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:
Supplies (some affiliate links included)
- Rust-oleum chalked Linen White
- Rust-oleum matte clear topcoat
- Paint brush
- Paint roller
- Bed rail brackets
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.
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.
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.
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.
Paint 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!