I’m starting off with one of my very favorite DIY projects – the Batmobile! What strapping young superhero fan wouldn’t want a Batmobile bed of their own? Miles ate it up for a time, until he decided trains were way cooler than Batman, much to my consternation. I assume it’s a phase and he’ll come back around to the universal truth that Batman is clearly the coolest thing. Like ever. But hey, he’s 4, so I’ll let him think that hauling freight is better than, say, fighting crime and having insane bat-gadgets and being the only hero DC can apparently make a decent movie out of and, uh, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, Miles. Yeah, he likes trains now.
But that’s a different project for a different post!
We started off with a plain old Little Tikes race car twin bed. We actually got it second hand from a friend, and as I’m looking them up now they’re pretty hard to find, which is a giant buzzkill. Also apparently they came in black (which would have made this project a lot easier), but the one we had was blue and beggars really can’t be choosers, now can they? I actually considered doing a blue-and-grey theme Batmobile bed like classic pre-1990s Batman:
We ultimately wanted to go with the black and yellow Batmobile bed, though – Miles chose that one since it matched his toys. So off we went!
Of course, since it was blue, we spray painted the whole thing black first. I used the good Rust-Oleum spray paint for better coverage and adhesion to plastic. That was all I used because I wasn’t too concerned with scratch resistance since it was just going into one of our own kid’s bedrooms and I could touch it up as needed – if you want a more durable surface you could either topcoat with a couple of layers of clearcoat, lacquer, or even some kind of automotive paint or clearcoat if you had the time and money to do so. I didn’t (well, I might have, but I didn’t have the want-to to do it for sure), so regular black spray paint did the job.
Next, I took some scrap 1/4 inch A/B plywood I had lying around to make the adornments – if you don’t know about plywood ratings, A/B has one side that is pretty clear and smooth. If I was buying plywood for this project I might have gone B/C or even a thicker hardboard material to save money, but since I already had it the cost was free and free is awesome.
Forgive these grainy phone pics but it’s what I had at the time. I used a stencil for the Bat-symbols used around the Batmobile and hand drew the fins to go on the back. I’m not an artist so the fins aren’t a masterpiece, but the greatest thing about building for a 3-year-old boy is that he thinks it’s amazing no matter what (you know how you see your kid’s art and it’s museum quality regardless of what it actually is, solely because your kiddo did it for you? Yeah, that works both ways and I love it).
I used my (ancient at the time – a hand me down from my Grandpa) jigsaw to cut these out. I’ve since gotten a scroll saw and it makes cutting those intricate detail things like the logo so much easier.
I used simple screws to attach these into the plastic. You can see where I used just one in the photo, but trust me- use two to keep it from spinning out. You might get away with using glue here but I just didn’t trust the adhesion (as well as knowing the potential for destruction that comes with a 3-year-old).
On the sides, I aligned the fins with the inside of the backs – you’ll see above that I had built a tab into them on the bottom – and just screwed them in. If you had the time and patience, you could have cut or routed slots into the plastic and set them in and attached with brackets, but once again I (ahem) didn’t have either.
Once everything was attached, assembled the Batmobile bed inside.
I don’t remember where we got the comforter set from but this one from Amazon is way better for a Batmobile bed and I would have gotten it if it had been available at the time.
We did some other work on his room at the time along with the Batmobile bed, but now it’s all been (sigh) scrapped in favor of trains. On a good note, though, I’m in the process of building him an amazing caboose bed that I’ll document as it gets done.
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