Dad makes fabulous dinosaur bed for daughter’s big girl room.
With Baby #2 arriving, my wife and I knew it would only be a matter of time before we needed to evict our daughter Anna from her current sleeping area — the cot bed.
Because we knew that our life would be focused on Baby for the foreseeable future (and I read somewhere that she might resent the new baby if she saw her bed move as an eviction) we decided to ask Anna if she wanted a “big girl” bed, and what kind of bed she’d like.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting the response: “Dinosaur Bed!! Raaaawwwrrrrrr!”.
MDF (2x 6mm, 1x 12mm thick) 1.2m x 2.4m – walls & door
Pallet Slats – decoration
Sanded Branches – hand rail
Paint (Brown, Chalkboard, Primer)
Decorations – Leaves
Dino bed instructions:
Cut sheets of MDF to size of each side of KURA.
Cut Dinosaur shape into front panel as door and painted.
Painted MDF (outside brown, inside chalk-board)
Sanded and painted the TROFAST unit brown.
Build & attach side panels and TROFAST.
Added safety railing to the stairs (stripped bark from and sanded lengths of tree taken out of garden).
Added guard rails to the top KURA bunk (sanded and stained pallet wood).
Finish with lights in den, wooden edging & leaf decorations
Total spend: £471
Details of Dinosaur Bed Hack
After a good amount of research (we looked into a variety of options from just getting dino duvets all the way to somehow creating a 3D dinosaur somehow that the bed sits inside), we fell into the rabbit hole that is ikeahackers.net and gained a huge amount of inspiration.
I really liked the idea that the KURA bed could be used to create a bed/den combo. And so the design started to take form.
The below was a rough idea of what I hoped to achieve, put together in powerpoint:
To make sure everything was as accurate as possible I ended up building the KURA outside and measuring and cutting the panels. I’m glad I did, as I nearly forgot to add the thickness of the end panels on top of the length of the KURA to ensure the side panels were the right size!
The first piece of proper prep after measurements were taken was to prime and paint the MDF panels. I decided that to create a “Jungle Dinosaur” theme, I’d just use a simple brown on one side (outside). And to add a bit of fun to her den I’d use chalkboard paint on the other side (inside).
I roped my daughter in here to get her a little more invested in the bed, plus she loves painting. (Although I’m not sure this is what she had in mind when I asked if she wanted to paint). While we were at it, we painted the TROFAST.
Making the dino door
Next up was a tricky part – getting the door right.
I had an image I wanted to use but am no artist. So, armed with some knowledge of science, a box, a random magnifying glass I found and my phone I made a makeshift projector and sketched the design onto the MDF. I am both surprised and over the moon with how well this worked!
Projecting the image onto the MDF
I chopped this door out with a jigsaw, painted it, re-did the details, and routed the edges so that it fit in the hole when I closed it. (I also took about 3 or 4mm off the bottom so that it opens and closes smoothly).
Going natural with the handrail
Using pallet slats, and branches of a tree we took out of our garden I got started on the additional details.
My favourite part of the whole bed is the handrail.
I love how well it turned out and it was something of an afterthought. I used a lot of sanding followed by an oak varnish. Despite almost every piece of wood here being from a different type of tree the varnish worked well to bring it all together.
Once the prep was all done (I know! All of this was prep!), it was just a case of moving it into her room and putting it together. It was actually really simple from here: a case of building the bed, screwing in the side panels and sticking/screwing the wooden extras and TROFAST in place.
As a finishing touch I’d bought a lot of fake leaves earlier and armed with a glue gun we had a lot of fun sticking these around the bed. I’d also created a “spy hole” in the side of the den and used these leaves to partly conceal this.
For the Den
I cut out a hole in the side panel that lines up with the tallest step of the TROFAST so that the storage containers can be pulled inside. This can also be used as a makeshift entrance/exit.
To make the den fun and give some light, I bought a remote control strip light (5m) and stuck this around the bed frame. We have practically had a rave with Anna excitedly showing me which colour lights she likes the most.
As another afterthought I used some of the chalkboard MDF offcuts to attach to the KURA frame and make bookshelves. This went down very well with my daughter who now wants all bedtime stories in her den … not so much with my claustrophobic wife though …
The IKEA Dino tent, T-Rex and bedsheets really brought this whole thing together. Our daughter absolutely loves the new bed. And it’s turned her room from a place where her clothes/toys live, to somewhere she enjoys hanging out!
P.S. The triceratops is yet to get horns. These will be 3D and attached to act as the door handles (eventually!)