how to safely paint a baby crib

How to Paint a Baby Crib Like a Pro {5 Simple Steps}

Maybe you’re expecting a baby sooner or later, and you needed a crib to ensure the baby’s well-being and comfort.

Unfortunately, the crib you got didn’t come in the right color. You would love it to match the nursery’s palette and design of the room, but you’re not sure if you can paint the crib all by yourself.

Well, we are here to help. We created a simple step-by-step guide on how to paint a baby crib that will help you pull it off, even if you aren’t handy at all with brushes and paint.

Should You Paint the Crib Yourself or Hire an Expert?

Can you use spray paint on a crib

If you’re on a budget, hiring a professional painter is probably not a good idea because it is going to cost you an arm and a leg.

Depending on the location and season, hiring an expert painter might cost around $100 to $250 for a standard crib painting job.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Not all professionals will charge equally, especially painters who lived in areas with a higher cost of living. They are more than inclined to charge higher up to $300 or more.

But one thing is certain: you’ll get nothing short of a professional result. Anyone who sees the job will testify it was handled by a specialist.

Taking the DIY route, on the other hand, will be a preferable alternative if you’re budget-minded or a DIY enthusiast.

It’s a no brainer that doing it yourself will cut down expenses. But more importantly, learning something new is refreshing.

Interestingly, you don’t have to be an expert painter to lay down a professional-looking result because painting a baby’s crib is not rocket science.

With the help of our guide, you can skip the hassle and cost of contractors and make it a DIY project.

We believe anyone can achieve high-quality results by their hands because we made the processes so easy that anyone can do it.

Besides, it doesn’t require the use of heavy-duty tools, technical learning curves, or decades of painting experience.

Things you will need for the job

  • Clean cloth
  • furniture cleaner (optional)
  • medium 180 to 220-grit sandpaper
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Non-VOCs paints
  • High-quality synthetic bristle paintbrush or paint sprayer (optional)

How to Paint a Baby Crib

How to Paint a Baby Crib

By now, I guess you have gotten all the necessary tools needed to paint your baby’s crib, let’s now look at how to safely paint a baby crib like a pro.

Step1: Remove grime and dirt

First and foremost, you need to dismantle the crib piece by piece, so the next line of action will be easy.

Then start wiping each bar one step at a time with a clean cloth and water. You can as well use a furniture cleaner, but make sure at the end of the day the crib is clean, dry, and free of dirt or grime.

Step2: Sand the wood

Do you have to sand the crib before painting it?

Some DIYers may claim it’s not necessary to sand the baby bed before painting.

But generally, sanding woody furniture is indeed a milestone for creating small, rough ridges on the surface for the paint to adhere properly. Moreover, it helps remove imperfections, which contributes to the quality of your finish.

Therefore, it’s imperative to sand the piece.

Using the right sandpaper will make all the difference. And for the sake of this project, you will be using a 180 to 220-grit Sandpaper to scuff all the surfaces one step at a time, moving it in an up and down motion.

The evenly you can scrape the existing paint, the more you provide an anchor profile for the primer to bond properly.

You should examine the wood occasionally, using your hand to rub across the surface to determine the smoothness.

Continue sanding all the surfaces until you achieve a uniform smoothness in all areas.

Step3: Wipe the sanded surface

Use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to wipe off any leftover sanding dust on the crib.

We recommend using microfiber cloths because they are effective at removing any sand dust, and you can wash and reuse them multiple times.

Endeavor to pay keen attention to the corners, as you can’t afford to let any residue blend with the fresh coat of paint –else will have a lousy painting result.

Step4: It’s Painting Time!

I suppose you’ve chosen your ideal paint for the job. It MUST be 100% toxic-free because your baby’s safety is the top priority.

However, if you’re still indecisive, we urge you to read our review on “crib safe paints.” Here, you get to understand why it’s critical to use non-toxic paint and the repercussions of using toxic ones.

We when as far as sprinkling the list with other grades of paint finishes ranging from matte to satin, so you a wide variety of choices within your reach to achieve that custom look.

As for the means of application, you should be using a medium-sized nylon paintbrush on the paint. Since the crib doesn’t have any large surfaces like that of a dinner table, the medium-sized brush will do just fine.

Additionally, you should get a few smaller ones for those hard-to-reach spots.

Use slow, even strokes to apply the first coat of paint in an up-and-down motion. It won’t cover as excepted on the first coat, so don’t bother yourself to achieve excellent coverage in an attempt to skip the second coat.

You would have to catch drips and brush them out. But it is okay if you miss a few, as you can always sand them before the next coat.

At this junction, you want the paint to dry for 2-4 hours or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Before you apply the second coat of paint, check the first if there are any drips. If they are, sand them down and clean the again with fresh microfiber clothes. You can as well lightly sand the whole piece –if you would prefer.

NOTE: Not all paint for a baby crib requires two layers of paint or sanding and priming. For instance, Retique It (from Renaissance) needs only one coat. But applying a second layer ensures deeper and vibrant shades.

If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions strictly and skip any contradictory steps on this page, it is the right call.

Step5: Let it dry for one night

Lastly, you should let the paint dry for one night or as instructed by the manufacturer. Once the final coat is dry, reassemble the piece, and put it to use.

But wait a minute, antsy homeowner, you forgot something:

It’s always advisable to open the doors and windows, so the room could breathe some fresh air for a couple of days before your baby can occupy and enjoy its new crib.

Read Also: Difference Between Spray Detailer and Spray Wax

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use chalk paint on a baby crib?

Chalk paints are also suitable for cribs and other furniture for children. But it takes about four-to-six weeks for the paint/wax to cure before putting the item to use.

While there is nothing inherently harmful, it’s not always advisable for pregnant women to apply them because the fumes produced as the wax dries may cause dizzy or lightheadedness.

Do I need to prime?

You can prime the crib if you want, but it only necessary if you are painting a bare wood or making a drastic color change like from black to white.

Keep in mind that you will need to sand it down after priming if you’re working with a glossy finish. Also, you don’t necessarily have to sand it down completely. A little rough up here and there will do the trick.

What finish should I choose for a crib?

We recommend any of the following: eggshell, gloss, and semi-gloss. Although most DIYers tend to opt for a semi-gloss finish because they are more conducive for indoor paint jobs.

Furthermore, they are less shiny compared to a high gloss, durable and hardwearing, and relatively easy to clean.

What type of paint is safe for babies?

When opting for a safe paint for the nursery, it should be a water-based product and must be labeled “Zero VOCs” or non-toxic.

These types of paints are safe for your infants, as they can “teeth or lick” on the painted crib without any effects.

Do you have to sand a baby crib before painting it?

You would only need to sand a crib before painting if it has a glossy finish on it. It’s not necessary to sand it all the way down though, just enough to smoothen the surface.

How do you refinish a baby crib?

To refinish a crib, simply sand the wood. You can do this with sandpaper that has a lower grit number. It will make the stain to adhere to the wood more easily, leading to a darker and deeper stain color.

Use higher-grit sandpaper only if you want a lighter shade. Use a damp washcloth to sand the wood and wipe away any dust.

Can you use spray paint on a crib?

Yes, there are many great spray paints that are perfect for baby cribs. I’ve used the Rust-oleum spray paint (Semi Gloss) for this purpose before and it came out amazing.

How do you paint a baby crib?

How to Paint a Crib the Right Way

  • Lightly sand the crib. Choose a medium 180-grit or fine 220-grit sandpaper or sanding sponge.
  • Apply a primer to the crib.
  • Allow the primer to dry thoroughly.
  • Consider lightly sanding again with fine sandpaper.
  • Begin painting the crib.
  • Paint a second coat.
  • Dry once more before use.

What kind of paint can you use on a crib?

Milk Paint

Milk paints are naturally VOC free, and is a nontoxic water-based paint, making it a top pick for painting a crib.

How do you refinish a crib?

How to Stain a Crib

  • Wash the crib with soapy water so you don’t accidentally lock in dirt or dust when you stain the crib.
  • Sand the wood on the crib.
  • Lay newspaper on the ground underneath the crib or take it outside before staining.
  • Allow the stain to dry before adding a coat of sealer.

Can you paint a crib with chalk paint?

It’s OK to use chalk paint on cribs or other furniture for children, but you want to wait the full 4-6 weeks to allow the paint and wax to cure before using the item.

Is milk paint safe for cribs?

Is milk paint safe for children’s toys and furniture? Yes, most definitely! Because it is a non-toxic paint, Real Milk Paint® is safe for children’s items and applies particularly well to wooden toys.

What is lullaby paint?

Lullaby by ECOS nursery paints were specially designed without the harsh chemicals found in conventional paints. This line of non-toxic, zero-VOC* paint is perfect for cribs, play areas, or bedrooms. All Lullaby products are applied just like any conventional paints, using a brush, roller, or sprayer.

What is chalk paint?

Chalk Paint® is a decorative furniture paint specifically designed by Annie Sloan to be easy to use, quick, and reliable. Chalk Paint® very rarely requires any preparation, such as sanding or priming, and can be used indoors or outside, on just about any surface.

What wood finish is safe for a crib?

3 days ago
Baby Safe is the best way to finish a wood crib. It is made in small boutique batches in Asheville, NC specifically so babies can have a pure wood finish to start the early years. No petrochmemical solvents or toxic additives. Just purified Beeswax and a specially filtered and refined flax oil (linseed).

Is it safe to stain a baby crib?

Yes. Bio Poly is a great stain and is safe to stain a crib with. The best is Baby Safe Crib Finish and let that enhance the woods natural color and wood grain. It’s just beeswax and pure linseed oil (flax) cooked in food grade vessels (but not intended as food.)

How do you get scratches out of a crib?

Wet a washcloth and place it over the bite marks. Then, place a hot iron on top of the cloth. Make sure the iron is on the highest setting without any steam on. As the iron rests on the wet cloth, it will create its own steam that will cause the wood on the railing to swell and fill in the small bite marks.


So that’s how to paint a baby crib like a pro. We can’t wait to see your custom painted baby cribs. Please feel free to share your experience and a photo of your craft in the comment section below.

Note: it is not necessary to topcoat with a clear finish, as it won’t contribute to the job in any way. The best results usually come from the use of a high-quality 100% nylon bristle brush.

We figured a quart would be the best bet, as it covers an average crib twice with enough paint left for future touch-ups.

Statistically speaking, a quart covers approximately 125 square feet, which allows for 60 +/- square feet per coat. Thus, the paint should come in a quart.