If it's time to update the place where your baby will sleep, you can save yourself some time and money by directly converting his crib into a child's bed. The simplest option is to use a junior universal railing for children. If that doesn't work or you want to undertake a more advanced project, you can remove one of the existing sides of the railings.
Method 1 of 2: Method 1: Convertible Crib with Railing
Step 1. Choose a suitable railing
Unless your baby's crib has its own safety rail, you will need to purchase one separately.
- Safety rails are smaller and shorter than the sides of a crib. Your child should be able to get in and out of bed without help, however the guardrail should prevent the child from accidentally falling off while sleeping.
- Typically, your best option will be a junior universal railing kit. This railing should fit most newly made cribs and the kit should contain the metal brackets and screws that are needed to attach to the railing.
Step 2. Remove one side of the crib
Use a manual or electric screwdriver to remove the screws that hold one side of the crib in place. After removing the screws, you should be able to fully lift that side up.
- The exact mounting will vary depending on the manufacturer and model of the crib, but generally there will be multiple screws located along the left and right pillars on the side of the crib.
- In most cases, you will only need to remove one side of the crib. If you choose to remove both sides, you will need to install a guardrail on each side or push one side of the bed against the wall.
- Note that this will only work for convertible-style cribs. Fixed cribs don't have movable sides, so you won't be able to use this remodeling method.
Step 3. Remove the bed
You will need to have access to the bottom slats of the bed when installing the rail, so remove the bed and mattress from the crib before you begin.
- Set the bed aside. Since the dimensions of the bed will not change after remodeling, you should be able to use the same mattress and sheets.
- It will be easier to complete this step after you have removed one side of the crib, but if you need access to the lower slats to remove that side, remove the mattress and bed first.
Step 4. Attach the brackets to the railing
Place an L-bracket along the inside of each railing post. Attach the brackets to the posts using screws and a screwdriver.
- Your railing kit will need to include the correct L-brackets and screws, but if you need to purchase other items separately, choose 2-inch or 3-inch corner brackets with four mounting holes and screws. 3 cm (1 inch) long Phillips head.
- You will need to install a bracket on each of the two railing posts.
- Position the bracket so the bottom is flush with the bottom of the pillar. The vertical part of the bracket should be aligned with the center of the abutment. Use two screws to secure the bracket to the pillar.
Step 5. Attach the guardrail
Pick it up and place it on the empty side of the bed. Hold the rail so that the end posts and attached brackets line up with the two separate slats at the bottom of the bed.
- Try to leave about 9 inches (23 cm) of space between the guardrail and the headboard. You should also leave another 9 inches (23 cm) of space between the handrail and the footboard.
- By leaving this amount of space on each side of the rail, it will make it easier for your child to get in and out of bed.
Step 6. Attach the rail to the bed
While holding the rail firmly, install two screws in the remaining holes in each bracket and in the rolls of slats corresponding to the bottom of the bed.
- You must use two screws with each bracket. Try to keep the support placed in the center of each corresponding board for added security.
- Make sure the screws are tight and can hold the brackets firmly in place. When you're done, try shaking the railing. It shouldn't move.
Step 7. Make the bed
Once the railing is in place, return the mattress to the bed. Cover her with sheets, blankets, and pillows as needed. The child's bed is now ready for use.
Note that if you need or want to install a second guardrail on the other side of the bed, you must do so by following the same steps used for the first guardrail. Install both rails before replacing the mattress and bed
Method 2 of 2: Method 2: Fixed Crib
Step 1. Remove the bed
Remove the mattress, sheets, and anything else from the crib before you begin. You will need direct access to all sides of the crib, including the bottom and the bed will only get in the way.
It is a good idea to put the mattress and bedding in a separate room. Sawdust and other particles can get into the bed if you keep it close by
Step 2. Adjust the height
If you can adjust the height of the sides and base of the crib, do so. The height you choose will be the final height of the child's bed.
- To create a loft-style child's bed, you need to adjust the base and sides to the highest points. Keep in mind that you will need to make a ladder for the child to use if you opt for a loft bed.
- To create a standard toddler bed that doesn't require a ladder, adjust the base and sides to the lowest points.
Step 3. Cut an opening in one of the sides
Use a saw to cut an opening in one of the long sides of the crib. Start at one end of the crib and take off about a third of the total side length.
- If you can remove the entire side, it may be best to do so before cutting it to size. Otherwise, you will have to work carefully to avoid damaging the rest of the crib.
- Cut the side so that the new edge is flush with one of the remaining vertical slats. This plank will become the new side edge of the railing. If you want, you can also use a cut portion of the railing to finish the new trim.
- Re-secure the rail to the side of the bed if you removed it to cut it. Make sure it is firm and secure before continuing.
Step 4. Cut off the excess wood
Use a saw to cut the railing slats you removed. The length of these slats should roughly match the size of the opening you made in the side of the bed.
- Note that this is only necessary if you plan to make a ladder for a loft bed. These freshly cut planks will form the steps or rungs of the ladder.
- Make sure the rungs are big enough for the child to use. Each board must have the same length.
Step 5. Use two separate pieces of wood for the sides of the ladder
Cut a sturdy piece of wood into two equal pieces. These pieces will form the sides of the ladder.
- Use wooden pallets or another type of sturdy wood for this purpose. The wood should be at least 1 to ½ inch (4 cm) thick and 4 inches (10 cm) wide.
- The exact length will vary based on the height of the bottom of the bed. Measure the distance between the bottom of the bed and the floor, holding a yardstick at a 45-degree angle so that it sticks out of the side of the bed.
- Cut the bottom of each piece at a slanted angle. This is so that the sides of the ladder fall evenly to the ground.
Step 6. Notch the side pieces
Use a router to make notches in the sides and at the top of the ladder.
- You will need to make two or three pairs of notches along both sides of the ladder. These notches should be the size and shape of the rungs you cut earlier. Try to match the size as evenly as possible to make the rungs more secure.
- Make a couple of end notches at the top of each side piece. These notches should allow the side pieces to fit over the underside of the bed.
Step 7. Attach the rungs on both sides
Slide the rung pieces into the notches along the sides of the ladder. Hold these pieces in place using wood glue.
Test the rungs once the rubber dries. If they still don't look secure, install nails or screws into each rung from the outside to secure them to the sides of the ladder. When you're done, the rungs shouldn't be able to move
Step 8. Secure the ladder to the bed
Attach the top of the ladder to the bottom of the bed using wood glue and screws.
- Note that the ladder should be centered under the opening in the bed rail.
- Test the ladder after installing it. Make sure it doesn't move when you press it.
Step 9. Attach an L-bracket to the edge of the railing
Screw a corner bracket over the edge of the railing. Secure one side of the bracket to a plank along the bottom of the bed and the other side to the most remote railing post.
- Opt for a 3-inch (8-cm) metal corner bracket with four nail holes. Use 1 inch Phillips head screws in each of the four holes.
- Adding the corner bracket to the edge of the railing will make it more secure. Your child is likely to grab onto this side of the rail when he gets on the bed, creating excessive pressure and the rail could come loose if it is not properly grasped.
Step 10. Return the bed
Put the mattress back on the bed and cover it with the appropriate sheets. Now your child can use his newly remodeled bed.