How to Build a Crib in Just One Weekend

Reader Project

While his pregnant wife Michela was out of town, Ohdeedoh reader Christian decided to surprise her with a completed crib upon her return. In just one weekend, he drew up the plans, bought the lumber and built this gorgeous crib. Total cost: About a hundred dollars. Keep reading for Christian's description of this lovely, inspiring project.

Christian wrote in to tell us exactly how he went about turning his sketches into reality:

I'm not a carpenter, but my father is – working as a general contractor on Cape Cod – and growing up I've done my share of framing and building. To get started I contacted my father to discuss the general approach and have him fax over some sketches of the joinery. From there, I drew out plans to meet a standard mattress and California safety specifications, and then produced a lumber list.

I intended to build the crib out of all hardwood, but considering the cost of lumber, I adjusted to use fir for the frame, pine for the headboard and footboards and poplar for the balusters. As I planned to use 4x4 posts (which are not common for many lumber yards out here), I had the lumber yard mill a couple of 4x6 fir timbers and used the offcuts for the rails.

The crib is 56.25 inches in length, 33 inches wide, with the headboard and footboard reaching 50 inches in height. The plans were designed to allow me to complete the construction with only a table saw and mitre saw, in addition to a few hand tools. The joints are rabbeted with a dado blade on the table saw, allowing the rails to slot in to the posts a quarter inch. These joints are secured with timber screws and wood glue on three sides, allowing one side to be removed easily. The rails on all four sides have channels cut in them with the dado blade to receive the balusters and boards at the head and foot. The bottom rails on the long sides also have grooves cut to receive the 1 inch plywood base. We're able to raise and lower the platform by using a couple of cross-beams cut from the scrap. The moon was cut out of the head and foot boards with a jigsaw I borrowed, and the stars were created with a hand drill.

I was able to pick up the lumber on a Friday and complete the construction within the weekend. Michela and I primed the crib together the following weekend when she returned. We painted much of the framing with a deep red paint and then painted the entire crib off-white, allowing us to sand down the edges of the white crib and reveal some of the red paint below. As the paint is worn and chipped over time, more of the red paint will be exposed. We're traveling to Italy for the birth and first weeks, where Michela's nonna (our baby's great grandmother) will make the bedding for the crib!

Thanks so much for sharing, Christian!