When a child is too big for a crib but still too small for a regular-sized bed, toddler beds are an ideal alternative. These beds are constructed low to the ground to prevent potentially dangerous falls or accidents. Building a toddler bed is inexpensive and requires only minimal woodworking skills. Once the bed is constructed, you can finish it with wood stain, varnish or paint to perfectly match your child's bedroom decor.
Measure and cut a 55 ½-inch-long piece and a 28-inch-long piece from each two-by-eight board using a table saw. Construct a rectangular box using these four pieces of wood, secured in place using 2 ½-inch deck screws. Sand the sides and top of the structure once complete.
Cut four 28-inch pieces from the two-by-fours to act as mattress supports, or slats. Fasten the slats across the middle of the bed frame using the deck screws. The slats should rest flush with the bottom of the bed frame and be situated one on each interior end of the frame and the remaining two set 18 inches from either end of the bed frame.
Measure the remaining two-by-four wood into a pair of 27 ¾-inch and 20 ½-inch lengths. These four pieces of wood will serve as the head and foot posts of the bed. Sand all four pieces. Attach the posts to the outer edges of the bed using both screws and finish nails to ensure a secure hold. To keep the bed at a safe height for toddlers, the bed frame should be attached 5 ¾ inches up from the bottom of the posts.
Cut the remaining two-by-fours into three pieces that will serve as the head and foot boards---two for the headboard and one for the footboard. Each piece should measure roughly 31 7/8 inches across. Secure the footboard 1 inch from the top of the leg posts using finish nails. Nail the first headboard piece 2 ¼ inches from the top of the head posts and the second 8 ½ inches down.
Create a mattress support to place on top of the slats using the ½-inch plywood. This support be a single sheet or several panels depending on the size of the plywood boards being used. Once the plywood has been cut to size, secure it in place using screws.
Decide how the bed will be finished. Depending on preference, the bed can be given a natural stain or varnished to give the appearance of another wood type. It can also be primed and painted with enamel, acrylic or any durable paint type.