DIY canopy bed with rainbow curtains

“ROY-G-BIV, ROY-G-BIV,” I kept murmuring to myself as I stacked and examined different bolts. “Roy … gee … bivvvvvv.”

I was on the hunt for rainbow hues that weren’t straight out of a cartoon. I ended up removing the “I” (indigo) — all of the indigo fabrics were too dark for our pastel scheme — and swapped the “R” (red) for a deep pink. So, technically, our rainbow was “POY-G-BV,” but it worked.

Let me back up, though. I was browsing on Pinterest with our three-year-old daughter on my lap, and she spotted a canopy bed with purple curtains. She declared it the most beautiful “princess bed” in the world and asked if I could sew it for her.

(You guys remember how little I liked the purple paint she chose for those nightstands a couple of weeks ago, right? Sigh.)

Turn one end table into two nightstands {Heather's Handmade Life}
Turn one end table into two nightstands {Heather’s Handmade Life}

I agreed that a canopy bed would be fun, but how about … rainbow curtains instead? She squealed and we started sketching how it would look. We told my handy husband about our idea and he rolled his eyes good-naturedly.

Usually it takes him a while to get on board for projects, so I was shocked when he went out and bought the wood and built the bed THAT VERY SAME DAY. When Daddy’s Little Girl asks for a big project, he jumps, apparently!

He bolted four 2 x 2 boards into the existing headboard and footboard to make the four posts, and then built the “roof” of the canopy bed out of 1 x 3 strapping.

I liked the idea of painting the whole thing white (of course) but I didn’t want to paint all of our daughter’s bedroom furniture so I stained the new parts to match everything else (Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths in Maple). Her room is carpeted and I’m messy, so using stain wipes (which are exactly like baby wipes) was much tidier than digging out cans and brushes.

DIY rainbow canopy bed {Heather's Handmade Life}

I did a lot of measuring before we left for the fabric store, but I was still fuzzy on what I actually needed to buy — it didn’t seem right. Did I really need 24m of fabric? I double-checked my sketch and, yup, I did! It was 2m from the top of the bed to just skimming the floor, and I needed 11 different panels to surround the whole bed — that’s 22m. Then I needed another 2m as the ‘roof’ of the canopy.

I stuck to $3/metre solid cotton for most of the panels, with the exception of the deep pink ($9/metre) because I couldn’t find a cheaper shade that was as pretty. I splurged on a sky-blue printed with white clouds ($8/metre) for the top of the canopy because it was just too perfect.

I pre-washed and dried everything in three different loads because I wanted to be sure the finished canopy was washable. You never know what kids are going to barf on. Then I hemmed all 11 panels — white thread only, because who has time to change thread six times? — and spread the ‘roof’ out on the living room floor and started pinning.

This was, by far, the biggest, heaviest project I’ve ever sewn. Just lifting it up to manoeuvrer it over to the sewing machine was a challenge. There was just SO MUCH FABRIC.

Once I finished attaching the last panel, I dragged it upstairs and hefted it over the frame — and it fit! Our daughter jumped up and down happily as I straightened the curtains, and then we had a cookie-dough party on the bed while singing Part of Your World. It really is the perfect princess bed for our three-and-a-half year-old princess, and it’s officially the coolest bed in the house.

DIY rainbow canopy bed {Heather's Handmade Life}

(Although I wonder if she has nightmares about being trapped inside a tub of rainbow sherbet, because I’m pretty sure I would.)

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