My daughter asked for a bed for her American Girl doll for Christmas. I got so tied up with finding the princess castle from Santa, that I forgot about the doll bed until two days before Christmas.
I refuse to pay around $100 for the actual AG beds and even one you assemble yourself from the craft store was a whopping $40. In less than 24 hours, my husband and I were able to make the beautiful bed pictured above using less than $20 in materials. (Ours actually cost NOTHING as I had all the supplies already!)
It all started with the pink plastic bed shown above. I found it at Walmart for $20 and decided to buy it just in case no better options presented themselves. As I looked at it in my cart, I noticed how simply it was constructed. It was just two equally sized and shaped pieces for the head board and the foot board.
I thought of some of the wood plaques that I have seen in the craft department at Walmart. The one I liked best for this project was an oval Marquis plaque made by Plaid. It's the same plaque that I used for the Elephant Growth Chart.
My idea was to cut it in half for the head board and foot board. My husband had the brilliant idea to cut one part larger than the other for a bigger head board than foot board. The plaque was $13. If you were really trying to cut costs and making multiple beds, you could cut it in half and just make it into 2 head boards and not have a foot board. (I already had a plaque from another project that I wasn't happy with, so my cost is ZERO)
My hubby cut the plaque and also some scraps of plywood to make the bed. He made the mattress support twenty inches long (to hold the 18 inch doll) and as wide as the plaque. He cut four rectangles for legs. They are about 2x3 inches, but could be any size. He just screwed everything together and didn't worry too much about the details because I was hiding it all in the bedding. (Everything was wood scraps, so the total cost is still ZERO)
For the mattress, I had a foam square that I cut to fit. If I didn't have that, I would have used cotton batting that I also had on hand.
I covered the foam with a scrap of fabric and hot glued the fabric to the underside of the bed so the fabric holds the mattress in place.
Next I used the hot glue to attach a bed skirt. This covered any weird spots on the mattress and also the screws and rough edges of the headboard and footboard.
Finally, I made a simple quilt and a little pillow. (All the fabrics came from my scrap stash, so the price is still ZERO) it still needed a few more coats if white paint at this point, but you get the full effect of the bed here. Below you can see the finished bed, less than 24 hours and ZERO DOLLARS after we started it!
My daughter LOVES it and I love that it isn't a pink plastic mess. This bed is sturdy and beautiful and worthy of even the ritziest American Girl Doll!