For my daughter’s 3rd birthday, I made her a VW bus bed, sort of modeled after a Type 2. It came about (mostly) because she was in need of a post-crib solution, and I got this pile of stuff on Craigslist for free. It’s old Super Beetle parts.
A few people have built a bed that looks like a VW bus, but I wanted a cheaper way to do it that would leave me with some options later, in case it wasn’t my daughter’s thing. I built mine to sort of hang from a metal frame bunk bed, with removable panels. I kept costs down by using a lot of things from my garage — paint, screws, scrap wood — but bought about $100 worth of stuff. Here’s the twin bunk bed, $25 on Craigslist, dirty rag not included.
I Dremeled out some 4×4 posts to fit the legs; it needed to be taller.
2×4 frame held the posts in place.
2×3 framing for the bus bed shape; eventually the sides would bolt to the 2×4 bottom frame and be held to the bunk bed's metal posts at the top with u-bolts.
The bottom of what I call the “bumper box”, which will eventually hold the dashboard, electronics, and steering wheel as well. Just hooks to the front of things.
The bumper box is built, and “faced” in the front with a piece of thin plywood and a ton of screws. Started in the middle and wrapped it in. Screwed plywood onto the side frames.
Doors on one side with simple hardware store hinges.
Cut holes for windows and added a little “eyebrow” in the front for effect.
Wheels came as pre-cut circles at big box store, I couldn’t have done as well with the jigsaw.
Wheels removed and a little filler piece added at the front to close gap between bumper box and side panels. Sand, sand, and sand again.
Spray painted the top “rack” silver; painted wood with coat of primer, then used on-hand paints for the two-tone look. Masked things out with tape because I’m not a very good freehand painter.
Exterior looking good.
Inside mounted plywood dashboard on a piano hinge so I could put a bunch of stuff underneath for lights and sounds. Bit of a rat’s nest of wiring in there, it’s the guts of a $3 thrift shop plastic driving toy and an old speedometer.
Headlights were cheap puck lights from big box store, switched on the dashboard.
Coat of stain to make the dash look nice.
Added kiddo-sized hammock, because I wanted one. My daughter ended up loving it. youtu.be/g-7dx8tbLRw
VW emblem was ordered online on silver sticker stock; painted a circle behind it and put it on carefully.
My wife added the ribbon. The buttons make the driving sound effects, as does the horn in the middle of the steering wheel. Little LEDs go off inside the speedometer, too. Test phase: youtu.be/Q0S3CbnQ-Ns
A couple of side pockets from the Super Beetle pile framed in, good for books or stuffed animals.
Brought it outside for the birthday party; kids put it through its paces, everything held up.
Inside view. The fabric squares were put on by my wife with spray adhesive.
A look at the panels when detached. Really much simpler than building a whole bunk bed.
The other panel.
Carted everything upstairs for the final install in my daughter’s room. It fit! Thank goodness!
Success! She still sleeps in it today (going on 6 years old). Exhaustive build story here: www.thetreehouser.com/2015/02/other-projects-vw-bus-bed-part-1.html