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From time to time I am asked to come up with a really unique design and this is a great example. IKEA make a very simple pine bunk bed called Mydal. I was tasked with designing a "hack" to convert one of these into a climbing wall which would be fun to use in the day but still function well as a bunk bed at night. The original sketches were for a half fairytale castle - half rock face design, but the children quickly decided they wanted all rock with a cave entrance, so that's how it evolved!

Climbing Wall Bunk Bed

Having pre-made all the panels, the Mydal bed is the first thing to build in the room. I had a lovely audience of five excited children to encourage me so it was a quick job!

The wall panels all interlock. Horizontal softwood beams at floor level and midway and vertical posts at the corners add plenty of stiffening. The panels are hollow with 18mm ply skins outside and 9mm ply on the inside. Screws with cup washers are used to hold everything in place.

The panels are drilled at regular intervals and T-nuts are inserted. These provide threaded M10 fixings for the climbing holds. Plenty of spare nuts are provided so routes can be changed or additional holds added.

Five sets of "smooth mini jugs" from Holdz were fitted to provide some good routes around three faces of the bunk. The back wall is smooth as it is close to the wall.

The panels were painted with a matt grey basecoat then I used sponges to apply lighter and darker shades and some warm textures before finishing off with some ground level plants painted with brushes.

At the top of the "cliffs" and around the cave openings, I used softwood to form cills and stiffen the edges. I used a router to chamfer all exposed edges and sanded everything carefully so the whole structure is smooth and safe. The cave entrances at the ends and side are great for climbing through but also let in light.

Plenty of holds are provided for access to the upper bunk and the wide cliff opening here and large lower cave give enough room to change bedding and climb in and out of each bed. The rounded edges also mean it is comfortable to sit on. I think it was a success!!