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How to Paint a Crib

Our gallery is sprinkled with painted cribs lovingly customized 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 baby crib painting 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 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




Vickie Kersey

Saturday 22nd of April 2023

Is it necessary to strip all of the old paint? or can I just Strip and sand the cracked and chipping parts?

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