the sketches I’d made for the modifications. Then I double checked the measurements of my cuts.

It was then that I discovered that the 1″x3″ whiteboards I’d dug from the scrap pile didn’t measure 3/4″x2-1/2″ as I’d assumed they would. They were actually narrower than 2-1/2″.


I wasn’t sure whether I should space the 1″x3″s slightly farther apart or trim the 10″ bottom panel piece to fit. I finally chose option #2. I also trimmed the 13″ top panel piece to fit.

I assembled the head and foot boards using 2″ screws, finishing nails, and wood glue.

Despite predrilling for all my screws, one of my 2″x2″ posts protested.

Since I’d had to trim down my 10″ and 13″ 1×2’s that had been cut for the head and foot boards, the 11″ 1×2’s that had been cut for the bed frame were too long. I laid them across the side rails and marked each for exact length. After trimming them they were attached to the side rails with wood glue and finishing nails.

The final step in assembly was cutting a 18-3/4″x11″ piece of lauan plywood to fit inside the bed frame. I used the table saw (not my favorite tool in the world) to rip it to size and then tacked it to the 1×2’s bed frame using wood glue and finishing nails.

Though the plans don’t call for it, I added 1 piece of trim to the front of the headboard and 1 piece to the top and bottom fronts of the foot board. I didn’t miter the trim on Lulu’s bed…I simply cut it flush with the edges of the panel. The trim on the donated bed was mitered and wrapped around three sides of the headboard (no trim on the back of the bed) and four sides of the foot board. If I had to redo Lulu’s bed, I’d probably wrap the trim.  But since I built her bed first, she didn’t get that additional detail.

No matter…she loves it as it is.

As I stated earlier, my cut list modifies the awesome plans Ana White posted on her site. The overall length and height of the bed remain the same (23″L x 12-1/2″ H). Based upon my cut list, the overall width of the bed was reduced from 16-1/2″ to 14″, and the actual “bed” part went from 15-1/2″ to 13″.

However, because my 1″x3″s were narrower than 2-1/2″ and I trimmed my 10″ and 13″ 1″x2″s to compensate for that, my finished bed (actual bed part) ended up being 12-3/4″ wide.  More than ample for one 18″ doll.

Be sure to check out Ana’s site if you’re thinking of building this bed. Her plans are exceptional, and she included some assembly tips and tricks I didn’t cover in this post.

If you’d like to make linens to go with this bed, tune in tomorrow when I’ll post instructions for creating basic bedding for this baby — a tufted mattress and the perfectly sized pillows.

Until then…

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