DIY VW Micro-Bus Bunk Bed and Playhouse

MiniBusandPlayhouse Montage
DIY Micro-Bus Bunk Bed and Playhouse

Calling all VW fans (or just people who love clever ideas)!  Whether you use this as a bunk bed or a loft bed with a playhouse underneath, it’s a great project to do for your children.

VW Bus Bed

The bed is a gift to a three year old nephew whose father is a mega VW fan. The idea was easy but finding suitable plans wasn’t! Sure there were VW bed plans online but they failed to meet the standards required. The big decision was made… design and build from scratch! The result is this fabulously detailed VW bunk bed complete with working headlights and turn indicators. It also has a steering wheel and fully functioning doors. Both top and bottom areas take a full sized single mattress giving plenty of space for sleepovers or just use the top as a bed and the bottom as a fabulous play area. Is there a child anywhere who would not love this project?

Click on any image to start lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox. 8-)

Materials list:

All materials can be purchased from your local hardware store with the exception of the VW accessories,  These can be sources online, at an auto parts stores or better yet, from your local auto wrecker.


  • 5 sheets of 4’x8′ 1/4 inch plywood for for outer skin
  • 2 sheets of 4’x8′ 3/4 inch MDF or plywood  for the top and bottom bases
  • 11 sticks of 3/4″x4′ dowels for the safety railing/faux cargo rack
  • 7 pieces of 1″x2″x8′ firring strips for safety railing/fuax cargo rack
  • 3 pieces 1″x3″x8′ firring strips for the ladder
  • 9 pieces of 2″x2″x8′ firring strips for the frames of doors and safety rail/faux cargo rack
  • 2 pieces of 2″x6″x8′ studs for ribs of curved front end
  • 12 – 14 pieces of 2″x3″x8′ studs for most of the framing – dependent on how much bracing you’re comfortable with
  • 1 piece of 4″x4″x4′ post.  Some hardware stores will cut this for you.  If not, a full 6 or 8 foot stick may need to be bought
  • 4, pre-cut 16″ diameter, 3/4 inch thick plywood circles.  Some hardware stores sell these else you will have to cut your own
  • 1 piece of 3/4″x12″x44.5″ pine board.  Try to get a nice knot-free piece here


  • 1 box of drywall screws
  • 1 box of 2″ deck screws
  • 1 box of 2.5″ deck screws
  • 1 small box of 3.5″ deck screws
  • 4, 1/4 inch x 3″ carriage bolts
  • 4, 1/4 inch washers
  • 4, 1/4 inch nuts
  • 4 hinges for the doors
  • 12 “L” brackets 4″x4″  – found in the door and hinge section of your local hardware store
  • 12 “L” brackets 1″x1″ – found in the area that contains framing hardware, such as hurricane straps


  • Jigsaw and/or band-saw if available
  • Power drill
  • Countersink bit
  • Compound miter saw
  • Table saw, if available
  • Hand sander and sand paper
  • Wood filler
  • Paint
  • Clamps for when you need that 3rd or 5th hand to hold pieces up.


  • Hubcaps
  • Steering Wheel
  • Headlights
  • Pin striping
  • Little decals and stick-ons


This bed is designed to knock down to help facilitate moving.  It is easier to start from the bottom and work your way up. I have pre-drilled and countersunk every screw used.

You will need the following size pieces of lumber for this step…
2, 41 inch 2″x3″s
2, 79 inch 2″x3″s
3, 38 inch 2″x3″s
4, 8.5 inch long 4″x4″ legs
82″x41″ sheet of 3/4″ MDF or Plywood.

Assemble the frame as shown in the picture.  Space the 3 inner braces 18 5/8″ apart.


Attach the 4, 4″ x 4″ to the inside corners using 3.5″ screws as shown here.


This picture shows the frame with the 82″ x 41″ cut piece of 3/4″ MDF attached.


There are 5 parts to the left and right walls of the bus.  One side is a continuous piece.  It’s the side with no doors. The side with the doors consists of the front, back, and two doors.  Now depending on where you plan on putting the bus in the room, this is the step you decide which side is which.  This instructable shows the build with the doors being on the “passenger” side of bus.

The pre-cut lumber needed here is…

4 pieces of 41.5 inch 2″x3″
4 pieces of 27 inch 2″x3″
2 pieces of 25.5 inch 2″x3″
1 piece 27.5 inch 2″x3″
2 pieces of 19 inch 2″x3″
1 piece of 14.5 inch 2″x3″
2 pieces 14.5 inches long 2″x3″ with the end cuts being parallel 82 degrees.
2 pieces 15 inches long 2″x3″ with the end cuts being parallel 76 degrees.

1 piece of 75.75 inch 2″x2″
2 pieces of 19 inch 2″x2″
2 pieces of 25.5 inch of 2″x2″
4 pieces of 40 inch 2″x2″
4 pieces of 13.5 inch 2″x2″
2 pieces of 10.5 inch 2″x2″

The pictures explain the layout of these pieces of timber.  Remember to pre-drill and countersink your screws.

VWMicroBusandPlayhouse06 VWMicroBusandPlayhouse07 VWMicroBusandPlayhouse08

The main aspect of this build that determines the uniqueness of the VW Micro-bus is the rounded front end.  This is actually not too hard to accomplish.  I did my curve free hand.  If you can find a compass large enough or something to use as a pattern, please feel free.

Cut 3, 44 inch length pieces from the 2″x6″ studs.  see the first picture to show how to draw the arc.
Use a jigsaw and cut the arc out of this wood.  Use the arc to trace onto the remaining two 44″ pieces.  Clamp the 3 pieces together and sand the curves until each are identical with each other.
Use one of these as a template also to trace the same arc on the piece of 3/4″x12″x44″ piece to be used later as the top cap of the front end.

Pre-cut materials are…

3, 44 inches long 2″x6″
2, 39 inches long 2″x2″
2, 23.75 inches long 2″x3″
1, 44 inches long 2″x3″
2, 10 7/8 inches long 2″x3″ for bracing the arcs

Use the pictures provided for the layout and assemble.  Place screws anywhere you feel is appropriate for strength.

VWMicroBusandPlayhouse09 VWMicroBusandPlayhouse10 VWMicroBusandPlayhouse11

Rear frame: This is one of the more simple frames to assemble.  The only difficult part is the angles of the upper pieces.  They are cut at the 82 degrees.

Pre-cut list is:

2, 27 inches long 2″x3″
2, 14.5 inches long 2″x3″ with parallel cuts at 82 degrees.  The angle cuts are on the wide part of the 2″x3″
2, 39.25 inches long 2″x3″
1, 44 inches long 2″x2″

VWMicroBusandPlayhouse12 VWMicroBusandPlayhouse13

The top frame is a little bigger than the top of the bus, due to the size of a single mattress.  I don’t think it takes anything away from the finished project though.  You’ll also notice a couple of the 2″x3″ braces inside are on end instead of flat like the outside border is.  I did this to help brace and space the middle area of the side walls.

Pre-cut list is…

81″x46″ sheet of 3/4″ plywood
2, 46 inches long 2″x3″
2, 76 inches long 2″x3″
2, 41 inches long 2″x3″ (Pay special attention to how these pieces are positioned in pictures.)
2, 16 inches long 2″x3″
2, 26 inches long 2″x3″
1, 31 inches long 2″x3″
2, 10.5 inches long 2″x3″

Assemble as seen in the pictures.

VWMicroBusandPlayhouse14 VWMicroBusandPlayhouse15

The following should be some of the last illustrations.  I decided to use colors in these illustrations to better differentiate the frames from the base.  From here on out I will try to use real photos.  Thank goodness, right?  Pictures are so much more helpful.

Assemble all the frames.  Another person is very helpful here.  If going at it alone during this step, clamps will do.  Start with the wall containing no doors.  Attach this wall with 4 of the 4″x4″ “L” brackets in the positions shown in first picture.  The wall will support itself after the brackets are installed.  You now can move one to installing the two walls on the side with the doors.  Use 4 more 4″x4″ “L” brackets here.

Continued Page 2…



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