You are ecstatic about having your first baby. You decide that the best way to prove that you are a proud poppa (or momma) is to build a beautiful crib that could be passed down to your grandchildren. No matter what your woodworking skill level is, you decide it is worth the extra effort because (1) you can customize your crib however you want (type, style, colors), (2) you are building something that will always show your son or daughter how much they mean to you, and (3) you can say to everyone who visits, “look, I did that!“
How do you ensure that you will create a baby crib that looks the way you want it to and won’t fall apart? With all of the baby crib plans out there, how do you make sure you are choosing the right one? Even more importantly, how do you make sure the plan will build a safe crib for your young one?
Mike Best of Best Baby Furniture Plans offers the following tips:
Choosing a Simple-to-Use Baby Crib Plan
1. Choose a plan that lists the difficulty level. If you have never picked up a saw before, go for something in the “one star” beginner range. Start with something small, like a toy or wall décor, before tackling the more expensive and time-consuming projects.
2. Know how much time will be required. If the baby is due next week, you probably aren’t going to finish the crib in time, no matter how much of an expert you are. Give yourself a realistic deadline and then pad more time in there.
3. Pick a baby crib plan that lists all of the required lumber and materials. It’s easier to check items off of your Lowe’s shopping list than it is to make fourteen return trips because the plans did not mention wood glue or 60 grit sandpaper. Account for the type and quantity needed of lumber, nails, fasteners, glue, stain, paint, hardware, and accessories.
4. Identify the tools you need. Some plans will list all of the required hand tools and power tools to build your baby crib, while other plans will require some deductive reasoning (“the plan mentions nails, so I’m going to need a hammer…”). Keep in mind that you can rent tools from home improvement stores, borrow tools from neighbors, or purchase used tools on eBay. Don’t get stuck buying a $200 dovetail jig that you may never use again.
5. Ensure that measurements are listed on the plan. You are using a plan because someone else already did all of the difficult design work, so make sure all of the details are listed. Always verify measurements and dimensions before you make your cuts. Tracing templates can be a great way to make sure that pieces will fit together before pulling out the expensive oak boards.
6. Look for drawings and step-by-step instructions. If you are a visual person, “cut a 45-degree angle adjacent to the end of the first cut” may not mean much to you. Diagrams, sketches, and photos help. In addition, step-by-step instructions allow you to “digest” your project in small bits and provide stopping points. The easier the instructions are to read and understand, the better your baby crib will turn out.
Choosing a Safe Baby Crib Plan
No matter how great the baby crib plan is, if it is not designed with safe specifications, it is not worth the potential risk to your child. Below are some of the current guidelines identified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
1. Slats should be no more than 2 3/8″ (6.03 cm), about the width of a soda can.
2. Corner posts should not be over 1/16″ (0.16 cm) high.
3. There should not be any cutout designs in the headboard or footboard.
4. All wood and hardware should be sanded and secured. The hardware and lumber you install should not be loose, missing, or broken.
Using these tips will reduce your stress and help you to build a fabulous crib for your new addition. Make sure your baby crib plans fit your skill level and personal needs, confirm that the plans meet safety specifications, and give yourself enough time to complete (and enjoy!) your new project. Now get out there and make your baby proud!