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How To Paint A Crib (Is It Safe & Does It Save Money?)

You may have been gifted a beautiful crib or you may have kept one from a previous child but it is looking a little shabby or the color may not suit your vision for the new nursery.

You may have found the perfect crib that will see your little one through many years but the color is just not right.

There is a way for you to get the exact color of the crib that you want and that will fit in your nursery perfectly.

You can go down the DIY route and paint the crib so that it is exactly what you want. This is not only a safe option but also a more cost-effective option. 

Do not panic if you are not a good DIYer it is not a complicated or difficult task to complete well.

Can Baby Cribs Be Painted?

Yes, they most definitely can and it is one of the easiest updates that anyone can make. Almost any nursery furniture can be painted to suit your nursery decor or theme.

As long as you follow the right steps and use good quality paint you can quickly and easily transform your crib.

Many new parents are gifted or even inherit a crib. It may be a family crib that has been passed down.

In these cases, the crib may well have been in storage and maybe looking a little worse for wear with chips or damaged paint. But a quick coat of paint will transform an old tired piece of furniture into a new modern piece.

What Paint Should You Be Using?

Before you start getting on with the job at hand you need to make sure that you have all the right equipment to do the job both properly and safely. 

Firstly you will need good quality paint. This paint will also need to be water-based and should contain zero volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

Zero VOC emission paints have less than 5 grams per liter of organic compounds. Compared to 50 grams per liter in low VOC paint.

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Painting While Pregnant

This is not a simple yes or no answer. According to the American Pregnancy Association, painting a room in your house such as the nursery would only expose you to low levels of exposure.

The problem with this kind of query is that there is not a great deal of research or data on it. Another problem is that paint can include many different mixes of chemicals and exposures.

However, if you have followed the guidelines and are using paint that is water-based and contains zero VOCs and as long as the room is well ventilated there should be little issue of you being exposed to any harmful chemicals.

Paint Your Crib In 5 Easy Steps


1. Remove any grime and dirt

Before starting to apply any paint to your crib, you should first ensure that it is thoroughly cleaned of any grease or grime. the best way to clean your crib is with a clean cloth and a good quality furniture cleaner that will cut through any grime.

2. Sand the entire crib

Most cribs will already have had a layer of paint or varnish applied to them so they will need to be sanded. This will help to remove the existing coat of paint and give the crib a rougher surface to help the paint adhere to.

You will need to use good quality sandpaper of anything between 160 and 250 grit.

3. Remove sanding dust

The next thing that you need to do is to wipe the entire crib to ensure that all the sanding dust has been removed. A damp microfiber cloth will do a good job of removing the dust.

You need to pay particular attention to any corners or grooves on the wood as the dust can gather here and will ruin the appearance of your new paint.

It may be necessary to get a small clean paintbrush and brush out all the corners and grooves to ensure that all that dust is removed.

You will need to then take a dry microfiber cloth and give the crib a good wipe down to get rid of any excess moisture.

4. Apply at least two coats of paint

Once you have chosen the color that you like you must ensure that the paint chosen is non-toxic and safe to be used on nursery furniture. If you have any doubts you can check the guidelines at the top of this article.

You will need to apply one coat and leave it for at least 4 hours to dry before applying the second coat.

5. Topcoat

Most paints do not require a clear topcoat to finish the job off. it will add nothing more to the finish than another coat of the actual paint will.


Do I need to prime it?

Generally, you will only need to prime your piece if you are painting bare wood or making a drastic color change such as from black to white.

What finish should I choose for a crib?

Eggshell, gloss, or semi-gloss are all great options for a crib as they are equally durable and hardwearing. The majority of people tend to opt for a semi-gloss.

Does this method work on compressed wood?

In most cases yes. The wood would need a coat of wood primer before painting and you would need to make sure that the wood is clean and dry first. You would also need to ensure that it is not chipping or flaking.

The Final Thought

You should now have a crib that looks new and will perfectly fit in with your nursery theme and decor. Along the way, you may also have picked up some new DIY skills and even gained a real taste for upcycling furniture. 

All the hard work has been done and it is time to enjoy your beautiful new crib and await the arrival of your little one!