DIY Projects

How to Build Custom Bunk Beds

Submitted by: Woody Wall on October 14, 2011

Bunk Beds

This design has been made both functional and attractive by use of pattern cut-outs in head and foot uprights, which serve as ladders. Since most children love to climb, getting them to bed will be less of a chore. Beds may be put up or taken down quickly by use of a simple bolted connection at rails and uprights.

Sourced from


Canply Bunk Beds


  • 1 piece 1/2” x 3' x 6', 1 piece 1/2” x 4' x 6'
  • 1 piece 1/2” x 4' x 7' CANPLY EXTERIOR
  • Good Two Sides grade fir plywood
  • 2” x 2” x 11' lumber (bunk cleats)
  • 2” x 4” x 40' lumber (bunk rails)
  • 4, 1” x 4” corner braces
  • 14, 3/16” x 4” carriage bolts and wing nuts
  • 8, 3/16” x 1” stove bolts and wing nuts
  • 4 furniture glides
  • 1 1/2” No. 8 flat head wood screws
  • Glue
  • Wood Filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or stain


In the bill of materials, CANPLY EXTERIOR fir plywood with two faces of highest appearance (Good Two Sides grade) is specified where both sides of the panel will be seen in the finished job. Faces of the grade, which may contain carefully made repairs, are smooth and easy to paint. Select plywood with uniform grain pattern and colouration if you intend to use a light stain finish. Where only one side of the panel will be seen once the project is completed, Good One Side grade is specified for economy.

Medium Density Overlaid (MDO) plywood (plywood with a resin impregnated fibre overlay) may be used as an alternative to Good Two Sides when an extremely high quality paint finish is desired. MDO plywood is not suitable for a stain finish.


Douglas fir plywood stamped CANPLY EXTERIOR is made by member mills of the Canadian Plywood Association. It is bonded with 100% waterproof glue and may be used indoors or out. Look for the edgemark CANPLY EXTERIOR on every piece of plywood you buy.


CANPLY EXTERIOR fir plywood is manufactured in large-sized (4’ x 8’) panels which simplify every building step for you. Laying out the parts for cutting is the only step required before starting actual construction. Be sure to allow for saw kerfs between adjacent pieces.


Use an 8 to 10 pct. cross-cut for handsawing. Support panel firmly with good face up. For curves use a fine-toothed coping saw. For inside cuts, start hole with a drill; then use coping or keyhole saw. For power sawing, a combination blade gives best results. With first cuts, reduce panel to pieces small enough for easy handling. Use of scrap lumber underneath panel prevents splintering on back. Plan to cut matching parts with same saw setting. Curved cuts may be made with jigsaw, bandsaw or sabre saw.


Support plywood firmly. For larger holes use brace and bit. When point appears through plywood, reverse and complete hole from back. When drilling, finish slowly to avoid splintering.


Remember, edge grain of plywood runs in alternate directions so plane from ends toward centre. Use shallow-set blade.


CANPLY EXTERIOR fir plywood is sanded smooth in manufacture- a big time saver- so minimum surface sanding is necessary. Most sanding should be confined to panel edges. Use 80 for finer sandpaper before sealer or flat undercoat is applied. After sealing, use 120 sandpaper in direction of grain only.


Glue may be used on panel edges and faces. Apply glue to clean surfaces. Press firmly together until “bead” appears. Maintain pressure with clamps, nails or screws to allow glue to set. For exterior exposure use resorcinol type waterproof glues. Gluing is recommended for strongest, permanent fastening.


Nail size is determined by the thickness of plywood used, as follows:

  • Plywood Nail
  • Thickness Size
  • 1/4” and 3/8” 1 1/2” casing or finishing
  • 1/2” 1 1/2” or 2” casing or finishing
  • 5/8” and 3/4” 2” casing or finishing