It was time for our year-and-a-half old daughter to get out of the crib and into a real bed. We have three children in one room, and even though it’s a fairly big room it would not fit three twin beds plus three dressers. So I thought a toddler sized bed would be the best option. Of course I couldn’t just take the easy route and buy one, I decided to make a DIY toddler daybed out of an antique 3/4 bed frame. A 3/4 bed is between a twin and a double in size, and fits a 48 inch mattress. I scoured kijiji and I found a gorgeous antique wood bed that I thought would be perfect. Here is how it looked before:

Antique 3/4 bed


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Build the daybed

The first thing I did was mark a center line in the foot board and got Tony to cut it in half with his table saw.

Antique 3/4 bed

Then I attached the cut ends of the foot board to the sides of the headboard, screwing it in from the back of the headboard. It’s best to drill a pilot hole before putting the screw in so the wood doesn’t split. I used four screws on each side so it was nice and sturdy.

Antique 3/4 bed made into a toddler daybed

Antique 3/4 bed made into a toddler daybed

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Then I cut one of the bed side rails down to fit along the front of the bed. The headboard is 52″ wide, so I cut the front rail to about 49″ to fit between the sides.

Antique bed furniture makeover

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Let’s take another look at this beautiful wood detail, because this is the last time you’re going to see it. Tony almost convinced me to leave the wood detail parts unpainted, but it was pretty much impossible to cut around all those corners.

Antique wood bed

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Prime the daybed

One of the perks of chalk paint is that you don’t have to prep or prime your piece. However, I have never regretted priming. I had filled in a few holes on the bed with drywall mud, and a few parts of the bed were a different color, so I lightly sanded everything and primed it.

Chalk paint toddler daybed

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Three coats of chalk paint

Then I lightly sanded the primed bed with 220 grit sandpaper. I used Rust-oleum Chalked paint in the color Linen White and it took me three coats to get complete coverage. I painted the first two coats using a roller, and sanded between each coat with 400 grit sandpaper. The last coat I used a brush because I felt like the coverage still wasn’t great, and a brush seems to leave a thicker coat of paint. I lightly sanded the bed with 400 sandpaper to get rid of the brush marks, and very lightly distressed the detail on the headboard.

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Apply the Topcoat

Then I finished it with two coats of the Rust-oleum matte topcoat. The can says it’s easier to apply than traditional furniture waxes, and I have to agree!  I used a brush to apply the topcoat, waited about four hours for it to dry, then applied a second coat.

Rust-oleum chalked paint

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Install bed rail and slats

I wanted the front rail to be removable so we could take the bed apart when we have to move it. I found these bed rail fasteners from Lee Valley in Ottawa that were the perfect size for this bed. They are 3-3/4″ long and there’s just enough room underneath the bracket for the bed rail to slide up and out.

Lee Valley bed rail hangers

On the headboard side of the bed I added a small piece of wood for the slats to rest on. I had some queen size bed slats in our basement that we weren’t using. I cut each slat into two pieces that were 25″ each, and there were just enough slats to fit the bottom of the bed.

Chalk paint DIY toddler daybed

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DIY toddler daybed with white chalk paint

The size of the daybed ended up being just slightly smaller than a crib mattress. The frame size is 49″ by 26″, whereas a crib mattress is 52″ by 27″. But I bought a foam mattress at Walmart and I was able to squish it to fit. And then I also sewed a crib mattress with some girly flannel fabric.

DIY toddler daybed made from an antique 3/4 bed

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DIY toddler daybed made from an antique 3/4 daybedChalk painted antique bed

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What do you think? Is it a shame to paint antique furniture? And to cut it apart and re-purpose it? I absolutely love it, this DIY toddler daybed is one of my favorite pieces so far!

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17 thoughts on “Chalk Painted DIY Toddler Daybed From An Antique 3/4 Bed”

  1. I love it! Just the look I want for my daughter’s room. Now just need to find a bed as nice as this.

        1. We cant save everything as an original antique. If the piece was unloved and unused and unwanted by the family then by all means use and repurpose. If it was a treasured piece in its original form then I’d have been sad. The remake is a great up-cycle and absolutely gorgeous. Im pretty sure that it will be a treasured piece for some time.

        2. I’m a lil jealous, it’s a beautiful daubed!! I’d like to find an antique bed with such detail and design. Your daughter is one lucky little girl!!

  2. you could make a “pillowcase” for the mattress out of a twin sheet and get two covers for the mattress …just slide in mattress ,fold over edge and stuff matress back in place, did this for my toddler and always had a clean sheet ….also make a wet proof sheet for accidents and put it on first , then fabric sheet

  3. Absolutely beautiful!
    FYI We discovered that the long side rails of cribs are the perfect size to use for the base of a toddler bed to support the mattress. If course the rails need to be strong to support jumping children. 😆

  4. Hi Jessica, you and your husband did a fantastic job on the toddler bed.I really do understand why you painted it .I have exactly the same headboard,i am unsure what I am going to do with it. I am thinking of a chalk board but will have to take some wood off it and use mostly the top for its beautiful design.I absolutely love this headboard but there is nothing else that came with it.I bought it at the second hand store just for the look of the fancy top.Your creation is just so beautiful and I am sure your little girl will some day appreciate the masterpiece made by mom and dad.Your toddler bed is the most beautiful unique bed I have ever seen and Cheers to you both for doing such a incredible job.CHEERS !!!!!!!!!!!

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