RACE CAR BED - wood, wheels, rims, tablesaw, race car, racecar, tires, bed frame, IKEA Fjellse
IDEAS I LEARNED from my internet search and from my experience in building this bed:
1. DESIGN: I just got down on the floor and drew a full-size side view of what I wanted the bed to look like, and after revisions that drawing became my pattern for cutting out the bed and for adding details. You can make anything you want: this could easily have been a dumptruck bed or a jet fighter airplane. BUT, JAck and I like race cars! So, I used some old Ferrari pictures for ideas, then drew a car I would like to build. I used paper cutouts the same diameter of the wheels I was going to build as a design template, and stretched the original drawing to fit the dimensions of the IKEA bed frame. I extended the nose longer than looked "just right" so I could put a toy box under a hinged hood. Cause I wanted to...that's what is so great about designing your own stuff!
2. SLIDE: Think like a 4-year old in designing your bed. After assembling the hood, which covers a toy box in the front of this race car bed, Jack's first idea was "Can I slide on the hood?" That never occurred to me, but of course that's the way a 4-year old would want to get out of his bed: slide off the end of the mattress onto the floor. SOooo, I'm going to go back and strengthen the design of my hinge assembly and hood brace so he can slide on it without anything breaking.
3. RIMS or WHEELS: Make good-looking rims from plastic hubcaps you buy at PepBoys or similar auto stores. They look better to me than wheels cut from plywood and painted silver, just my preference. Cut the tires from flat wood or MDF, using a table saw! It's fun and an easy new skill to acquire...and it works. I found instructions for cutting large diameter circles on a table saw on the internet, then modified the idea to work with my old Ryobi table saw system and router. I believe people judge REAL cars by the RIMS and the PAINT; same thing with car beds, I bet!
4. BODY: I cut it out, then made fender arches from scrap stock left from the body cutout. I rounded the contours of the arches with a sanding disc or belt-sander and glued/nail-gunned them to the body. Then, fill the nail holes and arch joints with wood putty, sand smooth, and primer. The arches or similar body details are important to break up the flat race car body you cut out, to give it some depth and contours more like a real car. AND, if you don't make fenders of some type, you just have to nail or glue the cool wheels onto a flat board shaped like a car, which doesn't look good, I think. My opinion, FWIW.
5. PAINT: I used hi-build, self-catalyzing lacquer primer and color, plus a gloss clear coat to protect everything. I LIKE lacquer because I paint outside and it dries really fast, so no bugs or dust get trapped in the paint. BUT, get good advice from your local paint supplier because it is a bit tricky (I screwed up a lot, but it's easy to fix!). I recommend you tint your primer to a shade similar to the finish coat so scratches in the finished product (from some four-year-old crawling up and down, etc) won't show so easily. You can use rattle-can spray paint if you like, but be sure to get a lot of it, and use high-build primer to seal the wood, and sand it down smooth as possible.
6. BED FRAME assembly: I used an IKEA Fjellse twin-bed frame as the basis for this project. It's inexpensive, and I didn't have to design mattress-holding hardware...plus this frame can be easily disassembled if it has to be moved. Square up the bed frame BEFORE you assemble the finished race car onto it. We didn't, so this race car isn't as square and symmetrical as I'd like, but it's close enough so no worries.
7. DETAIL LINES: I painted on black "detail lines" to define the shape and some details of the car after I painted it red, and to tidy up the joint lines where I masked off the red body from the white windshield. MASK the lines before you paint them! My artist friends told me NOBODY can paint a consistent-width straight line freehand using only a brush. So if an artist can't do it, I'm willing to use tape too.
8. STICKERS: I got a print shop to make the race car numbers we used, so they looked professional. Ours are 12" diameter. I couldn't have painted anything that looked as good.
Thanks for reading about our bed project, it was a fun build. If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave them on the blog. Now to do some finish details!
9. WINGS: FOUR YEARS (May, 2017) later I got around to making the rear wing/shelf, after Jack's family moved to another house. I used leftover melamine boards from a closet storage project, made what looked like a race car wing to me, and bolted it to the IKEA bed frame. Added some round LED lights underneath, with remote control to change colors and sequence the lights, and now ALL DONE!
Here are photos of the bed as it was being built, showing a lot more detail of how we did it, if you are interested. Each photo caption contains additional helpful information on the build. Click on the photo link to see:
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