DIY pallet toddler bed

I’m so excited to share my weekend DIY project with you today! If you’ll remember, I put a DIY toddler bed on my Top 10 list of projects to finish in 2012, and this weekend I accomplished just that.

diy pallet toddler bed, pallet bed, diy toddler bed

I’m super proud of it because neither myself nor my husband have much experience in working with wood or building anything. Although I consider myself a crafty person, building things is something I am slightly intimidated by (but very interested in). But when I started seeing pallet beds all over Pinterest, I thought to myself, “Hey, I can do that!”

diy pallet toddler bed, pallet bed, diy toddler bed
diy pallet toddler bed, pallet bed, diy toddler bed

We had been looking for a cheap way to make or purchase a toddler bed for our oldest daughter since she was currently using the crib we will be needing for our upcoming arrival in May/June. I thought if we could get our hands on a pallet or two, we could easily throw something together; and I loved the industrial look of the beds I was seeing.

Although I wanted to use pre-made pallets, I decided against it for two reasons:

  1. I couldn’t get my hands on one (granted, I didn’t try very hard, but one didn’t end up on my doorstep, sooo…)
  2. I started researching pallet beds and read about how the wood used for pallets is generally not the best quality (makes sense since they are used for just moving packaged materials), which means it would need to be heavily sanded to ensure that you removed all the splinters (a big concern since we were using it for a toddler). Also, some pallets are treated with certain chemicals to give them longer life in the sun and other weather conditions; a chemical that isn’t really healthy for a toddler to be exposed to. It’s possible that the chemical wears off after time, but I didn’t really feel comfortable using a pallet after reading that.

So for these reasons, we decided to build a faux pallet on our own (with an extension on the end). It was so simple! Here’s what we used (dimensions are for a toddler bed using a standard crib mattress):


DIY pallet toddler bed


  • 12 – 1” x 4” boards cut to 30” in length (we used poplar wood because it was cheap and already nicely finished for less splinters)
  • 3 – 2”x4” boards cut to 64” in length (douglas fir studs, rougher looking than the poplar)
  • nails
  • 4 – 3” locking casters
  • bolts & nuts for the casters


  • Wood: $73
  • Casters: $44 (way too much…) We had a last-minute problem with the original ones I bought, and ending up getting expensive ones at Home Depot just so we could finish the project… I would suggest checking Ebay or Amazon for cheaper ones – I saw some for only $5.75 a piece, which would have saved us half what we spent) Update: We originally bought 4 locking casters, but returned two and purchased casters without locks, which brought the cost down about $10
  • Nails: Already had
  • Nuts & bolts: Roughly $3


The finished size of the pallet was 30” x 64” (it would have been 52” without the extension on the end). As you can see from the photos, the 2×4’s were used on the two sides and down the middle. The 12 1×4’s were spaced out and nailed to the 2×4’s – 8 on the top and only 4 on the bottom. Then we attached the casters, gave it a final sanding and that’s it!

diy pallet toddler bed, pallet bed, diy toddler bed
diy pallet toddler bed, pallet bed, diy toddler bed

As you can see we added that extra extension on the end of the bed so our daughter could put her shoes there, or sit there to put her shoes on. It turns out it’s also a good spot for her to climb up on to get into bed (it’s a little lower than the mattress, which still sits a bit high for her).

I know we’ll have this bed for years to come. We plan to pass it down to each child, and let it be their first “big kid” bed. It gives my daughter just enough independence, and I don’t worry about her falling out of a huge twin sized bed. I’m also happy that it is something my husband and I created together!

Today I am going to make a wooden headboard from the leftover wood, and I’ll be sharing that project soon. I also have yet to make her a new quilt (also from my Top 10 list) and some pillows. As soon as I do, I will be ready to reveal her entire big girl room (I’ve already shared some DIY art and a DIY tent I made)! Hopefully that will be soon, because I really need to get working on the nursery…

Update 3/2012: Some of you were concerned with our long bolts and the danger they could cause to the toddler. After we built the bed and took these photos, we switched the bolts out with shorter ones and put them facing down so they were no longer a hazard.

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