How To Make Your Own Co Sleeping Bed (DIY Steps With Videos)

Are you getting ready to start co sleeping with a newborn baby or to move an older baby into a co sleeping arrangement with you?

Would you like to have a co sleeping sidecar or crib attachment but aren’t sure where to find the right one to buy to suit your needs?

Have you ever considered learning how to make a co sleeping option for your baby instead?

In this article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of the pros of making your own co sleeping option. If you’ve ever wondered why you might want to take on a project like this, you’re sure to find the info you’re looking for below.

From there, you’ll find DIY directions for three types of co sleeping options you can build on your own. These projects are suitable for different skill levels, so take your time and check them out to figure out which one is best for you.

Don’t forget to read the section at the end of the article to give you some great safety tips for your new DIY co sleeping option, too. We hope to provide you with all the information you need to put together the perfect sleeper and enjoy a safe and comfortable sleeping arrangement with your baby ASAP!

So let’s get started!

Advantages of Making Your Own Co Sleeping Bed

You may wonder why you’d want to build your own co sleep option. After all, there are tons of co sleeping options available on the market today, so you probably aren’t feeling too limited by the choices you have when you go shopping. Still, you may find yourself considering putting together a DIY sleeper even though you don’t necessarily have to. If you’re looking for a little bit of an extra push to help you figure out whether or not this type of project is right for you, check out our list of advantages of  building on your own.

1. If you have a difficult space, you can build a custom size sleeper to fit perfectly. 

Some families have smaller spaces or rooms with odd shapes that may require a unique custom-built sleeper to get the job done. When you’re in control of all the dimensions of your co sleep bed, you’ll be better able to make this happen. And if you have a platform bed or some other unique type of adult bed, a custom-built sleeper may be the only option.

2. Building your own sleeper can be a budget-friendly alternative to most of the ones available for purchase. 

While there are some low-cost sleepers out there, you may actually be able to build a better quality one than these mass-produced options, depending on your skills and abilities. Most custom DIY co sleep bed projects come in well under the cost of their store-bought alternatives, so it’s worthwhile to at least put together a list of the materials you’ll need and see whether or not you’ll be saving any money by purchasing them.

baby furniture store options

3. You may live in a location where it’s difficult to find co sleep beds for purchase in a store. 

While ordering online may be an option for you in this situation, once again, you may end up incurring too much of a cost by doing this, depending on the shipping. If you live in a small town or a rural community without a lot of baby furniture store options, building your own sleeper may simply be more convenient for you.

4. You may be able to make a family project out of the new co sleep bed. 

Get everyone involved! While an adult should always handle power tools, there’s no reason why a soon-to-be big brother or big sister can’t help paint, decorate the crib with stickers, or even play along with toy tools while Mom and Dad work on the project itself.

5. A DIY project can be a great way to spend your time waiting for your new baby to arrive!

Whether you are Mom or Dad (or Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, or even a best friend), you may find yourself looking for something to occupy your time while you wait for the new arrival to show up. And if you’ve got a few weeks at least to set aside and devote to some fun at-home crafting, a challenge like building your own co sleeping bed may be a fun way to distract yourself while you’re awaiting the newest member of the family. If you like building things already, this isn’t going to be too much of a difficult job, and if you’re just learning how to work with wood, you’re sure to enjoy the learning curve you’ll find with this type of project.

So do you feel ready to make your own co sleeping bed now? 
We hope we’ve given you a little bit of inspiration, but there’s still a lot to consider before you get started.

You’ll need to figure out the amount of space you have to work with, your DIY budget, and your own skills too. Make sure you don’t try to complete a project that’s above your skill level but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Check out the three DIY projects we have listed below to see which one is best for your situation as well as your individual skills and needs.

How to Make a Sidecar Co Sleep Bed

A sidecar co sleeping bed is a type of sleeping attachment that can be affixed to the side of your adult bed and is held firmly in place by one or more fixtures to keep it from moving around. This type of sleeper is usually suspended by these fixtures, but it may also have legs or a stand depending on the style of sleeper you’re looking at. You can easily make your own DIY sidecar co sleeping bed for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one. Bear in mind, however, that this type of sleeper is best for use with younger babies who are no more than six months of age.

Materials Needed

  • One 32”x20” piece of plywood in any color (be sure it’s finished so it won’t cause splinters)
  • Three 10” long piece of melamine in a color to match your plywood
  • Two 1’x4’ plywood boards
  • Paint in any color of your choosing (and sealant if required for the paint you choose)
  • Wood glue
  • Caulk and caulk gun
  • Hardware screws
  • Power drill and countersink drill bit
  • Power sander
  • Power saw or some other electric method of cutting wood
  • Safety gear including gloves, goggles, protective shoes, and hat
  • Baby sleeper pillow or co sleep bassinet


1. If your plywood and melamine is not the right size for the job, cut it using a power saw. You may also be able to ask the store where you purchase your plywood to pre-cut it for you.

2. Test the pieces you’ve cut to ensure that they fit together correctly before you continue. The plywood should make up the base of the sidecar sleeper, while the melamine pieces should make up the back and sides.

3. Pre-drill holes in the corners of the back piece using your power drill and countersink drill bit. These will be where the screws will go to hold the back piece to the side pieces.

4. Use the hardware screws and power drill to screw these pieces together.

5. Repeat the process from the bottom of the co sleeping bed to attach the bottom to the back and side pieces. You should have approximately three screws per side and four screws for the back.

6. Use your power sander to sand down the sharp corners of the sleeper attachment.

7. Use screws and wood glue to attach the two 1’x4’ plywood boards to the sides of the sleeper beneath the bottom base piece. They should be positioned with the excess sides of the boards sticking out from the open side of the sleeper—not from the closed back side.

8. Use your caulk gun to caulk the seams and screw holes and effectively waterproof the sleeper. Let dry completely before continuing.

9. Paint the sleeper with the paint of your choice and any sealant required. Be sure you also paint the long plywood boards.

10.Place a baby sleeper pillow or co sleep bassinet inside the co sleeping attachment.

11. When everything is dry and finished, position the sleeper so that the long plywood boards are between your mattress and box spring. The weight of your mattress should hold them in place. Depending on the type of bed you have, you may need to place these boards under the box spring as well.

12. Your sleeper attachment is now ready for use!

How to Make a Co Sleeping Crib

A co sleeping crib is like a co sleeping cot attachment, but it’s also a little bit different. This type of sleeper is designed for use by slightly older babies, but you will still need to discontinue use of it by the age of 12 months in most situations. With one of these sleepers, your baby will be supported by the legs of the crib as well as the suspension, tension, or whichever other method you choose to use to attach the crib to your own adult bed. You will need to account for the gap in between your mattress and your baby’s mattress, but this is generally considered a very safe option for co sleeping with younger infants and even newborns.

Materials Needed

  • Miter saw or circular saw
  • Clamps
  • Power drill
  • Kreg jig
  • Tape measure
  • Speed square
  • Pocket hole screws
  • Pencil
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper and power sander
  • Safety gear
  • Paint of any color you choose and any sealant required for your paint choice
  • One 1x12 board at 33” long
  • Two 1x4 boards at 33” long
  • Two 1x12 boards at 14.75” long
  • Four 2x2 boards at 14.75” long
  • Four 2x2 boards at 31” long or the appropriate height for your mattress
  • One 1x3 board at 33” long
  • One 1x4 board at 33” long
  • Seven 1x3 boards at 8.5” long


1. Pre-cut your lumber before you move on to any other step. If you don’t have a power saw at home, you can usually ask the store where you purchase your lumber to cut it for you. You may also be able to rent a power saw to get the job done from the same store.

2. Use the Kreg jig to attach a 1x4 to your 1x12 to make the floor of your crib.

3. Drill pocket holes on the underside of the crib floor and attach the other 1x4 to the opposite side.

4. On each side of the 1x12 crib floor, attach a 2x2 board using pocket holes and 1-1/4 inch or 1-1/2 inch screws depending on your own preferences.

5. Attach the legs of the crib using 2-1/2 inch screws on either short side of the crib floor.

6. Build the sides of the crib by attaching your wood slats evenly along the 1x3 boards. Make sure these slats are never more than 1-3/4 inch apart from each other for your baby’s safety. Mark these spaces with your pencil for best results.

7. Use the wood filler to fill the pocket holes you have drilled and screwed in so far.

​8. Use the power sander and sandpaper to sand down any rough or sharp edges.

9. Fasten the ends of the crib together using pocket holes on the underside of the bottom piece. Use as many screws as you feel are necessary to firmly attach both sides of the crib to its base.

10. Fasten the sides together with pocket holes for reinforcement and use wood filler to fill all of the pocket holes still remaining.

11. Sand again as necessary.

12. Paint and seal as you choose.

13. Let the crib stand until you can no longer smell anything coming from the paint before you use it for your baby. Dress the bed and you’ll be good to go.

14. If you choose, you can attach the crib to your mattress and bed frame using zip ties. This will make it much safer overall because it won’t be able to shift away from your mattress or leave any kind of a gap between the two surfaces.

15. You’re now ready to use your DIY co sleeping crib!

How to Make a Small Space Co Sleep Option

Whether you’re going on vacation or you just don’t have a lot of room in your home to devote to your co sleeping arrangement, you may find yourself in need of a small space co sleeping bed to help you and your little one get the best rest possible. If this is the case, your DIY project is going to be a little bit different. This is an affordable project you can usually accomplish without breaking your budget, but make sure you have the right materials before you get started. It may also pay to measure the amount of space you have to work with if you’re able to do so before you get started. This type of sleeper is best for babies up to 6 months of age.

Materials Needed

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Safety gear
  • One piece of plywood the width of the space between your mattress and wall
  • Four plywood legs at least 1’ wide by the height from your floor to your mattress
  • Power saw
  • Power drill and screws
  • Baby-safe mattress
  • Foam tubes such as pool noodles
  • Optionally, zip ties or bungee cords
  • Optionally, a foam triangle or cylinder for the foot of the mattress


1. Cut the pieces of plywood to the correct length, width, and height so that the legs will support the base of the sleeper and keep the mattress level with your own adult mattress. If you don’t have access to a power saw, you may be able to rent one or have your hardware store cut the wood pieces for you.

2. Use your power drill and screws to attach the legs firmly to the base of the sleeper. You may want to use pocket screws for this. Use at least two screws per leg.

3. Double-check the height and security of your sleeper by wedging it into place next to your bed.

4. Use the zip ties or bungee cords to attach the sleeper to your bed frame and hold it firmly in place.

5. Place the baby-safe mattress on top of the sleeper base and dress with baby-safe sheets.

6. Tuck the foam pieces or pool noodles around the sleeper so your baby can’t fall out or get wedged between the sleeper and any gaps between it and the wall or mattress.

7. If you choose to use a foot guard foam piece, tuck it beneath the sheets so it will stay in place more easily.

8. You’re now ready to co sleep in a smaller space!

9. Note: If you choose, you can try small space co sleeping on a mattress on the floor. If you do this, you don’t need anything except a wood platform and bed rails or foam pieces around the edges of your baby’s mattress.

5 Tips to Ensure Your DIY Co Sleeping Bed’s Safety

It’s always important to make sure your co sleeping situation is safe for you and your baby. When you make your own co sleeping bed, you may feel extra concerned about the safety of your little one, especially if you’re not used to DIY projects like these. But even if you’ve never so much as lifted a hammer before, as long as you take time to double-check your sleeper’s safety, there’s no reason to believe you can’t put together a comfortable, safe, and secure place for your little one to snooze for the next several months. Check out our list of safety tips to make sure you’re on the right track.

1. Always fill in any gaps, even if you don’t think they’re large enough to be concerned about. 

co sleeper mat

You may be surprised at how quickly your little one will start to wriggle around enough in his or her sleep to potentially get stuck in any gap that may be present in the co sleeping bed. If this happens, your baby could get hurt, and this could potentially be deadly in the wrong situation. This is an unfortunate truth of any co sleeping bed, but if you’re careful and make sure to fill in the gaps, you won’t have to worry about it.

  • Use pool noodles cut into pieces to tuck between your baby’s mattress and any other surface, wall, or piece of furniture that may be close by. Pool noodles are a popular option for this because they’re affordable and just the right thickness to get the job done.
  • You may also purchase bed rails for your child’s bed. These come in a variety of different styles that may or may not attach beneath your baby’s mattress. Shop around and look for the right rails to keep your baby from getting wedged into any spaces in his or her sleeper.

2. Always make sure the space between your crib or sidecar’s rails is not too wide.

This goes hand-in-hand with the gap situation, but it pays to make sure your crib is up to the traditional standards of most mass-produced cribs if you’re building it from scratch. If you’ll be putting the slats on the sides and back of the crib yourself, make sure they don’t give your baby enough space to get his or her head stuck between them. Remember that newborn babies can get their heads stuck in very small spaces, and even older children may end up doing this if you’re not careful.

make your own co sleeper
  • Generally speaking, a crib’s slats should be no more than 1-1/4” apart from each other. This is not enough space for your baby to get his or her head between the slats. However, make sure you read up on current standards when you go to make your crib because this could always change.

3. Always use high-quality new materials for every step of your DIY project.

high-quality new materials

Do not use repurposed wood for this job, as you don’t know whether or not it will be able to hold up to extended use and support of a baby. You should also not reuse screws from other projects for this one since you may run into a similar problem. Although you may be tempted to make this an upcycling job, chances are good you can’t ensure the durability of used items enough to trust them to hold your child for several months to come.

  • This is also a good reason to spend a little bit more than you normally would on the price of the products you’ll be using. Make sure you get good quality wood that may cost a little more than expected. The thicker the wood the more durable it will be. This is all about choosing the right materials to ensure the safety of your little one, so make sure you have enough in your budget to do so.
  • Last but not least, choose low VOC paint for this job. This type of paint doesn’t give off as many toxins as other types of paint might, but it’s also more expensive. However, you need to ensure that your baby isn’t going to be sleeping on a surface that’s constantly giving off toxic fumes.

4. Give the sleeper a test run using weights—or the family pet.

It may sound a little silly to put a dog in a baby’s crib, but depending on the size of your pet, this may be a great way to determine whether or not the crib can really hold up to use with a baby. Consider how heavy your baby currently is (or will likely be at birth if he or she hasn’t arrived yet), but think about how much he or she will weigh by the time you discontinue use of the sleeper too. If your dog or cat matches up to these sizes pretty well, you may just have a test subject on your hands!

the size of your pet
  • If you don’t have a pet, your pet isn’t the right size, or you just don’t want to put an animal in your baby’s crib even for a little while, you may want to invest in some weights to approximate how heavy your child will be while using the co sleeping bed instead. These weights will help you determine whether or not your baby can stay in the crib for an extended period of time without doing damage to it.
  • Try using books if you don’t have anything else on hand.

5. Never leave your baby unattended in any co sleeping bed, whether it’s homemade or not! 

leaving your baby unattended

It’s never safe to leave your baby unattended when sleeping because you don’t know whether or not he or she will move around and become tangled or trapped in anything that may be present in the bed. This is especially true of co sleeping beds, and if you’ve built the sleeper yourself, you don’t want to run the risk of your child getting hurt in something you put together if you could avoid this possibility.

  • It’s also a good idea to always double-check your sleeper before you put your baby to bed in it every night. Give the sleeper a little shake and make sure it’s still firmly in place, no matter which type of sleeper you choose to build. Check any zip ties or bungee cords you might be using to hold it in place and make sure your pool noodles or other type of foam or bed rails are in place as well. While you might feel as though this is a lot to go through every night before bed, a little preparation can go a long way toward making sure your child is safe in bed.


Have you decided which type of co sleeping bed you want to try to build? Do you feel that DIY bug encouraging you to get out there and try building all three of them? Or are you still feeling a little bit apprehensive about the prospect of this challenge? If you’re worried about it, you may prefer to try a DIY project that will allow you to convert an existing crib into a co sleeping sidecar instead.

However, don’t worry too much about being able to successfully pull off one of these great sleepers. Follow the directions, take your time, and you should be well on your way to a great homemade co sleeping bed in no time.

If you are worried about whether or not co sleeping is even right for you and your baby, take some time and do a little bit more research before you get started. You may want to look up information on safe co sleeping arrangements, when it’s time to stop co sleeping, and how you’re going to break the habit when the time comes. If you’ve already got another child bed sharing with you, it may also be time to move him or her to another sleeping arrangement even if you’re planning to co sleep with your new baby without bed sharing.

Before introducing your baby to a co sleeping arrangement, make sure you speak to your child’s pediatrician or your own doctor to determine whether or not this is a good choice for you. Healthcare professionals who specialize in infants and toddlers should be able to give you plenty of information about safe and effective co sleeping with your little one.

Most importantly, don’t worry, and try to have fun with your new project! It can be very exciting to build something that your child is going to use, so take your time and enjoy the challenge!



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