How to Make a Baby Rocking Cradle

Tamara Warta

Learning how to make a rocking cradle for a baby can be a very rewarding project. Perhaps you are expecting a new addition to your family, or maybe you want to make a special, one of a kind gift for a friend or family member who is expecting. Whatever the reason, a personalized cradle is a great idea.

A homemade rocking cradle holds a special charm
    You can use a computer design program to dream up your cradle's look
  1. Draw out plans of what the final rocking cradle should look like. Sketch views from both the front and sides. You can also use patterns and plans on websites such as the ones found in the resources section. This can help you if you want a head start or need help with ideas.

  2. Lay your hardboard in the center of your work surface and use a band saw to cut out a curved shape. This will be the headboard of the cradle. You can use a full-sized pattern fastened tightly on top of the hardboard if you would like to have a template when you cut.

  3. Siding is an important part of the final cradle.
  4. Place the solid wood panels in your workspace and again either pre-trace where you would like to cut, or use a life-size pattern on top of the wood, then cut. These solid wood panels will serve as the sides of the rocking cradle, and should be carved into slats while remaining sturdy. Cut multiple slats (approximately eight to 12) on your two wood panels. Begin about 3 to 4 inches into the wood, and end the same distance away from the end. This will leave you with a 3- to 4-inch strip of wood on either side of the panels, with the slats all the way down the side so they will be vertical to the cradle mattress. If you do not wish to have slats, you can cut your wood into any shape you like -- a sleigh style, rounded corners, a simple square, etc.

  5. Add a bottom support bracket, to which the cradle bottom will be attached. Cut two pieces to match the sides of the crib, which should be around 12.5 degrees. This angled slant will help balance the rocking motion and add stability to your cradle. Again, refer to your sketched patterns if you need a reference. Apply wood glue to the bottom of the two brackets and then set one on the inside of each wood panel. Make the fusion of the wood pieces even stronger by adding three nails to each side.

  6. Screw the piece of hardboard into the edges of the two wood panels, and this will be your headboard. Watch carefully to make sure the pieces line up. Use at least two screws on each side, one on the top and one on the bottom. You can also reinforce with two more in the middle if you wish. Place the middle screws at least 3 inches apart. Carve one more piece of wood with your band saw that is identical to the headboard, or a bit smaller if you wish. Secure this to the other end of the side panels, again adding two to four final screws at least 3 inches apart to ensure a good hold.

  7. Wood-carved rockers.
  8. Carve rockers out of your remaining wood. These should have slightly curved bottoms with a raised portion in the middle to get the bottom of the cradle off of the ground enough to properly rock. Use wood glue to attach the rockers to the bottom.

  9. Paint your rocking cradle in any unique way you wish.
  10. Allow the glue to dry and then cover the rocking cradle with a stain, finish or non-toxic paint in the color of your choice.

  11. Tip

    Federal safety standards mandate that cradle slats should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart, so be sure to measure them out before cutting. When building and painting, consider your family plan. If you are wanting more children, then you may want to leave your cradle gender-neutral.


    A baby is your most precious cargo. Make sure the cradle is safe and secure before placing a little one inside.

    Choose non-toxic glues and paints to keep family members healthy during the building process. If this is not possible, then build your cradle outside or in a ventilated garage workshop.