If you are worried about your littles rolling right out of bed at night, this external bed rail is just the thing. This concept can be used on any of our beds with just a few modifications that are as easy as pie! If you will be adding this to a bed without posts, you can add an additional vertical piece in each of the corners so the entire rail unit is self sufficient.
Psst… In addition to the original twin sized house bed, we now have plans for a toddler sized house bed , a twin sized house bed and a full sized version too that all sit on the floor with a platform base and have a chimney!
3 – 2×3 at 8′
- 2-1/2″ Pocket Screws
- 2 1/2″ Wood Screws
- Pocket Hole Plugs – Paint Grade, Pine, Oak – optional
- Safety Gear
- Wood Filler
- Wood Glue
- Sanding Supplies
- Paste Wax
- Finishing Supplies
- 2 – 2×3 at 19 1/2″ – Upper Front Rails
- 2 – 2×3 at 9 3/4″ – Vertical Front Rails
- 2 – 2×3 at 17″ – Lower Front Rails
- 4 – 2×3 at 30″ – Side Rails
- 2 – 2×3 at 55″ – Back Rails
Before beginning to build, always check in on my site to make sure you have the most up to date set of plans, I occasionally update and change the plans to make the building process easier or to allow for less expensive purchasing of materials! Read through the entire set of instructions and all comments before beginning this project. If you print out or save plans, be sure to check in on my site to be sure you have the most up to date set of plans, as I occasionally update things for ease of building or buying. If you are new to building, read through the GETTING STARTED section and other articles found under the BUILD tab in the menu on my site, it has valuable information about how to get started, tools and techniques. If you are unfamiliar with the finishing process, visit my Finishing school for some tips and tricks for painting like a pro and for special finishing practices. Use glue to secure your joints and Consider Painting or Staining individual sections prior to assembling. This makes the paint application virtually flawless. Coat with a spray on Poly or Wipe on Poly to protect your finish and your piece and it will last for ages. Adhere to all safety standards and guidelines, and be sure you follow safety protocol throughout your build. If you are unsure about whether you are building safely, run a quick online search for the tool or technique you are using, or contact me via email or post to the forum before you move ahead. My contact info can be found in the menu of my site.
// The height for this should leave no more than around 2 inches of space between the top of your mattress and the bottom of the upper rails. These dimensions are based on a 4 inch mattress so adjust accordingly. Your front unit rails should extend 1 1/2″ beyond the outside edge of your bed and you should leave a 16″ space in the center. If you are working with a different bed than this example, simply measure the entire length of your bed and add 3 inches. Then simply subtract 16 inches and divide by 2. This will give you the length of your longer upper rails for each of these units. Then subtract 2 1/2″ from that length to get the length of your bottom piece.
Cut your pieces to length and add pocket holes for 1 1/2″ material on one end of the vertical pieces and one end of the shorter bottom pieces. Secure all 3 pieces together for each of the front units. You will fasten together using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and you will secure the shorter bottom piece into the vertical piece, and the vertical piece into the upper piece. Then secure each unit to the bed posts using your countersink bit and 2 1/2″ wood screws. You can also use a nail gun for this if you prefer. Be sure to leave a 1 1/2″ overhang on either outside edge as shown in the diagram.
// Your side rails should extend from one edge to the other, of your head and foot board, without any overhang. The overhang will be on the other pieces and yes I just realized I am referring to the side rails for this bed rail unit in the place where the head and foot board will sit and the front and back of the unit are actually where the side rails of your bed will be. So this is confusing and hopefully it isn’t too hard to keep straight!
Secure your side rails to the bed using your countersink bit and 2 1/2″ wood screws. If you are able to seecure the rails so that you can also fasten the front units to the side rails, then wonderful, do so!
// The back rail will extend the entire length of your bed and will overhang by 1 1/2″ more on either end. If you are working with a different bed, measure the overall length and then add 3 inches to determine your length.
Secure the back rails to the bed using your countersink bit and 2 1/2″ wood screws and also fasten to the side rails if possible. The back rails will overhang by 1 1/2″ on either side and cover the ends of the side rail pieces.
Fill any Screw, Nail or Pocket Holes, Sand and Finish as Desired.
4 comments on “DIY Furniture Plans // How to Build a Toddler Bed Rail”
Thank you for these great plans! I was thinking of building the house bed with a rail, and then attaching short little rounded pickets to the rail to make it look like a fence around the bed. Would these rail plans be suitable to attach pickets to? Are there any modifications I would need to make to your plans, or would I just cut and attach the pickets at the very end? Thanks for your advice!