How To Paint A Crib? Chalk Paint or Spray Paint? Is It Safe?

Babies love chewing on a lot of things, including their cribs. That’s why, when it comes to painting your baby crib, the paint you choose must be child-safe.

Here is our guide on how to paint a crib and how to choose safe paints for your loved one.

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Is safe to paint a crib?

As long as you pick the baby safe paint for cribs, the painting will cause no harm to your baby.

Many babies, especially when reaching the teething period, like to munch on anything they can get into their mouth, including the crib rail. Therefore, making sure the crib paint is safe for the baby is crucial.

Should you paint the crib or buy a new one?

If you are reusing an old crib that looks a bit worn off by time or if the crib you own doesn’t match the color scheme of the nursery, surely you don’t have to spend money to get another crib.

Giving your crib a new paint can be an effective solution. You can either have a professional do the task for you or simply roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.

Painting baby cribs is easy and doesn’t require complex DIY skills at all. It shouldn’t be a heavy task but something enjoyable to show love to your little child.

How to paint a wooden crib?

Baby safe paint for cribs

Here are 7 simple steps to paint a wooden crib:

1. Clean the crib

After being used for a while, cribs can have grime and dirt sticking at the corners, between the rails, or underneath. So, giving your crib a thorough cleaning is necessary before applying any paint on it.

You can wipe the crib using a cloth and a baby crib cleaner or any furniture cleaner. This step will help the paint not be ruined by dust later on.

2. Sand the wood

If you have painted furniture before, especially wooden furniture, you will know that sanding is a must, for the paint to sit well on a wood surface. Baby cribs, which are mostly made from wood, are surely no exception.

Either sandpaper or a sanding sponge will be just fine to scrub off the old paint from the surface of your crib. Make sure you sand it entirely to expose its bare wood interior for a new coat.

3. Wipe the sanding dust

Any wooden furniture after sanding will be covered with dust. Just like the grime or any other kinds of dirt, you don’t want them to blend in and ruin the paint later.

So, use a clean (better if wet) cloth to wipe off all wooden surfaces of the crib that you have just scuffed.

Sanding dust can be much smaller than normal dust. For this reason, you may want to use a microfiber cloth to clean them. These types of cloth can easily absorb the smallest dirt and also are easy to wash.

Finally, make sure to leave the crib dry before applying paint.

4. Apply paint

Now your crib is ready.

First off, let’s talk brushes. You will need big brushes or rollers for large surfaces, like tables or walls. But for a baby crib, one medium and one small brush (for small spots/ corners) will work without problem.

Apply the paint when you have had everything ready. You can surely get creative in mixing the color of your choice. Just make sure to put a thin layer of paint, to avoid dripping.

Once you finish the first coat, leave your crib to dry for 2-4 hours before applying the second one.

All renaissance paints (if it was what you are using) don’t require two layers, but giving them another coat will bring a more solid color, though it may be harder to scrape off later on.

5. Dry your crib

At this point, you can check and follow the instruction of your paint on how to let it dry. Many paints only require a couple of hours to dry, but it is highly advised to leave your newly painted crib to dry completely overnight.

Since you have chosen the odorless paint, leaving the crib to dry indoors should cause no discomfort. If possible, leave your crib in an open space, with windows opened for instance.

How to paint a metal crib?

Now, what if your crib isn’t made of wood but other types of material, metal for example? Here is how you can use spray paint for your metal crib.

Painting a metal crib is quite similar to painting a wooden one, except that since you are using spray paint, there might be a few changes.

  • First thing first, disassemble your crib. Because you are going to spray paint them, all the crib components should be removed and left in an open space.
  • While disassembling, notice the process to put them back together later on. You also might not want to lose all the nuts and bolts. Store them in one place for later.
  • Wash the crib components and sand them. Just like the wood crib, this step makes it easier for the paint to sit on. You don’t need to scrape off all of the old paintings if you can’t. Remember to wipe all the sanding dust off before moving on.
  • Spray the paint thinly and evenly on the surface of all crib parts. Let them dry before the second or even the third coat. Don’t forget to spray the nuts and screws.
  • You can finish it off with a final layer of clear sealer to help endure the paint. Let all the parts dry completely, ideally 1 day before reassembling.

What kind of paint can you use on a crib?

paint a crib

Depending on your purpose of painting the crib, there are many kinds of paint you can consider.

Many parents use chalk paints to get a chalky, vintage appearance that may suit the specific style of their nursery

However, among many factors, safety is probably the top priority. And for that, what parents would mostly care about and go for is non-toxic (i.e no lead or silicates), zero VOC, and odorless paints.

If you are super concerned about safeness, check the EN71-3 certification which indicates whether or not paint is safe for children. Lullaby paint is one type that is certified to be used in the nursery and is trusted by many parents.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do you have to sand a crib before painting it?

Sanding helps expose the inner, rough surface of any furniture for a new coat of paint. If your crib still has old paint on it, it is better to sand them thoroughly before applying any paint.

2. Can you spray paint a crib?

100% yes, in fact, spraying is especially used for metal cribs. To have a smooth layer of sprayed paint, here are some tips:

  • Spray the first layer with bonding primer
  • Start spraying a few inches ahead of the piece, then moving to the end with a long, continuous spray. This helps to prevent overlapped or uneven paint
  • It is highly advised to spray the crib at least 2 times, with time for drying in between, which will ensure a deep and smooth coat of paint

Final words

We hope to have shown you useful tips on how to paint a crib as well as to keep it safe for your baby. Having a freshly painted crib can transform not only your nursery but also your mood whenever using it. Enjoy your DIY experience!