Montessori floor beds are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. They are more practical than a traditional crib, foster children’s independence, and create a relaxing space to sleep and play. There is one major problem with a Montessori bed, though.
So how do you build a Montessori bed with rails? Montessori beds are unique in that they are made with a series of wooden side rails that can be moved up and down as a child grows. The rails are a safety feature, keeping the child from falling out of bed, and the rails also allow for easy access by caregivers and medical professionals.
Here are the steps to building a Montessori bed with rails;
- Table saw (optional)
- Miter saw
- Kreg jig
- Power drill
- Countersink bit
- Orbital sander
- Pocket hole screws
- Screws Wood glue
- Orbital sander discs (80, 150, 220 grit
- Select pine
- A plywood sheet for the slats
Preparing the Wood
Go to the hardware store and buy the wood you need. Doing this with at least one other person is better because it helps to have someone holding the board while you cut it.
The size of the bed will depend on your child’s age, but a crib mattress fits perfectly when placed directly on top of ⅛” plywood that is 48 x 72″.
If your child is older or taller, then get two sheets of ⅛” plywood and place them together for extra safety.
Cut off all sides so that they are entirely flat before moving on to cutting them into pieces at home (or if already done in-store).
Use a circular saw or table saw set at ⅛” less than needed length and cut each side off separately.
Step 1. Cut and Prepare the Wood
Remove any stickers or tape from the wood, if any, and sand down all the sides of each piece of wood. Spray paint or stain your pine pieces to a color you like.
You can also leave them natural looking if you want to save money on spray paint or stain.
Step 2. Assemble the Sides
First, attach the side rails to the side panels to assemble the sides using screws. Make sure that the rails are flush with the panels, and use a level to ensure they’re straight.
Use a drill to make pilot holes before screwing them in place.
Use screws at this point instead of nails because they’re stronger than nails and won’t fall out as easily when you add slats for support later.
The easiest way to do this is by using clamps (if available), but if not, just use some tape around each side piece where it meets another side piece so that it stays together while you work on the next step below.
Step 3. Assemble the back side
The next step is to attach the slats to the backside of your bed. The slats are made of hardwood and should be cut so that they’re the same length as the side pieces, with a few inches extra on both ends (about 3/4″) to allow room for assembly error.
Lay out all of your pieces on a flat surface so you can see them clearly in front of you. This will help keep things straight when assembling them later on.
Please pay attention to how many slats there are per side, be sure they are evenly spaced apart and also make sure they have enough room between each other so that nothing gets snagged when it swings around while being used by your child.
After you have everything laid out properly, start attaching them using screws about 1″ long at each junction point where two sides meet together at right angles.
Step 4. Assemble the Front Side
As we did here, you can use two screws per joint or space out your screws for additional stability.
Use eight 3/4″ wood-glued dowels to give additional support to your joint between rails and sides (so that they wouldn’t warp as much),
Step 5. Attach All the Sides Together
Use a drill to attach the side rails to the sides. Now that you have finished making all your pieces, it is time to put them together.
Attach the rail to the short side with slats in between. Cut two long rails into four pieces, each using a circular saw or table saw, depending on what tools are available at home.
These will be used as legs, so ensure they’re long enough before cutting them down too far.
Step 6. Add Slats Support and Slats
Cut each of the slats to the correct length. Attach one end of each slat to the top rail (the side without any holes). This is a good place for your child’s head to rest, so you want it nice and sturdy.
Attach the opposite end of each slat to both sides of their corresponding support piece, one on either side above or below where they meet in the middle, depending on how many supports you’re using.
The last thing left to do is attach all these pieces with screws going through each screw hole into either another piece or another spot on itself.
It’s essential to have the correct depth and rail height before you build anything. After that, the actual building of your bed is a relatively quick process.
The screws and nails you’ll use to put the frame together can be found at any hardware store, and the only other thing you’ll need is wood glue for the final steps in bed construction.
What age is appropriate for a Montessori bed? It is recommended that the child is at least 18 months old before starting the Montessori bed. However, there is no specific age stipulated for Montessori beds.
Why do Montessori beds have a house shape? This is to allow the child to get out of the bed without being confined or falling down.