Princess bunkbed

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Forum topic by Newbie17 posted 10-16-2019 08:46 PM 283 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 1005 days

10-16-2019 08:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bed wood type

Hey everyone, I’m getting into some projects and haven’t done very much woodworking yet, so I have a lot to learn.

I am building a princess castle style bunkbed and am using online photos for ideas, but I can’t determine the best type of sheet goods to use for it. There are some exposed edges and lots of ‘cut outs’ and whatnot, so what should I use to build the decorative parts? Baltic birch plywood or MDF? It will be painted FYI. Also, cost really isn’t a factor.

9 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


598 posts in 1164 days

#1 posted 10-16-2019 08:59 PM

The one’s I’ve seen have all been MDF. But, as others will chime in, BB is the way to go.

-- Sawdust Maker

View bilyo's profile


887 posts in 1647 days

#2 posted 10-17-2019 12:27 AM

With all those castellated shapes around the top, I would be afraid of MDF vulnerability to breakage. So, at least for those parts, plywood would be best. However, plywood edges are not particularly good when left exposed. You might consider edge banding those edges for better looks, feel, and protection from veneer separation. I think that MDF would be perfectly suitable for some of it; like some of the boxed-in parts.

View Aj2's profile


2536 posts in 2342 days

#3 posted 10-17-2019 02:24 AM

I would use plywood. Your princess deserves the best so go with Baltic birch 5×5 sheets.
Did you know Mdf is made with Formaldehyde. You did mention it was going to be painted but I’d still be concerned about the Voc.
That’s a lot of material the last thing you want to do is poison your girl just to save money.
Go as green as possible.
It’s a very nice looking project.

Good Luck

-- Aj

View bilyo's profile


887 posts in 1647 days

#4 posted 10-17-2019 04:48 PM

I don’t wish to start an argument because I’m no expert. But, my understanding is that glue containing formaldehyde is also common in plywood. In either case, MDF or plywood, they don’t off-gas forever. My only point is that if concerned, the OP should do some research into the subject.

View Aj2's profile


2536 posts in 2342 days

#5 posted 10-17-2019 06:33 PM

Bilyo you made a very good point.
The op should really do his homework kids sleep 10 or 12 hours every night for years. What ever he puts in her room will certainly have some effects.

I myself hate Mdf i always get a head cold when it’s in my shop. Not so much with Russian birch plywood but that doesn’t mean it not toxic is some way.
Mdf dust is the devils dandruff :(

Good Luck

-- Aj

View Lazyman's profile


4113 posts in 1932 days

#6 posted 10-17-2019 07:58 PM

I would go with plywood. It is just easier and less of a pain to work with than MDF in my opinion. Every time I resort to using MDF, I swear never again (until the next time amnesia sets in). BB is nice (not the stuff HD and Lowes carries) but fairly expensive so I would just look for good relatively void free PW. HD and Lowes will sometimes carry some pretty nice stuff. Instead of edge banding, I would just use bondo on the edges and sand them smooth. You can get a really nice smooth edge this way and once you paint it, it won’t look like plywood. You can use just the regular bondo but they now make one specifically for wood working (I haven’t tried it yet).

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Blindhog's profile


138 posts in 1593 days

#7 posted 10-18-2019 01:48 PM

I used MDF on the fronts of the bunk beds I built for the grand kids pictured on my projects page. MDF is finish ready and while heavy, it is easy to work with. Prepping plywood for a smooth surface for painting is time consuming and usually ends up not a flat as MDF. Buy from a reputable source. The rest of the bed was made from poplar.

-- Don't let perfection get in the way of plenty good enough

View JohnMcClure's profile


799 posts in 1185 days

#8 posted 10-18-2019 02:46 PM

If you go with plywood, pack the edges with drywall compound before painting. (Google it for more details.) Sand the drywall compound smooth, then prime and paint, and you won’t be able to see the plys. If you don’t do that, it’s almost impossible to hide the plys.
Poplar is also an excellent wood to use for painting.
Finally, I’ll shill one of my favorite projects here:
Click for details
and the blog here
This was made from pine and MDF.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View Newbie17's profile


20 posts in 1005 days

#9 posted 10-23-2019 12:37 PM

John, nice work!

I’m convinced plywood is the route best suited for what I’m trying to accomplish. Coming from a construction family, I’m all too familiar with drywall compound, so I’ll use that to cover the plywood edges before painting. Thank you all for the replies. After all the research, my wife told me the dressers should come first. Come on woman, make up your mind!

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