When my daughter started to outgrow her toddler bed, I decided it was time to build her a new twin size bed. When I told her what I was up to, I wasn’t sure who was more excited; myself for having a new project to build in the shop, or her because she was getting a new big girl bed. Every day she would ask me if I was going to work on making her big girl bed today.
With pressure from my daughter, I needed to make her something special. I didn’t want to build something from a plan; I wanted it to be of my own design. My wife and I looked through several furniture design books that I have collected over the years for inspiration. Once we had picked out several we liked, I sat down with Google sketch up and started to draw my own version.
My final design is based in the mission style. The main body of the bed is made from hard maple. The accent spindles are walnut, and the panels between the walnut spindles are figured maple. I used all traditional mortise and tenon style joinery to build the headboard and footboard. The rails that hold the mattress up are mortise and tenon as well, but are not glued so the bed can come apart. Those mortise and tenon joints are held together using bed rail cleats I purchased from Rockler.
Being the over protective father I am, the finish had to be nontoxic. I went with “Tried and True Danish oil and Varnish blend” which is a zero VOC and food safe finish. If I had to do the finish all over again, I think I would probably use a wiping varnish, or more coats of the tried and true to build a thicker finish. As it is now the once the finish has completely cured the maple has lost the depth and looks dry. Oddly enough, the walnut still looks great with that finish.