22: School Bus Build- Bunk Beds

Stage 22: Building Bunks

When we started officially building in the bus it was winter time, right after Thanksgiving 2016. WE started with the Bunk Beds, after some time learning metal work first. Why? We knew for sure the general layout of the bus, how big our bed space needed to be, the kids beds, that the closet for most household and kid items would be in the area across from the bunks, and everything else was flexible. The bunks were the center for our imaginations so we started there. In doing this we basically completed the master bedroom, the bunk room, and began the bathroom. Yay tiny spaces! 🙂

We used 2x4s and Wood screws to secure the bed to the studs we put up on the walls.

I looked up a typical twin size bed and went with 39” Deep x 75” Long exterior. Leaving the hallway to be 28” and the rest of it was left for closet space. A standard twin foam mattress fit inside of each fine, and I squished it in on the sides.


WE used long wood to metal screws to insure we got a good hold on the bus metal ribs under the ceiling. These are spaced out decently, so we just followed our ceiling screws path to make sure we attached to the proper rib.


We built our walls sturdy as hell. Let me repeat, our crap is sturdy. We didn’t want things falling, breaking, whatever. So we overengineered it. Almost 2 years later, no issues. I am just saying:).


We did use the ¼” wood for the bunk room and closet interior walls to save on interior space. You can see we started adding it as we framed the bunks. But ¾” wood was used on the rest of the house.



We did not learn of the scribing tool “The Perfect Butt” until after we started this room, but notice the walls curving with the ceiling. Because we went with corrugated metal, they do not fit as snugly as a flat ceiling. Later on, you will see how the tool worked for us and how much better the other walls looked.

Let the over engineering begin. LOL! WE used these brackets from Home Depot to stabilize and make sure the beds survive all of the bumps from the road and the jumps from the kids!
We did not stick with the big pieces of wood (Large measuring sticks) on the sides of the bunks as pictured here, but it was an idea we had…ever evolving even the bunks were! The front panels were the thin ¼” material.

The space b/w the walls on either end of the bunk beds is 2” bc 2x4s were used for the framing, thus leaving quite a bit of empty space. Secret compartment would be cool, but we filled it with foam board for added sound insulation since our room will be butted up next to the kids


Little Ri and Daddy Crab Working on some foam cut outs. A Dry wall hand saw was an easy tool for this job…and a utility knife!
Our Little L Bugs (7 years old here) helping with the Foam Board! SO STRONG 🙂

If you noticed in the pictures before, there were a few windows in the bunk area. Like I said at the beginning, we were building this in the cold weather in West TX so this made us re-evaluate covering more windows to keep the heat inside. So we grabbed some foam board and insulated the windows (DID NOT REMOVE THE WINDOWS BEFORE, We did not see the need to) and covered with plywood!



We made slats for the beds and spaced them accordingly. There is some storage underneath the bottom bunk that I mostly use for board games, winter clothes, and Legos! It is basically for stuff we get into peridocially. The rear wheel wells are also back here so it was easy to just cover this side up.


We also added a piece of wood to act as a smooth bed rail that Ryon and our friend, Jesse, made custom for each bed:). He came to visit us from Colorado to help us with the build for a few days! We were happy to have him there to help pitch in too! If you don’t remember, he also helped us re-seal all of the bus windows too back in the beginning!





Later on in the build, the girls got to customize their rooms with the colors they wanted, stickers, and even a rock climbing wall!
The rock wall saved space on a ladder and is fun on a rainy day.
They were really a great price. Found on Ebay for $15, hardware included. Here is a link to some that work the same I recently found on amazon. They have different colors too! I just had to counter sink the bolts using a large drill bit.a caption

The foam mattresses I found were from Walmart, and they were 6” thick and about $80 each. It was a tight fit but they easily pushed down! I recently purchased a new foam mattress for the bottom bunk from Amazon by Zinus and it was 3” wider but still I was able to cram it in. Foam is flexible!

Bunks complete minus the Trim.

We eventually trimmed out the bunk at the end of the project. That was kind of our motto during the building phase, “Fuck it…we’ll trim it.”


The bunk Room 1.5 years later

Stage 23: Building the Master Bed

Stage 23 Re-Do RENOVATION: Master Bed Renovation (1.5 years later) (Article COMING SOON)


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