Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
"Zoom Zoom" Bed!!!
We made our son a racecar bed for his Big Boy Bed!
This was a long, involved project that took almost a month. At first we were going to buy a toddler racecar bed, but when we saw how much they cost, we figured that if we were going to spend that much, we ought to get a bed that will last past age 4. We didn't really like the designs on the prefabricated racecar beds though, but we did like the result of
this set of woodworking plans. We wouldn't have been able to do it totally on our own, but that's what dads are for! Day 1 was spent at my parents' house starting to get the pieces cut using my dad's vast array of tools.
Of course, our son got to participate a little.
We fought with an old band saw of my grandfather's for a while, but the blade kept coming off. Dad thinks something might have been wrong with the tension settings. It wasn't big enough for the large pieces anyway, so once we decided to forget it and just use the saber saw, we were able to get moving.
Day 1 turned out to be a lot more cutting (of paper,) tracing, and transferring than we (well, maybe just I) had anticipated, but Dad volunteered to keep cutting the pieces through the week and bring them to our house. Whilst I was busy doing a lot of tracing and transferring (for which my back was not happy with me) hubby got busy sanding the pieces we had already done.
My parents, as promised, continued to work on cutting the wood. They even got the band saw working (with the addition of a new blade and more adjustments.) Mom even took a hand at it!
After they delivered the wood, hubby and I spent many evenings in the garage sanding, sanding, sanding. Our son even "helped" a little! Mostly, though, he just played in my car like he did when we were putting up cabinets. ...which was all to the good, because it provided him with a sound barrier. He refused to wear earplugs for more than 30 seconds.
I also constructed the bed's wheels, because that's what the bed sits on, and we figured (at Dad's suggestion) that they would be easier to sand as one piece--that way their circular surface would be uniform.
Then we had a party! A Bed Construction party, to be exact. My parents, hubby's parents, and hubby's sister joined us. We finished up the sanding of the pieces that had just arrived...
...and got busy constructing the darn thing!
Our son, once again, helped out a bit. It was nice to have so many people around, too. Once the sanding was done, there wasn't room around the bed for more than 4 people (2 at times) so everybody else got to watch play with the boy.
Looks like a car!
Making the bookshelf headboard--the car's spoiler.
We found the plans to be pretty easy to follow, and Dad said he found only one measurement to be a tiny bit off. We also had a difference of opinion about the air scoop (the pieces that stick out just in front of the rear wheels) but either way of constructing them would've worked, and we're very happy with the result.
We primed throughout the week and then let our son help with the paint the next weekend. He didn't last very long, though--I think he didn't like not being allowed to dip the paintbrush in the can by himself (we had to cut him off after he dipped it all the way down to his hand) or being told where to paint. So mostly it was hubby and I while he ran around the
driveway or rode his trike around (getting the occasional paint footprint on the cement.)
After the second coat it was just detail work!
We've decided to add two design embellishments (neither of which is complete yet.) The first is a gas cap. I painted the spot where gas goes in, and we're going to paint a small (maybe 3"x4") rectangle of wood the same color as the car and attach it with hinges.
The second is headlights. I went by a local bike shop, Campus Cycles, to see whether they carried loose white and yellow reflectors that I could use for headlights. To my surprise, they pulled out a big bin full of reflectors (some loose, some still in bags) and told me I could have as many as I wanted! (Can't beat that price!)
I grabbed a few, though we have yet to attach them.
Our son helped to carry it inside.
We waited until a Friday to set it up in his room, figuring that at least hubby didn't have to work the next day if our son had a rough night. Turns out we needn't have worried. He got very excited as we moved it into his room and set it up. We had to completely rearrange his room, but that didn't seem to bother him.
We were a little surprised at how much space the mattress had--we had expected it to fit more snugly--but once the bedding was in place it filled up most of the space.
After putting him to bed (with the reminder that he had to stay in bed until he fell asleep and slept through the night, and that he had to stay in his room until we came to get him the next morning) he was very quiet for about three minutes, and then he started babbling to himself, which he does before falling asleep every night. He fell asleep in about the normal amount of time, too. In fact, he hasn't woken up crying or freaked out about it at all, for either naps or bedtime, and we've had him in it for a little more than a week now.