How to Paint a Baby Crib? Save Money and DIY

February 18, 2022

Painting a baby crib: a step by step guide

The light of your life has joined your family and it’s only natural that you are looking for the best baby furniture out there to ensure that your baby’s well-being and comfort are being taken care of.

You might even have already found the perfect baby crib that will safely sleep your baby for the years to come but it could be that it doesn’t come in the right color.

After all, every brand offers its models in specific colors and if you can’t find one that matches the nursery’s palette and design, there isn’t much else you can do.

Well, there is always the option to have your baby crib custom made but that it’s usually a very expensive solution. Have you ever considered a much more affordable and, above all, safe alternative?

To paint the baby crib yourself, the old DIY route. It’s far from anything complex or difficult and even if you aren’t handy at all with brushes and paint, it will prove a piece of cake!

Can baby cribs be painted?

Yes, you can paint any baby crib, cot or bassinet with almost no exceptions. If you follow the right steps, as described below, you can easily and quickly apply a new color to your baby crib.

It’s not uncommon that new parents sometimes inherit or are being gifted second-hand baby cribs given to them by friends or family members who don’t need the baby crib anymore. In these cases, the surface of the baby crib may be shipped, nicked, fainted, or damaged in general so a hand of paint will do wonders to make it look brand new again.

How to paint a baby crib in 7 steps

But first things first, before you go running to grab the necessary tools and materials for painting your brand new baby crib, let’s take a breather and make sure you read the following carefully.

Your baby’s safety is above everything else so we need to make 100% sure that the paint you’ll get is:

  • zero VOC
  • non-toxic
  • odorless
  • baby safe all round

Once you find the color of your liking, that’s when the fun part starts!

Follow the steps below to ensure a professional-looking job:

1. Remove grime and dirt

Before you start applying any paint, you need to make sure that the baby crib is clean and free of any grime or dirt as even the smallest speck of dust will mess the paint later on. You can use a clean cloth to wipe the baby crib clean and you can even use some furniture cleaner if a cloth and water aren’t enough:

furniture cleaner

2. Sand the wood

Before applying the new paint of your liking you need to remove the existing cot of paint and expose the more “rough” inner surface of the wood for the new coat of paint. Depending on the quality of your baby crib and the manufacturing process you will need to sand the wood enough to remove all traces of existing paint.

Get some quality sandpaper — anything between #160 and #250 grit sandpaper will work fine:

Scuff all the large surfaces of the baby crib carefully. The more evenly you scuff the existing paint, the better the new paint will bond with the wood.

3. Wipe off any leftover sanding dust

Use a simple microfiber damp cloth to wipe off any sanding dust that has been left after scuffing the baby crib. Pay attention to any inward corners and indentations as you don’t want any remaining sanding dust to blend with the fresh coat of paint and ruin the appearance of your baby crib.

The Amazon Basics microfiber clothes will work wonders and you can wash them and reuse them 100s of times:

Finally, use a clean and dry microfiber cloth to wipe any water or moisture left.

4. Select a color of your choice

Now, this is the most crucial part as you need to make sure to buy baby-safe, non-toxic furniture paint!

Renaissance’s furniture paint is non-toxic, contains zero VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) and zero emissions. It’s 100% safe for your baby and your family and you can find a wide range of colors to create the ideal color:

Tip: get some more in case you run out, make a mistake or want to readjust the quantities for the right shade. If you have more left over, you can always apply another coat, or even better, use it for another DIY project. Better safe than sorry.

5. Use medium to small sized paint brushes

Since a baby crib usually doesn’t have any hugely large surfaces like a dinner table, any medium-sized nylon bristly paint brush should do just fine. Get a couple medium ones and a few smaller ones for all the difficult-to-reach spots:

6. Slowly apply the first coat of paint

After you have mixed your colors and come up with the right shade, use slow even strokes up and down and apply the first coat of paint to your baby crib. Leave to dry for 2-4 hours and then apply the second coat of paint. If you have opted for the Renaissance paints as suggested earlier, one coat is enough but applying the second one will ensure a deeper and more solid color and should you mark or scuff the baby crib in the future, it will be harder to remove the paint.


7. Let it dry for one night

Let it one night to dry (although modern paints dry within a couple of hours – make sure to check the label). Modern paints are also odorless so you shouldn’t have any issues, but it’s always advisable to open windows and doors and let the room breathe for a couple of days.

Enjoy your brand new crib!

We are excitedly waiting to see your custom-painted baby cribs. Please feel free to share your experience and a photo of the baby crib in the comments section down below.

Sandra McNeil, PhD.

Sandra McNeil, PhD.

Sandra has over 13 years of experience as a child psychologist, both as a practitioner and researcher. She has a Bachelor's in child psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and then she did her master's in Psychology in Education (focused on Children & Families) at Columbia University, NY. She has been writing for health and child-related publications for over 5 years now.

  1. Been doing refinishing for years. Now I will be a Grandma soon. I have my kids Pine dark stained 45 yr old Hedstrome high chair. I plan on sanding then painting spindles but the Tray I would like to sand & leave natural. Some carpenters tell me to give 6 coats of Mineral Oil just to the tray. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Baby Cribs Central April 9, 2021 at 9:17 pm

      Hi Christine,

      Congratulations on becoming a grandma and welcoming a new addition to the family, it’s always an exciting time! In regards to the Mineral Oil application from our experience, we’ve found that applying 3 to 4 coats at first and then every few months will keep the wood looking fresh and brand new. Your mileage may vary depending on the quality of the wood, the thickness, and the condition of the surface. 6 coats of mineral oil seems a bit excessive but always listen to experienced carpenters. Hope this helps.

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