Other items used:
– retractable shade
– 1.5″ dowel
– leftover carpeting
– various accessories
My 5 year old son was sad that his big sister was leaving their shared room for her own, so I decided to make him a ‘boat bed’ (at his request). The plan was to make a ‘cabin’ (sleeping area) on the bottom bunk and a ‘deck’ (play area) on the top bunk. And, if I was really clever, it would have a real functional sail!
1. I acquired and assembled an Ikea MYDAL bunk bed (from craigslist) according to the directions.
2. I loosely measured the areas of the bunk bed I wanted to face over with plywood. I faced each side from top to bottom each with a single piece of plywood. I faced the area from the bottom of the ladder to the floor, and also the rail of the top bunk. I added a piece about 2 ft wide to the front to create a little nook (but still a space big enough to easily get into the bed). I left the back side unfazed (this part faced the wall).
3. I painted the plywood based on my son’s requested color scheme (blue, white and red).
4. For the mast and sail, I screwed in the dowel along one corner of the bed. I then got an old retractable blind, cut it diagonally so it was a triangle, and asked a local sign maker to put a grommet in the end. I installed the shade upside down along the side of the bed so that the pointy end of the said was aligned with the dowel. I then attached a pulley to the top of the dowel, strung rope through it and tied it to the grommet.
The issue I ran into was, that because the shade was installed upside down, gravity was working against it when it was time to retract the shade. My father in law (who did a lot of the work) had the genius idea of attaching the end of the shade to the shade bracket with some fishing wire. Now the shade retracts when you pull it all the way up! Cool.
5. For the top deck, I used a staple gun to staple down some strips of leftover carpet (don’t look too closely!)
6. Finally, I added some finishing touches. We went to the fabric store and together picked out some cool ‘wave’ fabric that I stapled to the underside of the top bunk (with some christmas lights in there too). I added a porthole sticker to the inside of the ‘cabin’. I got a sticker of a life preserver and an anchor. Now, all this boat needs is a name!