Tips for Building a Beautiful Wooden Crib

If you currently have children or you are expecting, there's going to be a time where you need to build a wooden crib. All cribs are not the same and there is some things that you need to taking into consideration. Prior to gathering your materials, work out your plan. The time to build a crib may not take as long as you think depending on the concept and structure you are thinking about creating. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when trying to build a wooden crib.


Your first goal is to choose the lumber stock you want to use. Cost may be a huge factor in this decision, however it all depends on what you're looking to build. A high quality pine, cedar and maple may suit you just fine, who knows. Here are the items to have on your checklist:

1/2 x 48 round hardwood dowels
3/8" brass rod - mortise & tenon joint pins
1 x 6 x 4 lumber stock - rails
2x4x8 lumber stock - legs and mattress support beams

Dimensions and Construction 

In this area it all goes back to what type of crib your trying do make. However, there are some cribs where the front legs maybe lower than the back and have side rails. When dealing with the legs, we recommend a bosch saw, since you need to cut them into four 36 inch pieces directly from the 2 x 4 x 8 stock. When you begin to work on the rails focus on making the lower ones a little wider than the upper ones, this gives it a nice appeal. Your overall crib should be based off of the dimensions in regards to your mattress you picked out. From there, you want to concentrate on the mortise and tenon joints that will join the rails in the legs to create the cribs frame. As a reminder, it's a standard rule that the tenons must be between 1/3 and 1/2 thickness based on the lumber it is derived from.

With 1 inch thick upper and lower rails, this allows you to make ½” thick tenons. You also want to make sure that your mortise that is on the legs is 1 1/2 inch deep. Your upper rails should run easily when it comes to the tops for the cribs legs. Bottom rails should also have at least 6 inches from the floor. This leaves you with 22 inch dowels.

When you decide to disassemble your crib for storage, you will have to pin the mortise and tenon joints from the frame instead of gluing them. You will need to drill holes through the joints and put in a 3/8 inch brass rod to secure them together. So when you disassemble all you need to do is tap the pin out. The only thing that is left is for you to stay in, paint and finish up the crib to your liking. Obviously, there are several different choices when it comes to creating your own type of crib to suit your family's tastes.

Types of Wooden Cribs 

Farmhouse crib
Pine wood crib
Rustic crib
Convertible crib
Walnut or Maple
Sleigh Crib


This part is entirely up to you and how you want to decorate your crib for your child. Obviously if it's a boy or girl you may want to use selective linen, specific colors or design it based on a special theme. If you're going for a more polished look try tapering your dolls, starting from the center down, all the way to the ends. However, you can consider using prefabbed crib spindle's which can be beautiful as well.

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Building a crib for your baby can be an exciting task. It's important to follow some of these tips to ensure things go smoothly. Make sure you have the efficient materials to get the job done. As anything, do you research if you have a specific type of wooden crib in mind. If you have selected the right kind of material, mapped out a plan, then you really shouldn't have any problems.

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Jennifer Shackelford

Hi, I’m Jennifer, the founder and editor of On The Mama Needs, I write about experience with pregnancy, raising kids, and nutrition for both kids and expectant moms.. I love that blogging brings parents together and lets our readers know they’re not the only ones going through these experiences. I love seeing comments on my posts that say “I thought it was just me! I’m so glad it’s not!” Being a parent is hard, but friends and blogs really help.

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