DIY Co-Sleeping Baby Bed (Baby boy's new bed!)

DIY Co-Sleeper

My fifth child is getting evicted in about six weeks. We’ve always kept our babies close at night during the first six months or so.  I can’t decide if the reason is because I’m paranoid about SIDS and babies stopping breathing in the middle of the night (I read that mom’s heart beat etc. can jumpstart a baby who is having a hard time breathing or if his heart starts to act up) or just maybe I’m too lazy to get up every couple hours for six months.

Either reason is valid as far as I’m concerned.  During the first six months or so baby’s crib gets shoved up against our bed so that when I hear him start to fuss in the middle of the night, I reach over and pluck him out of his crib (or plastic box in my second child’s case) and plug him in to eat.  If I’m awake when he is done I just reach over and put him back.

He’ll get kicked out of our room about the time he starts to keep me up for reasons other than to eat (like kicking me or wanting to play).  That usually happens around six months.  Perfect time for sleep training.

This was the first time I didn’t have an extra crib lying around for the new baby to use.  My nesting instinct kicked into high gear and I decided to build a co-sleeping bed!

I saw one floating around somewhere on the inter webs and thought it was brilliant.  The price tag of $300 made me rethink it’s brilliance, but having just finished my table I wasn’t about to let that something as silly as price stop me.

I fired up google sketch-up (something my husband and I liked to use to dream up ridiculous house plans) and got to work.

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The next day I went into the garage scrounging for scraps of wood.

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I found just what I needed with plywood scraps!

I marked my measurements and cut the wood with Grandpa’s old table saw (they were too wide for my miter saw and my circular saw died while I was building my table).

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Once I had my boards cut I took them upstairs (where my drill was) to the deck to assemble them.  In case you were wondering, yes it is easier to take large pieces of wood, a palm sander, eye and ear protection, my Kreg Jig and all of my screws and bits UPSTAIRS than it would be to take my drill downstairs.  Don’t ask me why, it just is ;)

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I drilled my pocket holes and put the sides on first (by the way, please read the directions for your Kreg Jig for adjusting to your wood and screw length and remember them so that you don’t accidentally drill a hole into your jig… not that I did that… or… um… anyway…)

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Then Jack discovered what I was doing.  This boy loves his toys and flat surfaces to play with them on.  He was delighted when he discovered this newly constructed “flat surface”.

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Once I pried Jack away (aka turned on Phineus and Ferb) I was able to put the back on.

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This is about the time when Matt suggested that I round off the corners.  I used my new fancy shmancy jig saw to start it.  As you can see, I was very technical and precise while tracing where to cut.

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I filled all of the holes with Elmer’s Wood Filler Max and sanded all of the edges and rounded everything off with my palm sander.

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“Look, Mom!  Perfect fit!”

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I already had some table legs hanging out just waiting to be put to good use.  I also found a six foot piece of scrap plywood that I was able to cut in half for the slides that would go under the mattress (which was great because I didn’t want to use my pretty wood for that).

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I put the slides on…

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and took it up to my bedroom to fit on my bed in order measure how long the legs would have to be (pay no attention to the mess on the nightstand… or the unmade bed… or the trash on the floor).

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Then I cut the legs down to size with my miter saw.

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I drew circles (ish) around where I wanted the legs to be and used my countersink bit to drill some holes.  Then instead of measuring everything really precisely only to have it turn out wrong, I drilled a hole in the center where I drew my circle (ish) thing.

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And in the center (ish) of the leg.

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I stuck a wooden skewer that I fished out of my kitchen drawer into the leg hole then stuck it through the hole in the center of my circle (ish) drawing.

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With the leg held in the correct place by the skewer I was able to drive the screws in without fear that I would miss the leg.  I broke off the wooden skewer and then did the other one with the same skewer.

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Here she is!  Ready for a couple coats of paint and a foam mattress!

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I painted the co-sleeping using my HVLP Spray Gun.

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After it was dry I changed my mind on the color and painted again (pay no attention to the mess on the kitchen floor… my recycling bin threw up.)

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I ordered a thick piece of foam online and cut it down to size using my laser vision (technically my husband cut it down to size using the knife on his Leatherman.)

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***Edit***After several weeks of use I can testify that the co-sleeping bed works great!  The only downside is that if you happen to have a baby who prefers to snuggle up in his mommy’s neck, you might not get much use out of it as you would like :)

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When you have finished yours, I hope you let me know! I’d love to see it :)  Find the detailed plans here.

70 Comments Add yours

  1. Mom says:

    I saw that on Pinterest and thought what a great idea. You did a great job.

    Like

    1. Nate says:

      Great write up. I followed yours to the T and its turning out wonderfully. Final paint tomorrow. I also like the idea of turning the bassinet into a bench later as I read by another comment.

      Like

  2. Lyndsey says:

    You need to make me one for the next go-round! I love it!

    Like

  3. Amy says:

    You’re amazing! Love it!

    Like

    1. Courtney says:

      Thanks, Amy! Not amazing, just a cheapskate ;)

      Like

  4. Trista Bytheway says:

    Looks great! But I can’t decide if you’re nuts or just a better mom than I am. I don’t spend one night sleeping in the same room with my babies, except for in the hospital. Mine is coming in nine weeks, and she will be wheeled back and forth from my room to the family room depending on evenings/naptime. You are much more selfless than I am!

    Like

    1. Courtney says:

      Definitely NOT a better mom! I’m WAY too lazy to get up and fetch a baby in the middle of the night. This way I only have to wake up long enough to reach over and pluck him out of his bed, plug him in and I go right back to sleep :)

      Like

      1. Heather says:

        Hear, hear! All that getting up would be WAY too much work! All that having to wake up would be WAY too much work–for me and for the current baby. I’m going to keep this–we just use a king-size bed and co-sleep, but sometimes someplace just OFF the main bed for the baby would be nice for “other” reasons. I’ve thought about making a king-sized captain’s bed frame, with the drawer on my side of the bed set up to be a pull-out co-sleeper, too. I might make it slightly longer, as we usually put the kiddos in their own beds when they’re 2 and going through the phase of “big kid” stuff being really, really cool–the same phase that will boost potty training, if you work it right.

        Like

  5. Dana says:

    Wow!! Courtney you rock! :)

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    1. Courtney says:

      Thanks Dana :) It’s always nice hearing that I rock.

      Like

  6. Courtney says:

    Way to go. I love your resourcefulness.

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    1. Courtney says:

      LOL, you call me resourceful… Matt calls me “dangerously self-confident” :)

      Like

  7. Such a great idea for the co-sleepers! It came out so great. :)

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    1. Courtney says:

      Thank you :)

      Like

  8. cassie says:

    what a great idea! :) much better than the store bought version!

    Like

  9. Chrissy says:

    I love this idea! I’m all about co-sleeping, but never used a co-sleeper before, and I feel like this go-round, number 3 for me, that I might actually need one since I seem to be sleeping through my husband’s alarm clock… unheard of!

    I like that this can be transformed into something else later, like a bench!

    What are you using for the padding?

    Like

    1. Courtney says:

      I’m a big co-sleeper as well. My husband is not (he’s terrified of rolling over on the baby). This is a good compromise for us. I don’t have to do the rocking chair in the middle of the night thing, and he never has to have the baby in between us.

      I ordered some high density foam from fabricempire.com (in the pictures it’s just pillows and blankets cleverly disguised). When it gets here I’ll cut it to size and make a waterproof cover for it.

      It “should” fit with this mattress ok, but might be a tiny bit off

      http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Doll-Cradle-Mattresses-15×33/dp/B000IG6I3Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1349809101&sr=1-2&keywords=bassinet+mattress

      Like

      1. Heather says:

        Search around on ebay. There’s a guy there who does custom-sized small futon mattresses. I got one for an antique bassinet for my first baby. I think I paid about $30.

        Like

  10. Heather B says:

    Looks great! Love the color!

    Like

  11. Awesome idea. I searched and searched for a cosleeper when our daughter was born and couldn’t find any that would ship to Canada. Pinning this one for when the next kiddo comes.

    Like

    1. Courtney says:

      Good luck! It was really very easy to build (and you can make it custom for your bed, color preferences, etc.)

      Like

  12. It came out beautifully! Very clever.
    Hello, new follower here! I would love to have you link up with my Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/10/upcycled-chicken-coop-clever-chicks.html

    I hope to see you there!
    Cheers!
    Kathy
    The Chicken Chick

    Like

    1. Courtney says:

      Thank you!

      Like

  13. That is clever. I had a hand-me-down, but your carpentry skills inspire me. I want to learn badly. My DH has all the tools, b/c he’s a tradesman…

    We were co-sleepers when my kids were babies. It is a sanity saver… :) I’m hoping for #3…so pinning this to remember…

    Like

    1. Courtney says:

      Gathering the tools necessary is going to be the hardest part. If your husband has them all then you are GOLDEN! (Ok, it might also be hard to get him to let you do it all by yourself ;)

      I highly suggest Ana-White.com for inspiration, plans and tips on how to get started. She just came out with a new book that is great.

      Like

  14. Oh my gosh! I am due in March and seriously considering building one!!!! This is amazing!!!!

    NIce work! Saw you at Frugal girls link up! I’d love if you’d stop by my blog and say hi! I’m a new follower!

    XOXO, Mallory @ Classy Clutter

    Like

    1. Courtney says:

      Thanks Mallory! Do it! I’m working on the plans right now. Hopefully I can post them next week. You have PLENTY of time to get it done :)

      Like

  15. Mark says:

    Really great idea. My son and his girl are expecting in March. Being a wood worker. I will make one of these out of either Walnut or Oak.
    One thing I would do and make it easier would be instead of using the skewer.
    On the bottom, Trace around the leg,
    Drill your 3 screw holes with a pilot bit inside the circle,
    From the inside counter sink for your screws,
    No more worries about missing the leg..

    Like

    1. Courtney says:

      I bet walnut would just be beautiful! Thanks for the tips :)

      Like

  16. Katie B says:

    I can’t believe you made this! I saw one like this (without legs–but i like that it has the extra stability of legs) eons ago online and thought it was genius. We usually use a bassinet but it’s bulky and i don’t love it. I think it’s awesome that you figured it out and made one!

    Like

    1. Courtney says:

      Thanks Katie!

      Like

  17. kendra says:

    So cool! Will you make me one :) LOL

    Like

  18. C.K. says:

    I Love It………..but it’s 15 years too late for me and I would of love to of had one!!!!

    Like

  19. Meredith says:

    Can you feel the supports under the mattress?

    Like

    1. No, I can’t feel the supports. I used 3/4 inch plywood.

      Like

  20. Charlie says:

    Just saw this on Knock-off Decor and couldn’t believe it! I just had a baby in November, and I was going to build the EXACT same thing from that same picture you used as your inspiration. How funny! One of my friends ended up giving me her cradle instead, but I had plans all drawn out and everything. :) Great minds think alike. Looks like yours turned out great!

    Aloha,
    Charlie

    Like

    1. Thanks Charlie! I knew I wouldn’t be the only one :)

      Like

  21. Laura says:

    My husband just built ours based on your plans! Thought you might get a kick out of it. Thanks! http://larva225.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/little-bed-riding-hood/

    Like

  22. Karissa says:

    I stole your idea!! But I linked to your blog on mine, so I hope it’s all okay :)
    http://eelassirak.blogspot.com/2013/02/baby-sidecar-co-sleeper-bed.html

    Like

  23. Bailey Vazquez says:

    I’m loving this! We cosleep with our toddler (just turned 2), and have since the day she was born. I love it, but at the same time our bed isn’t big enough for the three of us and #4 on the way home. I really want a co-sleeper, but not to pay the crazy prices for them (my favorite is $230!). Looking for something to convince my Dad (it’s his shop, and he has built a few things before) and husband that it’s a fantastic idea to just built one instead. I think this is exactly what I needed to get to do just that! Thank you thank you thank you so much!

    Like

  24. laurie trexler says:

    Very cool. A classic book on why families should sleep together: The Family Bed: An Age Old Concept in Child Rearing by Tine Thevenin (1988)’ available on Amazon. We did this with our children in the ’70s…my ‘baby’ is now 37; no regrets!

    Like

  25. Mandy says:

    I’m so glad I found this! We’re expecting our first in February and I’m not liking the prices for store bought cosleepers (something we’ll use for all of 6 months). I also like the idea of being able to turn it into a little bench later. Question from a new mom: does having the mattress higher than the sleeper cause concern for breathing? I ask because I know bumpers are of concern for newborns, and the side of my mattress is certainly less breathable than a crib bumper. Would it be possible to have the baby level with my mattress, or is it silly to even be concerned?

    Like

    1. Hey Mandy, thanks for commenting :) For a baby who can’t roll over it’s not an issue. I always swaddled Henry and then laid him half on his side with his back to the mattress. He couldn’t roll over on to his belly because he was mostly on his back, but he also couldn’t turn his face in to the mattress either. If you are worried you can put a thicker mattress and make it level, just make sure you raise the sides up to accommodate. The sides of my co-sleeper are about six to eight inches above his mattress and only three inches above mine. Once they can roll over and get on their hands and knees they are too old for the co-sleeper (which happened around 6 months old for us.) I still have it attached to my bed just to give me an extra foot of bed space when he is nursing in the middle of night, but he doesn’t sleep in it anymore. It’s just for my own peace of mind. Hope that helps :)

      Like

  26. Anna Gardner says:

    I am currently 6 months alone with. baby 3. I’m a big co sleeper my hubby not so much he always ends up sleeping someplace other then our bed to leave it to me and the baby. I really wanted one of these with baby 2 but I didn’t have the resources to make one and defiantly not the $ to buy. I justify finished mine it still needs to be painted but I just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration I am so excited!

    Like

    1. Awesome Anna! I’d love a picture when you are finished :)

      Like

  27. Sandra says:

    Wonderful!
    I’m on bed rest so the only trick is getting my husband to make it before baby comes…
    We also Co sleep until about 6 mos. Can’t imagine getting out of bed to feed a baby! Lazy Mama? Good Mama? Whatever works!
    Last time we used a baby hammock that was handed down to me that I gave away when baby was 9 months. Found out 2 weeks later we were having another one! :/
    I was planning to use a playpen that has a bassinet accessory across the top (another hand me down) time around but your Co sleeper look easy to make.

    PS we LOVE google sketch up to design furniture, possible room changes and even the additions we’re planning in our backyard.

    Like

  28. like this a lot ! But after you are done using this you could always add two more legs and turn it into a little desk for your little ones to use . Just a Idea —- Ron—-

    Like

    1. That is a great idea! I was thinking of using it as a bench, but I like the desk idea better :)

      Like

  29. Rebecca says:

    This is such a great idea! My husband and I have been discussing the merits of co-sleeping for a while and, unfortunately, we only just came to the decision to do so. Neither of us are very crafty and we can’t really afford to buy a bassinet or co-sleeper. We do, however, have plastic bins lying around and I was honestly thinking of getting some foam and other things to use as a co-sleeper/bassinet. Our mattress already lies on the floor so I’m not too worried about stability or anything since it should pretty much be level with the side of the bed. Do you think this would be possible? My main concern is that, by using a plastic bin, there won’t be enough air around him if I leave him a little recessed in the bin.

    What would you advise?

    Like

    1. Hey Rebecca,

      You know I used a plastic bin for two of my kids :) It was all we could afford at the time and it worked great. Just make sure it’s nice and wide and place them in the middle. Once they can roll over you might want to move them to a crib, but that would be the case no matter what you used. Just don’t put the cover on the bin! ;)

      Like

  30. allison says:

    How much would you say this project cost?

    Like

    1. I was able to make it from scraps in my garage, I would say it could be done for less than fifty if you had to buy all of the materials (and you would have a lot of plywood left over) but that is assuming you have all of the tools already.

      Like

  31. Marianne Firth says:

    This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for! Thank you! I wanted to make one for my last baby, but never got it done. Due in a few weeks with #3 and am determined to get it done. I’ve been sketching this out, but knew it’d be a thousand times easier if I had someone else’s plans. Thank you so so much!

    Like

  32. Bridget henry says:

    Having husband make our daughter one who is expecting twins. Going to make it deeper and a divider down the middle. Also want to add batting and fabric that will glue to the sides. Also thinking about adding a shelf on the side for wraps a diapers.

    Like

    1. That all sounds awesome! Send me a pic when you are finished :)

      Like

  33. Jude says:

    Hi Courtney,

    Has 3’x1’3″ been a good size? Would you change it in any way?

    Like

    1. It’s been a great size! I could even stand to go less than 3 feet long.

      Like

  34. Mzzlady says:

    I have a puppy who just wants to snuggle when I
    am resting, yet I don’t want her in my bed…..
    This would be perfect….. Smokie will get to
    be about 70 lbs and I just don’t want to share
    my bed w/that much dog… Lol

    Like

  35. Trig says:

    Courtney, do you absolutely need the legs? If the boards under the mattress are long enough, won’t that keep it safely in postition? I want to make this as a gift, but don’t know the height of the bed.

    Like

    1. If I were to make it without legs, I would make the bottom part extend all the way under the bed rather than having boards attached on after the fact. I would also make it long enough to extend to the other side of the bed. That’s probably overkill, but I’m paranoid like that :)

      Like

  36. Trig says:

    Thanks Courtney,
    I am designing the bed for my 6 newborn grand nieces and grand nephews, all born in the last 3 months. My one sister had 4 from her four kids and my other sister is having two from her two kids. I am making them so they an hid away under the dresser. I don’t see the need for the back panel to be any higher than 8″.

    My nephew is building them. When I get the drawing done (thats what I do) I will send you a pdf of the design.

    Here is what I told Chip…
    Chip, use this hinge so the back can fold 270° back and under the bottom. Then, let the sides fold flat against the top of the bottom.
    Don’t put legs on, just make sure the “REMOVABLE” plates are long enough to reach far under the mattress. They can be stored under the mattress, and slide into ‘recepticles’ on the bottom. These recepticles must be at the front edge and not interfere with where the back folds under. The back doesn’t have to be more than 8″ high and the bottom will be 15 inches wide. Here is the link to the hinge:
    http://www.amazon.com/Statuary-Bronze…/dp/B001DT2YQ0
    If you need a drawing, I can make one up for you. But, you will have to mass produce them. I will get orders from Aunt Pat and you get them form your mom. I think $50 each would be a fair price.

    Great idea, Courtney. Did you come up with it?

    Happy Thanksgiving, and may God continue to bless you and your family.

    Like

  37. Amber says:

    my husband made a similar bed without the legs that I used with two babies. I absolutely loved it. One of my favorite times with my babies was sleeping next to them.

    Like

  38. I really like your idea of attaching the bed side with the pieces that slide under the mattress. I just published plans for a similar cosleeper on instructables, but I think I like your design better than mine! I’ll add a link to yours at the end. (http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Sidecar-Cosleeper-in-2-hours-with-standard-/)

    Like

  39. val says:

    hello,
    i make your co-sleeper this summer,
    since the 13 october “Louise” sleep in ;
    i’am leaving in France ; (for my english… LOL !!)
    thank for the explanations
    Happy new year !!

    Like

  40. Bridgette says:

    You’re Awesome! Way to go!

    Like

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