Building a canopy for your kids bunk bed is an easy task that can add a special personal touch to their bedroom. By letting your kids pick and choose the style and fabric for their bunk bed canopy, you can actually give them creative control of their own living space.
Step One – Measuring for Materials
You will want your canopy frame to mirror the mattress frame of the top bunk. Take your measurements on the outside of the bed frame and note them a piece of paper, drawing out the rectangular shape of the canopy frame. Decide how much clearance you want between the canopy top and the ceiling. Using the lock function on your metal tape measure, extend the tape until it reaches your desired height. When taking this measurement, don’t forget to add the length of the tape measure case (usually indicated along its bottom).
Step Two – Preparing the Frame
Use the 8 foot lengths of 1x4 to build the canopy frame. Measure the long lengths first, mark the proper length and use the square to draw a straight cut line. Remember to cut along the outside of your mark so you don't lose 1/8 of an inch to the saw blade. Do the same to cut your short lengths.
Lay your cut pieces on the floor as you want them to look when assembled. Using a drill bit slightly thinner than the screws you are using, pre-drill your holes to avoid splitting your boards when attaching them.
Find the center of the long boards and drill a ½ inch hole to half-depth for the support dowels. Use a piece of electrical tape on your drill bit as a depth guide. Drill another hole 1 inch from each end cross piece. Measure the half-way point between the center hole and each of the end holes, drilling half-depth holes at these measurements. Repeat this on both long boards, making sure to drill your holes at the same measurements. You should have 5 holes drilled to half-depth on each long board.
Step Three – Sewing the Fabric
Purchase a length of fabric that will give you 4 inches at either end of your canopy length (the inside measurement of your top bunk frame) Sew a hem down the long sides of your fabric. Fold ½ inch over on each end. Fold another 2 inches over to sew a loop at each end of your canopy.
Step Four – Assembling the Canopy
Begin by attaching the two short cross pieces to one of the long frame pieces with screws through the pre-drilled holes. Squeeze a pea-sized amount of wood glue into each of the half-depth holes. Insert a dowel into each hole. Wipe away any excess glue and allow it to dry. Slip the canopy fabric loops over the end dowels. Make sure the fabric goes over top of the three central dowels. Push the fabric to the bottom.
Put glue into the half-depth holes on the other long frame piece and insert dowels. Be careful that glue does not drip onto the fabric. Attach the long frame piece to the shorter cross pieces with screws through the pre-drilled holes. Wipe away excess glue and allow it to dry.
Step Five – Attaching the Canopy
Cut the 1x2 pieces to your desired length. You will want to attach the support pieces so the larger surface area is flush against the head and foot boards. Pre-drill holes in both the bed and canopy frames at each corner using a bit slightly smaller than the screws you are using to attach the support pieces. With the canopy upside-down, attach the support pieces to each corner. With help, lift the canopy into the top bunk bed frame, fitting the supports into each corner. Attach through the pre-drilled holes.