Are you wondering what to do with your toddler’s baby crib?
Kids outgrow their things shortly after you bought them — clothes, toys, beds, etc.
Sure, you can always hand them down to a younger sibling or donate them to orphans, but what if you want to get the most out of your money?
Hence, this DIY crib-into-toddler bed project!
How to Turn Crib into Toddler Bed
A baby crib is a small, cage-like bed designed especially for infants.
It has sides that are too high for the baby to restrict the baby to the bed.
Once the baby turns around two to three years of age though, he will be able to climb out of the crib. Then, it is the time to move him to a toddler bed.
There are so-called convertible cribs in the market today that are worth it.
They can be refurbished to get along with your child’s size as he grows.
When you have a convertible crib, turning it into a toddler bed is easy.
In fact, you can treat it as a major project.
The Materials Needed
Here are the materials that you would need to prepare before doing this project:
- 12’ x ¾’ board
- 4’ x ¾’ board
- ¼ inch cap nut
- ¼ inch crown bolt
- 2’ x 2’ post
You can use any specific kind of wood for your crib.
However, if you are planning to paint it later, then you should use poplar boards.
Whichever board or wood you use, though, make sure that its width is the right measurement so that the bolt can easily go through and you can adjust it accordingly.
The measurement of the board and bolt are important since the bolt goes through the front and interior of the crib.
There should also be adequate space for the nut to hold the board but avoid too much excess space.
Usually, a two-inch bolt is used because both pieces together measure 1.5 inches in which the remaining 0.5 inches is intended for the nut.
Step 1 — Start Planning!
Not all cribs are constructed the same, and they come in different designs.
Some cribs are intended for twins; others are designed to be converted into a toddler bed.
Some cribs can be turned into a toddler bed.
There will come a time that your little kid will outgrow his crib.
By then, you should be ready to start your project and turn his crib into a toddler bed.
As early as now, you should plan how you would do it. This is so that you can prepare everything that you would need beforehand.
Step 2 — Create the Front Board
Got all the tools ready? Then, let’s begin!
If you come to think of it, when both sides of the convertible crib are removed, the crib is already transformed into a toddler bed with a bizarrely tall head and footboard.
By removing only one side, though, it becomes a day bed.
To create the front board of a toddler bed, you need to do the following:
Take the measurement of the bolt height
You can find the four areas where the front of the crib is attached on the same both sides — one is connected to the slats that sustain the mattress, the other one is connected to the side posts.
Check the back of the crib board and measure the distance between each of the bolts and the floor.
Once you have done this, label them as outside (the measurement attached to the support) and inside (measurement on the slats) so you can be sure that the crib is level when you build the new board.
Cut the board according to the right length
Most front boards have similar sizes because of the standard size of the mattress. However, the width might differ a bit because of the width of the sides.
You can go for a 56-inch length in which there will be a small excess left on the ends.
Get rid of the current crib front to make way for the new one
Detach the old crib front by unscrewing the bolts. After that, attach the new crib front.
Determine the width of the bolt
The bolt width depends on the type of the crib you have.
You can use the side support as your reference. Get the distance between the outsides of the side support and the hole on the support, and between the outside of the side support and the slats.
Then, add the overhang of the front board to determine the correct measurement from the outside of the board to the hole.
Put a mark on each hole and drill
After getting the measurements required for the support bolts, mark each of them.
Then, drill the holes. Make two straight lines on each side at each width you need, and then put a mark on the right height on each line.
Fasten the new board
Attach the new board to the front of the crib to guarantee that it fits. Bolt it to secure it properly.
Step 3 — Build the Bed Rails
Bed rails are still crucial for the toddler bed. This part secures the child by preventing him from falling off the bed while he sleeps.
You can build the bed rails by following the steps below.
Cut the rail board
There is no required measurement for the rail board.
You can cut whatever length you want, but most people cut it at 35 inches.
This length is enough to protect the child but gives enough space as well so that the child is able to crawl in and out the bed.
Cut the poles
Cut the poles around 10 inches in height. This measurement is enough to keep the child from rolling out.
Then, cut the notches on each end. The notches must measure 3.5 inches deep and ¾ inches wide so the rail and sideboards could slide inside.
You can cut the poles in your own unique way, but a jigsaw will work out perfectly fine.
Attach the rail boards into the post
Use glue to attach them. First, slip the rails into the notches that you can take out on the posts to check if they fit.
When they fit, put enough amount of glue onto the notches, compress them, and set aside to dry.
Soften the edges
The edges and joints will be sharp, which means that they will not be safe for the child.
Hence, when the glue dries, sand the sharp parts, so they are flush and softened.
Step 4 — Check to See if Every Part Fits Together
Now that you have every part necessary for the transformation check whether each of them fits with each other.
You can do it by following the instructions below.
Connect the front board on the bed
Fasten the front board on the bed and slip the side onto the front board.
Determine where you would like to park the side rails. There is no exact measurement; what matters is you leave enough space for the child to climb in and out.
Also, leave an area on the side where the child’s feet will be when he sleeps.
Connect the rails
While the rails are in place, drill a hole through them and through the front board.
This is to guarantee that everything is all lined up. Repeat the same method for both sides.
Take down the parts for finishing
Disassemble the rails and take off the board from the crib. Prepare the parts for the following step.
Step 5 — Finishing and Painting
Before attaching every part together, make sure that they have soft edges and correct measurement.
This step also makes everything look presentable. You can design the front board in any way you or your child likes.
Sand the edges
You can do whatever you want to soften the edges.
You might want to give it a little detail or add a more fun design that can suit the overall look of the crib.
If you are not a creative person, you can simply sand the edges to get rid of the sharp edges.
The most important part of this procedure is to eradicate the dangerous edges that might hurt the child.
Give the edges final sanding
Use a casual orbital sander and fine grit sandpaper onto the edges once again.
This is to give a smooth surface and eradicate any blemishes for painting.
Paint the parts
If you plan to paint the wood, then you should use a primer first. Then, paint it with whatever color you want.
On the other hand, if you plan to stain them, there is no need to use a primer.
However, consider applying polyurethane to protect it from the child.
Step 6 — Final Assembly!
When you have finished painting the parts, and all of them are dry, put them back together as you did in Step 4.
This crib-turned-into-a-toddler bed can last for at least several months or years even, depending on how you take care of it.
The child or children who will use it will put it to test. A good toddler bed will withstand the test of time and hold up with no issue.
Therefore, it is essential to have the correct measurements and to attach the parts tightly.
Simpler Method of Turning Crib into Toddler Bed
We have presented a very detailed way on how to turn a crib into a toddler bed.
With this very detailed information, you can easily do it yourself without seeking professional help. It helps you save a lot of money.
Then again, the project we just shared above might be a little too complicated for some parents. After all, not all of us have DIY skills hidden up our sleeves.
For a simpler method of converting a crib into a toddler bed, here are the steps to follow:
- Remove the screw of the four bolts that attach the stationary side of the crib in place.
- Detach the stationary side.
- Transfer the spring frame of the crib to the most bottom level. Lock the frame using the same bolts and washers that are already holding the structure in place.
- Attach the guardrail to the front board of the crib.
- Mount the guardrail with the bolts that come for this purpose.
- After securing the parts with the screws, loosen them at around ½ of a turn. Make some adjustments.
- Re-tighten the screws when the bed is assembled. However, do not over tighten them as they might break or distort the wood.
If you miss a part, do not try to use a substitute. Ask the manufacturer for a replacement.
If you want to convert the toddler bed back into a crib, fill in the screw holes so that the screws will fit properly into the holes.
You can also ask a professional at a local hardware shop for expert advice.
We all know that babies quickly outgrow the things that they use — sfrom their shoes to their clothes and their crib.
This is one of the reasons why raising a baby is very costly.
Fortunately for us, there are some baby equipment and gear that can be converted into something that they can use when they grow older. Among these pieces of equipment is the baby crib.
Turning a crib into a toddler bed is not that hard.
We have presented you the step-by-step process, so it should be easy to do. You can even do it yourself without asking for help from the professional.
It is important to secure all the parts of the toddler bed, remove any sharp edges, and leave adequate space for the kids to get in and out of it.
Railings are also necessary to keep the kids from rolling off the bed. Additionally, you should also remember to secure the parts correctly.
This will not only prevent accidents from happening but also help the toddler bed last for many years.
And, that’s it! We wish you all the best on this project, and good luck!