DIY Twin Storage Bed (inspired by Ana White)

Ana White Twin Storage Bed Captains Bed by mamabeemakes

Ana White is my fave!  Her DIY plans are amazing, practical, easy to follow, empowering, and effective.  We wanted to build a twin storage bed for the “boy cave” aka the “reading nook” in our new basement playroom.  Ana has great plans for a double storage bed and she offers a tutorial for a twin storage bed, but I found myself having to toggle back and forth between the two pages to try and finalize a shopping list and cut list.  So, here’s a handy shopping and cut list guide.  I have ZERO skills in cad drawing or design programs, so you will still have to toggle back to her site for the plans, but here is a shopping list.  We spent $144 on everything (the only things we had on hand were glue, sandpaper, and stain).

We built this twin storage bed as a family project on a snow day (thank you Snowstorm Stella) with our boys alternately bickering, reading, and belting out the Bob the Builder theme song. Lest you think it’s all smooth sailing in our house, we also had three time-outs, one marital spat, one spilled mug of hot chocolate, one fingerpainted mug of hot chocolate, a kitty litter incident (picture a snowball fight but with dirty kitty litter!), multiple hand washings, lunch, a snack, and a movie in the time it took to get this done.


Special thanks to Jon in the lumber department at Lowes who did almost all of the cuts yesterday:-)  As someone who cannot make a straight cut to save her life and almost always has a boisterous 3 year old hanging off of one of my limbs, I am so grateful Lowes offers this service. Adrian’s entire Christmas wish list can be summed up in one item…table saw!  But, in the meantime, we have Lowes do most of the cuts and Adrian makes the final few at home with our circular saw.

This twin storage bed is a great beginner project, especially if you have Lowes make the cuts! A few tips:

  • the 2″ wood screws are for all the joining and the 1 1/2 wood screws are for the slats
  • attach the trim before ganging the units together (we didn’t and ended up with our unit being about an inch too wide b/c we forgot to account for the width of the trim–so we had to recut our slats wider and will run trim the whole length)
  • try really hard to make things square–our units are each pretty square but when we ganged them together we got a little off, so one end is 1 inch wider than the other  It’s not the end of the world but we had to recut the slats for that end to be wide enough
  • Make sure that the smoother side of your plywood faces into the box because that it what you will see from the outside
  •  When you screw in the cleats that hold the slats, just screw into each corner and each support.  If you screw in other places your 1 1/2 screws will be too long and come through the plywood.

It took about 45 minutes for Lowes to make most of my cuts, 15 minutes to finish the last few cuts at home, 3 hours to build (including all the interruptions listed above), and I will sand it over the next few days. We are going to leave the twin storage bed wood naked to match the other raw pine furniture we have in the playroom from IKEA (Trofast and Bekvam for the win) so just want to sand enough to make sure there are no splinters or pointy corners.

The only modifications we made to the twin storage bed were to do two dividers in each long side and to put a scrap of 1×3 on the bottom of each “bookcase” as a center support on the floor.  We made both of these changes to increase the sturdiness as we are not tiny people and our boys are not *ahem* always gentle in how they use furniture.  Both of these modifications are reflected in my shopping and cut list.  The pic below shows the extra center piece on the bottom (we flipped the unit upside down to take this picture).

Extra piece we added to bottom


Click the link below for a printable version:

Ana White Twin Storage Bed Shopping List from MamaBeeMakes

 Shopping List: 

3 – 1×12 Boards, 12′ Long

1 – 1×12 Boards, 6′ Long

1 – Sheet of 1/4″ Plywood

3 – 1×3 Boards, 8′ Long

5 – 1×2 Board, 8’ long
2″ Wood Screws
1 1/4″ Screws
1 1/4″ Brad Nails (optional if you have a nailer handy)
2″ Nails (optional if you have a nailer handy)
Wood Glue
Wood Filler

120 grit sandpaper

Primer/paint OR wood conditioner/stain

paint brush

4 bolts with screw-on washers or 2 ½” self-tapping screws (to gang the end unit to the sides)

 Cut List: 

6 – 1×12 @ 15″ (Cubby Sides)
5 – 1×12 @ 12 3/4″ (Cubby Dividers)
2 – 1×12 @ 39″ (End Cubby Top and Bottoms)
4 – 1×12 @ 62″ (Side Cubby Top and Bottoms)

2 – ¼” Plywood @ 15 x 63 1/2 (Side Cubby Backs)

1 – ¼” Plywood @ 15″ x 40 ½ ″ (End Cubby Back)

9 – 1×2 @ 12″ (Vertical Trim)
2 – 1×2 @ 40 1/2″ (End Top and Bottom Trim)
4 – 1×2 @ 63 1/2″ (Side Top and Bottom Trim)

2 – 1×3 @ 63 1/2″ (Cleats)
10 – 1×3 @ 15 1/2″ (Slats)


3-1×3 10 ½”

 Tips for cutting:

1 x 12

Use the first two 12’ 1×12 to cut 2-62” and 1-15” from each

From the third 12’ 1 x 12 cut 2-39” and 4-15”

From the 6’ 1×12 cut 5-12 ¾”


Use the first two 1×3 to cut 1-63 ½” and 2-15” from each

Use the third 1×3 to cut 6-15” and 3-10 ½”


Use the first four 1×2 to cut 1-63 ½” and 2-12” from each

Use the fifth 1×2 to cut 2-40 ½” and 1-12”


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