Camp Loft Bed with Stair, Junior Height – DIY Projects

Loft bed plans with stairs. Junior height loft bed plans free from


PLAN UPDATE: I have revised step 1 of this plan to increase the safety of the platform, so there is no more than a 3″ gap between the stair rungs. If you have built this bed, you can simply add another “rung” to the stair part to increase the safety at the platform area.

Before we get to a plan, I simply must warn you. 

Do not build this bed if you want any of the following to happen:

Your kids to play independently in their room for hours and hours and hours …  if you build this bed, you will see your kids 30-40% less …

Do NOT build this bed if you want your kids to take a nap, all by themselves … It’s like a protected nest up there, with rails on all sides, and easy access with stairs.  They just climb up there and go to sleep.  No snuggling required.

If you build this bed, you will miss out on lots of smiles and laughter and pretend play.  And when you come try to join in, they will start giggling and say, Mom!  Leave us alone, we’re playing horses!  Or store or house or pretending the stair platform is a stage.

The only reason I built this bed was because the room is so tiny (8×8 with small closet) it was very difficult for the kids to play, and then put their things away in a space the size of a short hallway.  We’d done a loft bed years ago, but the loft bed was only accessible by children, and there was no where for guests to sleep in our house.

So we needed a loft bed WITH STAIRS that is sturdy and easy to access in a TINY room.  With the window right there, I just didn’t know how to make it work.  And then one day, I realized that the stairs do NOT need to go all the way up to the bed.  They only need to go up about 18″ to 24″ (normal height of kids mattress above floor) below the mattress.  

The window was previously the obstacle in the way of building stairs.  Now it’s entertainment for the kids as they watch the chickens run around the back yard.

Under the bed, no storage is lost.  I’ve been debating adding some custom sized rolling toy bins but the giant canvas bag is doing fine holding pillows, blankets and stuffed animals.

It is no exaggeration to say they play in their ALL DAY.  I’m considering making a felt curtain for the front too …

The best part about this bed is how easy and inexpensive it is to make.  That’s all 2x4s and 2x6s (I’ll share my finishing technique with you later this week) bringing the total cost of lumber up to about $50!!!  

And I don’t know how easy this bed was to build personally, all I can say is I printed off the plans and handed them to the Ram and Grandpa Tim and said, I’ll be out after I finish my post.  Two hours later I headed out to the garage and the bed was DONE!  

14 – 2×4 @ 8 feet long
4 – 2×6 @ 8 feet long
2 – 2×2 @ 8 feet long
1 – 1×2 @ 8 feet long
2 ½” PH screws

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Dimensions shown above. Fits twin.

4 – 2×4 @ 65 ½”
2 – 2×6 @ 37 ½”
5 – 2×4 @ 37 ½”
4 – 2×4 @ 75”
2 – 2×6 @ 75”
2 – 2×2 @ 75”
2 – 2×4 @ 30 ½”
2 – 2×4 @ 37 ½”
1 – 2×4 @ 41 ½”
2 – 2×4 @ 20 ½”
12 – 2×4 @ 22”
2 – 2×6 @ 43” (both ends cut 45 degrees off square, ends NOT parallel) – to be trimmed down in later steps
6 – 1×2 @ 7 ¾” (both ends cut at 45 degrees off square
6 – 2×4 @ 20 ½”

Build the ladder end as shown in diagram with 1 1/2″ PHs and 2 1/2″ PH screws. Use glue to fasten – these joints are permanent.

If you are building this loft bed without the stair platform, add 2x4s all the way down to make a “ladder” for the kids to climb up.

Build front end of loft bed same as ladder end.

Now here’s where we skip the glue. To make this loft bed easy to disassemble, I did not use glue here. The inside width for the mattress area should be 39″, insetting the side rails 1 1/4″ from outsides. I did this so your PH screws have lots of board to grab into.

This bed has NOT been weight tested or guaranteed. If you feel you need extra support – add metal brackets under the 2x6s.

An alternative method is to attach metal bed brackets directly to the ends if you have those.

Notice the cleat is added in this step to. I used 2 1/2″ screws and glue to attach, screws every 6-8″ all the way down.

This bed is designed to work with a bunkie board, but we just used 2x6s cut to length as the bed slats.

Now we’ll start building the stair platform for the loft bed with stairs.

Build the floor framing section and attach to the floor legs. I recommend 1 1/2″ PHs and 2 1/2″ PH screws and glue here.

And then the decking is placed on top of the stair platform.

The stairs are easy to build – just 45 degree angles! We went ahead and drilled 1 1/2″ PHs along top edge of the stairs to connect the stairs to the bed later on.

Then we added the stair treads. We also drilled 1 1/2″ PHs along ends of the stair treads and attached with 2 1/2″ PH screws just for extra strength. Everything gets glued.

The bed was finished outside and then assembled in the room.

TIP: We haven’t found our bed needs it, but for extra support, you could add another 2×4 @ 75″ (at $2 a 2×4, cheap insurance) to the base of the bed to further support the bottoms.

Preparation Instructions: 

Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

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Is there enough clearance to put another twin bed coming straight out underneath this? Hope that makes sense.

Ana White replied on Permalink

Hi Candace, there would be room, but I’d suggest making the legs a tad longer for a little more headroom. This bed is really a junior loft bed height.

You could just leave the platform at the same height, or add another tread to the stairs.

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I really like this bed, just one question though, it doesnt seem clear to me, what does the mattress sit on, wood slats, plywood, or is this planned for a box spring mattress on the bottom?

Ana White replied on Permalink

Hi Andrew, what we did for the wood slats is cut 2x6s (had scraps, but you could also use 2x4s or even 1x material – just space closer together) to the inside dimension of the bed (for us it ended up being 39 1/2″) and screwing down. We have a firm mattress and found spacing every 6″ was fine, but every mattress is different so space your slats as necessary for your mattress.

They also sell what is called a bunkie board and also sell bunkie board mattresses – or mattresses with an included bunkie board.


I was thinking that was the idea, but wanted to make sure I wasnt missing something. Thank you !


This is a great plan. I was planning to do the one with stair storage, but with parallel rails instead of perpendicular ones. I should easily be able to wrap it up in a few hours with this plan. Also, have you thought about adding a shelf or two under the mid platform to add some storage space. I think I may add that and use some cloth boxes to make a small dresser/storage area.


I was going to the lumber yard to get the materials to make my daughter the fort bed TODAY, then I saw this was just posted. I love the sturdiness of the 2x4s and the overall look. I am nervous that with the stair landing it will be too long for the space. Do you think I could meld the two together and basically make this bed but build in the ladder in the same side fashion as the fort bed? Her room would be better suited to the side ladder verses just building up the ladder on the end, though that would be tremendously easier. I’ve never built anything like this before but your detailed plans definitely make me feel like I can tackle this job.

Ana this just might top the clubhouse bed, love how Grace can play underneath in her new ‘fort’ just like my kids do under the clubhouse bed. Who knew we were making another playspace AND a cool bed all in one. Love your design, you truly are a building genius.