American Girl “Stack-able” Bunk Bed Project

My six-year-old daughter got a pair of American Girl dolls for Christmas, and they needed somewhere to sleep.

So, after a little internet research I agreed to make them bunk beds, and my wife agreed to make the mattresses, pillows and quilts for the beds (I think that I got the easier job).   The photos below are the result, minus the quilts which are still in production.

I decided to make the beds out of red oak since it was easily available in the thin sizes that I needed.  They are finished with dark walnut Watco Danish Oil.

I also decided to make the beds “stack-able” so that they could be used as two twin beds, or stacked to form a bunk bed.  The stack-able bunk bed design will also allow for additional beds to be added to the top if another American Girl doll were to ever need a bed.  Note that each of the corner posts on the beds has a small square block (or tab) on top of the post that fits into a recess in the bottom of each bedpost that attaches above it, Lego-like.

I didn’t use any formal dimension or drawings for these, I just scaled them from the dolls and started cutting wood.

Below are the beds separated into their two “twin bed” format:

My wife made the mattresses and pillows from the scraps of one of my old oxford-style dress shirts that had become ink stained.   She is working on the quilts now, and will post them when they are complete.

In the photo below you can see that next to the beds is a “riser” level that goes between the beds when stacked to allow for more headroom for the bottom doll.

Below is a closer photo of the “riser” level:

All of the side rails and headboard and foot board joints are attached with mortise and tenon joints for strength.

The photo below shows the bottom bed with the riser level installed:

and finally, photos of the two beds and the riser level snapped together into bunk bed formation.

You can see the stack-able Lego-like connectors better in the photo below:

So far ” my client” (my daughter) seems to like the new beds and so do her American Girl dolls, Emily and Molly!

About mattsanf

Matt Sanfilippo is the Chief Partnership Officer (CPO) for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Co-Director of its Engineering Research Accelerator. In this role, Matt coordinates and enables strategic and sponsored research opportunities across the college, and stewards the development of proposals for major research opportunities along strategic themes. Additionally, he enables collaboration among the college's research institute/center executive directors, and industrial and government relations personnel in the pursuit of opportunities with industry, federal and state governments. Before becoming CPO for the College, Matt was the Senior Executive Director for Research Initiatives, the Executive Director of CMU's SII (Smart Infrastructure Institute) and ICES (Institute for Complex Engineered Systems), and Associate Director of PITA (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance) and RAMP (Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania). Before CMU, Matt was Managing Director of Applied Technology for Michael Baker Corporation, an engineering and energy services firm. Matt managed Baker's technology division including Geographic Information System (GIS), software and web development, multimedia, virtual reality, visualization, Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping and surveying services. Before joining Baker, Matt was an Innovation Director for Redleaf Group, a Venture Capital/Operating Company focused on information security, supply chain and mobility solutions. While at Redleaf, Matt managed technical due diligence for seed-stage investments and coordinated relationships between Redleaf and their partner companies. Prior to Redleaf, Matt was CIO of GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies, an infrastructure engineering firm, and operations manager for their Internet start-up that focused on web-technologies for health and safety and manufacturing metrics. Matt is on the board of Larson Design Group (LDG), past Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, current board member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), current Vice President of the Sewickley Heights Gun Club (SHGC) and former member of the Information Sciences and Technology Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania State University Beaver. Matt is also former Vice President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Internet Professionals and former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Baker Combined Charity of Pennsylvania.

Posted on January 11, 2010, in Woodworking. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Beautiful job on the doll bunk beds.
    I love the Lego like connectors idea. These American Girl dolls are as lifelike as
    they get.

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