How to build a child’s wood four-poster bed

How to build a child's wood four-poster bed

Our plans will be for a twin size bed measuring 39 inches by 75 inches. If you already have the mattress for the bed, measure it to be sure it is 39 inches by 75 inches. Most twins are standard sized but some are a little smaller or larger.

A list of materials and tools follow at the end of the instructions.

This bed is made from 1 sheet of 3/4-inch plywood, two 8-foot-long 1×8’s, and four 6-foot 4×4’s. In choosing your lumber try to get the best-looking pieces and straightest pieces. It is important that the lumber is not warped and has as few knots as possible. Of course, if your desire is a knotty pine poster bed knots would be welcome.

Before making your cuts to the lumber be sure all ends are square so your measurements are accurate. Now you begin making your cuts. Be sure to cut the end boards, sideboards, rails, and posts all the right measurements. Your end boards and bed board will be cut from the sheet of plywood. First, make your 39-inch x 75-inch cut for the bed board. Then from the remaining plywood cut two 8-inch x 39-inch end boards. If you want the end boards to match the sideboards you will need to purchase one more 1×8 8 foot long. Otherwise, you can save money by making the end boards out of the plywood.

Cut off each corner of the bed board so the leg posts will fit snuggly. Cut a 2 1/2-inch notch out of each post to allow space for corners of the mattress. Place two of posts on the floor 75 inches apart and lay one of the sideboards over them, making sure that the tops of the board and the legs are even. Drill pilot holes for every screw you put in. Now, screw the sideboard onto the legs using 1 1/2-inch #10 screws. Repeat the same step for the other side.

Turn over the sideboards and posts and using wood glue and nails, attach the rail between the legs and 2 1/2 to 3 inches down from the sideboard tops. Spacing of the rails depends largely on the thickness of the mattress. Repeat for other side and then attach your end boards using the # 10 1 ½-inch screws.

Now your bed is complete other than painting or staining. Sand the bed and round any sharp corners and then paint or stain the bed and finials. Then place the dried finials on the posts. You now are ready once dry to place the mattress on the bed. You can also put a curtain rail around the top of the posts and for the younger child the bed will double as a playhouse, hideaway, or tent. As the child grows, the bed can be changed in color and curtain rail taken down to suit their likes and dislikes.


  • (1) 4×8 sheet 3/4-inch A/D plywood (bottom (bed board) and ends)
  • (2 or 3) 8 foot 1×8 pine (sideboards and end boards if you do not want them made from the plywood)
  • (2) 8 foot 1×2 pine (support rail attaches to sideboards)
  • (4) 6 foot 4×4 pine (posts)
  • (1) 4 wide finials for posts
  • (1) box 1 1/2 inch finishing nails
  • (1) box 1 1/2 inch #10 screws
  • (1) bottle wood glue (for attaching rail to sideboards)
  • (2) quarts polyurethane or enamel paint


  • Saw and drill
  • Hammer
  • Screwdrivers
  • Paint brush and sandpaper.

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