Monday, March 4, 2013

Shabby Chic Toddler Bed

Shabby Chic Toddler Bed Tutorial

Here is the before picture:

I was looking to build a toddler bed for a very special little girl. Originally, I was going to take parts of an old broken toddler bed I had and rearrange and fix it. But then..... I passed this older model baby crib that was sitting on the curb at a house on the way to my daughters school. I passed it 3 times.... waiting for the perfect time to load it in my car. So one afternoon, my son and I drove back and I loaded the whole darn thing in my car and drove it home. ( Sigh....still having buyers remorse for selling my much bigger SUV to save on gas money.)

So I unloaded into my shop and got to work. 

The crib included a head and footboard, two large side rails and a spring board for the mattress. 

Here are the overall dimensions of the finished bed:

53.5 inches long

33.5 inches wide (widest part of side trim)

30.5 inches tall- (highest part of headboard)

First, I removed all hardware from the crib, the casters, screws etc.

Cutting down:

Starting with creating the headboard and footboard here is what I did:

I took the original crib end piece and cut it down with my circular saw...

I cut off only the inner 5 supports, then removed the bottom panel. 

Then cut the legs down leaving space for the bottom panel - (it has preexisting grooves from the inner rails) to be reattached:
Headboard- height becomes 30.5 inches to tallest part

Then, I added the back panel back on with my back rubber hammer. It fit perfectly. Sorry don't have a pic of that step. 

Then I repeated the same steps to make the footboard, I had no formula for this I just wanted it about 5 inches shorter. The footboard became 26.25 inches tall. Then I sanded with my orbital sander with 120 grit sandpaper disks, nothing CRAZY, just to get a lot of the shiny finish off of the oak. 

Then I added the hooks on the legs for the the spring board to attach the head and footboard. The hooks came from the original crib. I cut them in half so the springboard could be raised or lowered by about 3 inches each. The upper hooks sits at 9 inches off the ground, the lower hooks sit at 6 inches. 

Next, I needed some support for the bed. I went and purchased two 8 foot 1x6's pre-primed, I cut them to join the headboard and footboard the final size of each rail was at 53.5 inches long. I could have used parts of the railings from the original crib but decided against that.... This just became the more practical way of building the bed. 

I laid a 1x4 below the rail, to ensure the height was the same all around the bed, and clamped the rail to the legs, then screwed on with countersunk bed bolt screws. 

Then I added the mattress to see if everything was fitting properly. The mattress was my mom's it just came out of the beach condo she sold :( 

Lookin good!

Then I attached the other side and still needed more support for the bed.  So I added two more 1x6's (from the original 8 foot pieces) and joined them perpendicular to the side rails, but under the spring board. At last I added a 2x6 on the bottom (scrap piece of wood) to support the entire structure, they were all attached with countersunk deck screws 2.5 inches long.

Added structure, I was not sure how much I would need.

Now, my daughter testing out the weight etc. Pretty sturdy!

Then my daughter helped me by covering up all of the original screw holes from the original crib, we used wood filler. This is her favorite thing to help do in the shop. We allowed them to dry then sanded off the excess.

Then I drug the bed outside to spray kilz it!

Then, I decided the bed needed a little "jazz". So I added some chair railing that I had as scrap so, some pieces I had to join together, to cover up a lot of the rail holes. I clamped them on then used a brad nailer to attach the trim. 

Note: before this point, the bed was able to be taken completely apart, then since I nailed on the trim and caulked it - it would be more difficult to...but could still be taken apart. 

Then I caulked it with my favorite white "alex" brand trim caulk, and wiped the excess with a damp sponge. 

Then, I did a light sand with 220 grit sandpaper, by hand, to the whole thing. 

Then, I painted the whole bed white with left over white paint from another project. 

Glidden semi-gloss in white base- not mixed, just from off the shelf in the paint aisle.

Then - after the paint dried about 4 hours,  to create the "shabby chic" part of the bed, I used my 220 grit sandpaper and sanded over the paint all over by hand... pretty lightly, but harder in places where I wanted to see the oak peek through. Then I wiped all of the dust off with a damp cloth. 


Then I added a stenciled "k." And scroll-y lines. The k stencil was printed using the font "BlauKai" and the scroll stencil was from the wingdings "Nymphette". I just downloaded free fonts from online and typed them out in pages (my mac software) then blew them up (font at about 270) and printed them out onto sturdy  scrapbooking paper. Then, I cut them out with my eyebrow scissors (lol) to get the fine curve cut out. I taped the stencil on using frog painters tape.

For the stencils- I used a sample paint I have had for years in a drawer, I wanted a bluish-grey color to stay with the "shabby-chic" theme. It's Benjamin Moore- Riviera Azure

I dabbed the paint on using a foam brush, then peeled off the stencil. Same for the letter k on the headboard. 

 After all of this was dry I sprayed about 3 coats of poly-acrylic and allowed to dry overnight. 

Now for the closeups!

I heart it!

Hope you love this tutorial!

Drop me a line- Like us on Facebook. 

Happy Building



  1. How bout a boy bed! Natural wood?

  2. Sure, stained pine, hard oak, or a darker blue spray painted.

  3. GREAT Job! Very creative! Where did you get the quilt and bedding??

    1. The quilt and bedding is from Pottery Barn Kids circa 2006 (aka vintage LOL!)....I think it was called Cassandra collection.

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