How to Build Bedrails for a Child


Bed rails are a crucial component to keeping your small child from dropping off the side of the bed in the middle of the night. This precaution is a relatively temporary situation, so it's nice to build a railing appliance that can later be used for some other purpose. This project is a three foot wide railing that fits the top of a single bed and has three foot long rails that go down both sides. It has castors to make it easier to remove when making the bed. It can be adapted for longer side rails if desired.

Step 1

Make it easy to start this project by asking the lumber yard to cut all pieces to measure. At home, lay them out with the four posts and three sets of rails between the posts. You are making a stand-alone three-sided rolling apparatus that will fit across the top of the bed and three feet down both sides. It will be easier to envision the finished project if you lay it out before assembling.

Step 2

Sand the wood with medium- and then fine-grit sandpaper to prepare pieces for the stain and acrylic finishes. Give each piece of wood at least two coats of stain, and dry thoroughly between coats. Finish with two coats of acrylic to preserve the piece. Dry between coats.

Step 3

Assemble the side railing by drilling through the rail and into the top inside of the post. Fill the hole with a bit of wood glue to strengthen the bond before screwing the rail to the end post. Place the next two rails in the same manner, but never more than six inches apart for safety reasons. Repeat for the other side. The standard bed is between 2 1/2 and 3 feet off the floor, so the rails will allow a barrier to keep the child safe. If your child's bed doesn't fit this measurement, adjust the height of the posts.

Step 4

Build the back by attaching the rails to the inside of the two back posts. Make sure that all the rails are lined up with each other. Attach the side rail sections to the back posts by screwing them in securely. The three sides are now connected.

Step 5

Turn the three sided railing fence over and drill holes in the bottom of the four posts. Attach the casters according to package instructions. Slide the rail apparatus in place around the bed, and apply the caster brakes so that the child can't move the appliance by himself. Drill holes in the top of each post, and screw in the ball finials for a finished look.

Things You'll Need

  • Four 4 x 4 x 42-inch pine for the posts
  • Nine 2 x 4 x 36 inch pine for the rails
  • Wood screws
  • Fine- and medium-grit sandpaper
  • Four screw-in 4-inch decorative ball finials for the top of the bed posts
  • Four casters with brake stops
  • Wood glue for strength in each screw hole
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Stain
  • Acrylic finish
  • Disposable foam paintbrushes


  • How to use bed rail fasteners
  • How to install types of casters
Keywords: rail appliance, three-sided fence, repurposable furnishing

About this Author

Pat Olsen has over 35 years of experience as a professional journalist in California. She attended San Francisco State and Pacific College. Olsen has several published books, is a staff writer for Mill Creek Living Magazine, and currently writes for Demand Studio. She is a retired educator who still teaches twice a week.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Build Bedrails for a Child