5 Tips for Painting a Wooden Baby Crib

A white baby crib sits in a room with blue walls and a hardwood floor.

An attractive, well-painted baby crib tends to be the centerpiece in an infant’s room. Many times, old wooden cribs need to be repainted, but some newer cribs might need a new coat of color to accommodate the parents’ personal style of decor. This article discusses some tips that can help you when you get ready to paint your newborn's new bed.

Get the Crib Ready

If your crib has never been painted, then all you will need to do to prep it is sand the wood using sandpaper, and to clean the remaining dust with a cloth. However, if the crib is used and has been painted before, you will have to start by stripping the old paint. A stripping solution along with a paint scraper should do the trick, but if there are multiple layers of old paint or the paint is just proving hard to remove, you may need to try more heavy-duty methods. Once the wood is paint-free, sand it just like you would have a new one.

Add Primer

You will need to use a primer to seal the wood before the paint can be applied. Be sure that you match your primer type with your paint type. For example, a latex-based paint should only be used atop a latex-based primer.

Choose the Right Paint and Tools

Select whatever colors you’d like depending on the design you have in mind for the room. It is best to use neutral colors like white, yellow, etc., as they’re bright and lively and will likely translate better to the new decor as the child ages. Otherwise, use pastel colors and complementary colors if you plan to use more than one.

Using spray paints is not advisable, as it can't easily reach the inside of the slats. Ensure the paint is safe to use around young children. Milk paint is environmentally-friendly and safe for the delicate baby. This is available at most DIY and home improvement stores.

A roller will be much better than a paintbrush at giving a smooth and professional look. You will still need a smaller paintbrush, though, for reaching any difficult areas.

Protect the Floors

Use a cloth or newspaper to protect the floor from paint spills and drips. Don’t worry too much if accidental spills still happen; there are plenty of products available for removing unwanted paint.

Allow for Plenty of Dry Time

Make sure the primer is completely cured before starting with the topcoat, and always allow the paint to air dry as directed before applying any additional coats. Allow at least two days for the crib to completely dry and disperse the fumes. When the job is completed, keep a few bowls of white vinegar around the room for four to five days. This will help absorb all paint fumes and make it safe for the baby.