Rehabbing a toddler bed

This week, Jill Washburn, our Jill of All Trades, shows us how she rescued a toddler bed from the side of the road and rebuilt it better than before.

After giving the pieces of the bed a solid rinsing off, Jill set about the rebuilding process.  The first thing that she did was take a 3/4" x 3/4" piece of wood and use it as a cleat along the side rails.  She lined it up at the point that the slats would rest on the side rails.  This will give the slats (or other mattress support) an extra surface to rest on.  

Besides the glue, Jill also screwed the boards into place, pre-drilling the holes first.  That will make sure that the cleats are solidly installed.  Jill recommends cleaning off any glue that might get squeezed out of the edges once the screws get tightened.  While it is possible to clean it up after it dries, it’s a whole lot easier to clean it while it’s still wet, when a swipe with a damp rag will wipe it away.

After installing the cleats on the side rails, Jill installed cleats on the headboard and footboard in the same fashion.  Jill made sure to measure and calculate their placement so that they would line up at the same level as the ones on the side rails.  

With the cleats in place, it was time to start assembling the bed.  This bed had specific hardware that held it together and most of it was missing.  Jill feared that it would be difficult to find replacements.  She brought what she had (including the side rails and the footboard) to her local lumber yard and they easily found suitable replacement parts in their hardware section.  It was all in the hardware section labeled "Furniture Parts".  

This is the type of situation where you may be better off going to your local hardware store or lumber yard vs. one of the big box building stores.  Don’t hesitate to bring in the parts that you are trying to assemble or the parts of the hardware that you’re trying to match.  And, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help, says Jill.  The salesperson that helped Jill led her right to the parts that she needed, saving her from having to search through the overwhelming amount of options.

With the proper parts in hand, the side rails attached easily to the headboard.  They fit together well and the hardware kept them firmly attached.  Before Jill attached the footboard, she needed to install the mattress support.  This bed looks to have had bed slats originally, but Jill decided to use a solid sheet of 1/2" plywood to support the mattress instead.  She felt it would provide better support than just slats and that it would help the bed hold its shape better.

Jill slid the plywood along the side rails until it was resting on the cleats on the headboard, footboard, and both side rails.  With the plywood in place, she easily attached the footboard to the bed.

That is Part One of rebuilding the toddler bed.  Next time on Jill of All Trades, Jill will show how she reinforced the bed even further, patched the holes, and painted it to look like new.  In the meantime, you can watch Jill take you through the process, so far, by clicking on the video player above.