If you have pets you enjoy pampering, consider making them bunk beds out of PVC pipe. PVC is modular and very easy to work with. It is also very strong when joined by PVC fixtures, especially if you decide to glue the joints. After the bunk beds are built, you’ll lay the pets’ beds on the frames and provide a small staircase for a small dog to reach the upper bunk. If the beds are for your cats, stairs are not necessary.
Step 1: Plan Your Pets’ Bunk Beds
The first step is to layout the plans for the bunk beds on a sheet of paper. This particular set of beds will be stackable and 2 feet wide by approximately 3 feet in length. They will be 2 feet apart vertically. The top bed will have rails on 3 sides.
Step 2: Make the Cuts
It’s easier if you measure and make all of the cuts at the same time. PVC comes in 10 foot lengths, so factor that in your cutting. You need to cut the following: 18 - 2 foot lengths and four 3-foot lengths. You will need one more section that will be closer to 4 feet, but measure that last. You will four full pieces of PVC to cut all of the 2-foot lengths and two full pieces for the 3-foot lengths. Use either a miter saw or a handsaw.
Step 3: Cut the 3-foot Lengths Down Further
The side frames of both beds will consist of two 3-foot pieces cut down into 5 equal parts to include the T-joints for the cross pieces. Cut four of the 3-foot pieces each into five equal sections. That is approximately 7.2 inches per section.
Step 4: Assemble the Bottom Bunk
Take the five equal sections of each of the two sides of the bottom bunk and line them up parallel to each other. Join the five sections of each side with T-joints. The free joints of each T should all face the same way. Use four 2-foot sections to join the two sides by lining up the T-joints. Take two more 2-foot lengths and place a 4-way joint at either end. Fasten each of these end pieces to the ends of both sides. The bottom frame is assembled. There should a joint at all four sides facing the floor and one facing up.
Step 5: Assemble the Top Bunk
Assemble the top frame the same way as the bottom: cut two 3-foot lengths into five equal pieces, join the pieces with T-joints and connect the sides with 2-foot pieces making a flat, gridiron-shaped frame. Into each of the four joints facing up, place a 2-foot piece. At the top of these four upright pieces, attach another 4-way joint. Directly above the bottom bunk, connect the top frame to the four 4-way joints. Finish the top frame by adding two more 2-foot pieces at the ends.
Step 6: Make the Upper Rail
You are left with four upward-facing joints from the top bunk. Using leftover PVC tube, cut four 6-inch lengths and place each of them into the four joints. The rail will be three-sided with one long side left out. Assuming you are looking at the top bunk from above with it positioned vertically to you, on the bottom and upper left corners place a three-sided joint with the two free joints facing their adjacent corners. At the bottom and upper right corners place two elbow joints each facing the 3-sided joint. Connect two 2-foot sections of pipe at the short ends. Measure the adjusted distance on the long side and cut a last section of pipe to fit between the three-way joints.
Depending on the weight of the animals, you may want to glue the joints. PVC holds well even without glue, though. Firmly tapping on all joints with a rubber mallet will secure them very well. You may, however, want to glue every joint. You may also choose to spray paint the whole arrangement. Once dry, place the pet beds on the frames and place steps leading up to the top bunk. Your pets now have their very own bunk beds.