How to Paint a Crib

Our gallery is sprinkled with cribs lovingly painted by parents-to-be. Have you ever wondered how to paint a crib to get that custom look? We decided we’d call in the experts to answer this question. Our friends at Lullaby Paints spelled it out step-by-step for us. Here are their recommendations.

How to Paint a Crib - Project NurseryMillie’s Teal and Yellow Nursery/Crib Painted by Pickled and Painted

First and foremost, you must use non-toxic, Zero VOC, no odor and baby safe paint.

Lullaby Paints

1. Make sure that the crib (or other piece) is clean, dry and free of any loose dirt or grime.

2. Scuff sanding is highly recommended to provide an anchor profile for the new paint to bond well. Usually a medium (180#) or fine (220#) grit sandpaper or sanding sponge is sufficient.

3. Remove any sanding dust.

4. Apply at least two coats of the Lullaby paint, waiting 4 hours between coats.

5. When finished, it is not necessary to topcoat with a clear finish. A clear is not going to add any more to the job than another coat of the paint will.

Best results will come from using a good quality 100% nylon bristle brush (many people make the mistake of buying the best grade of paint they can afford and then using a cheap brush to apply it). Once the final coat is dry, the piece can be put into use, and the baby can occupy the crib/room.

Note: Typically a quart will cover about 125 square feet.  That allows for 60 +/- square feet per coat.  We have found that a quart is usually plenty to paint the average crib twice, with enough paint left over for future touch ups.

UPDATE! We had so many follow-up questions in our comments that we reached out to Lullaby Paints to answer some of the most frequently asked. Here are their additional tips:

Do I need to prime?
Priming is only generally necessary if you are painting bare wood or making a drastic color change (black to white, for example).

What finish should I choose for a crib (eggshell, gloss, semi-gloss)?
Most people tend to opt for a Semi-Gloss, but any of those three are functionally ideal. They are all equally durable and hardwearing.

I know some children will “teeth” on the crib when they get old enough. Is Lullaby paint safe for them to be able to do that?
Our paints are all EN71-3 certified, meaning they are certified safe for use on children’s toys (where chewing is almost guaranteed!)

I have already primed my crib. Do I still have to sand it down so the paint will stick?
If you have already primed the crib then no sanding is needed. You would only typically need to scuff sand if the crib has a glossy finish on it. You don’t need to sand it all the way down, just enough to “rough up” the surface, this gives Lullaby Paint something good to “bite” to.

Does this method work on compressed wood?
In most cases yes, you would just need a coat of our Wood Primer prior to painting. Make sure the wood is clean and dry, and not chipping or flaking first.

Lullaby Paints

Thank you, Lullaby Paints, for sharing your expertise with us. We teamed up with Lullaby Paints to offer an exclusive collection of paint colors in The Project Nursery Shop perfect for the nursery, shipped to your doorstop.

Project Nursery Exclusive Paint Colors

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32 Comments

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    I am making a crib for our granddaughter. Do we need to apply a primer to the unpainted wood first??

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    I was wondering what is the best type of paint to get for a crib. Eggshell, gloss, semi-gloss….?

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    I’m curious to find out what blog platform yyou have been working with?
    I’m experiencing some minor security probles with my latest website and I’d like to find something more
    safeguarded. Do you have any recommendations?

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    Do not purchase this paint. The coverage is poor at best and they will not honor their product.

  10. 11

    Thank you for actually mentioning how much paint you used! I’ve been goggling for awhile to estimate about how much I would need for a standard size crib. I found zero answers. Lullaby Paint’s guide mentioned a formula, but whenever I did that – it came out with an insane answer that I knew couldn’t possibly be accurate. I assumed one quart would be enough, but with almost $12 shipping cost – I wanted to be absolutely positive.

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    So I know some children will “teeth” on the crib when they get old enough. Is this paint safe for them to be able to do that?

  12. 13

    I am reading through all these questions people are asking and I would like to know these answers as well. Do you not reply at all?

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    “First and foremost, you must use non-toxic, Zero VOC, no odor and baby safe paint.”
    – please define “non-toxic”
    – Zero VOC – this is nothing special. Sherwin-Williams ProMar 200 is “zero VOC”
    – no odor – paints don’t continue to have odor after they are fully cured. this means nothing unless you are painting the crib with the baby in it.
    – please define “baby safe”

    based on the research i have done, “baby paint” is just fancy marketing to sell stuff that already sells as regular paint. Don’t get caught up on the marketing scheme that you have to buy paint specific for a nursery.

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    Thanks for that I’m going for rustoleum satin furniture paint no primer needed but is it only LOW in VOC will this be safe crown has a minimal VOC. but needs a primer is a primer toxic? Lol all these questions I just want a lovely clean white tutti bambini cot :)

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    I painted a changing table with spray paint, now realizing that may have been toxic. How can I fix this? Can I just paint over it with safer paint?

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    I have primed my crib and want to paint it white so the primer is white. Do I have to sand it down so the paint will stick?

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    I was looking at the Lullaby Paints, and it looks like they offer wall paints. What paint would be used for the crib?
    Thanks!

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    When psinting tge metal parts of the crib what kind of psint is recommended? I was thinking spray paint for metal side rsils but I am not sure?

  22. 25

    This seems like it was meant to be more of an elaborate ad for Lullaby paint rather than a helpful blog post seeing as the author has completely disappeared from the comment section.

  23. 26

    Why are there no public answers to all these questions? I’m interested to know half of what others have already asked. Thanks.

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    Hi all! Thank you for your patience with your questions and comments. We were able to get an update from the expert team at Lullaby Paints to answer some of the frequent questions in the comments. Please see above for these responses.

  26. 30

    Hello all,

    We just painted our nursery a lemon chiffon yellow in anticipation of our baby girl , due in November. I have a crib from my son (now 4 yrs old) which is a dark gray, and I need some ideas about what color to paint the crib. Anybody have any ideas? I was thinking either bright white, semi-gloss or maybe pink as an accent? Any advice is appreciated!

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