Toddler Bed Rail

Before we even thought of having another baby, Pottery Barn Kids was having a crazy furniture sale and I scooped up Declan’s “big boy” twin bed for half the normal cost plus free shipping. While I felt pretty heroic for scoring such a deal, upon assembly I realized I was missing one key thing – a bed rail. I went back to Pottery Barn Kids’ website and they wanted $120 for a single bed rail. That seemed a little excessive considering the whole bed came to slightly more than that, so much like everything else in our house we decided to make the bed rail ourselves.

This project started off a little rough since the hubs and I had differing opinions on how best to build this. I wanted everything flush and to use a pocket hole jig to attach the bars to the sides. My husband wanted to just screw the bars into the sides and call it a day. Ultimately he conceded and agreed that everything should be flush – happy wife, happy life – but he refused to use the pocket jig and opted instead to use a biscuit joiner. And so we finally had an agreed upon plan and were ready to begin.

On a 1 to 5 scale of difficulty, with 5 being the most difficult, this project is a 2.

Dimensions:  54 1/4″ L x 24″ H          l          Cost to make: $30

Supplies needed:

  • 1x3x6 boards (qty:4)
  • L brackets (qty: 2)
  • Either a pocket hole jig or biscuit joiner
  • Wood glue
  • Palm sander
  • Rope – I used this from Home Depot
  • Paint – I used Benjamin Moore Oxford Gray

To start we cut the 1x3x6 boards into three 49 1/2″ pieces – these are your middle bars and two 24″ pieces – these are your sides. {We designed the bed rail to sit on the inside lip of the bed frame, so that’s what our dimensions are based on}.

Since the hubs was adamant about using the biscuit joiner, we next measured where the middle bars would sit so we’d know where to cut the biscuits in on the sides. For the bottom bar, we measured up 11″ from the bottom to make sure we would clear the entire mattress. For the middle bar, we spaced 2 1/2″ up from the top of the bottom bar and then repeated this step for the top bar. {I thought it looked more decorative to have the top bar placed 1/2″ down}.


Using the biscuit joiner, we cut into the ends of the three bars and into the inside ends of the side bars. Then we added a little wood glue, a biscuit and joined the middle bars to the sides. Wanting to make sure this was extra secure to hold up to a toddler boy, we tacked a finishing nail diagonally into both the top  and bottom of each bar so it would pierce the bars and go into the sides.

Once the glue was dry we sanded the whole bed rail using a palm sander. Then we wiped it down using a damp cloth and painted on two coats of paint. Thank god for Benjamin Moore having a near perfect match to Pottery Barn’s gray! Finally we screwed in the two “L” brackets so that they would face out of the back of the frame.

Now a normal person would be finished at this point, but I of course had to make things more decorative with a rope border, because you know rope bridges are a natural addition to a dinosaur themed room. To create the look I anchored the rope to one end by looping it around the side twice and knotting.  Then working from left to right I looped the rope around the bottom bar and twisted it up to the top bar, repeating until I reached the end. {You want to keep the rope moving right, so when you wrap around or make a loop you always want the rope to be heading to the right to make the next loop}.

We got there in the end, but I’ll leave it to you to decide which is an easier method to assemble this one. Follow me on Instagram @_alittlediy for upcoming projects!


{update May 29, 2017}

After rearranging Declan’s room we realized we needed a second bed rail. Having the bed against the window created a gap between the bed and wall that we knew he’d find a way of ending up in each night. Toddler’s somehow have a way of getting into everything they aren’t supposed to even when sleeping. This time around we decided to go much smaller since experience taught us that we needed a bigger opening to get on and off his bed each night after story time. Knowing Declan tended to stay in the upper half of the bed all night, we went with a length of 3 feet for the second rail. Experience also taught my husband that a biscuit joiner was overkill for this project so we went back to our old IKEA dowel method and had this rail finished in no time.




2 thoughts on “Toddler Bed Rail

  1. Pingback: 2016 Roundup – { a little diy }

  2. Pingback: 7 DIY Bed Rails for Toddler - Cool DIYs

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