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Make a $1,500 Tufted Crib For $300

DIY Restoration Hardware inspired tufted crib brings that gorgeous element to your baby's nursery for a fraction of the cost.

If you’ve coveted those elegant tufted cribs at stores like Restoration Hardware, you probably know the sticker shock that comes with it. Well, this DIY version is just as gorgeous, minus the hefty price point.

This project comes together with about two days of dedicated working time, so consider it a weekend project. Trust us, the result is well worth the effort, especially when you consider that a $1,500 crib is made for under $300 (and that's including the price of the actual crib in this case)!

    Measure Your Crib

  1. Measure the length of the crib from the highest point of the crib's headboard to the footboard (or to where you’d like your tufting to end). Then measure the width.

  2. The finished crib here will only have framing on the sides -- at 1½ inches wide -- so we subtracted that from our overall width. If you plan on having frames on the top and bottom as well, you'll need to deduct the thickness of the frame from your length. The final numbers for ours were 37 inches long by 27½ inches wide.

  3. Now measure the length of the sides, where the new frames for your tufted board will be attached. Our crib's side frames turn into legs at the bottom but we measured it slightly above the floor so it wouldn’t catch on anything while moving the crib. This measurement was 37¾-inches (you'll need this number to cut your framing pieces in the next step).

  4. Purchase Your Materials

  5. Purchase two pegboards and two wood panel boards that fit your tufted board measurements from Step 1. The flat board shown here is a white vinyl panel, but there's no special reason for that -- it was just the only board available in the right size. All you really need is a smooth board about ¼-inch thick.

  6. You'll also need to get wood for framing in your tufted board on each side. Get them cut to the measurements that you obtained in Step 1 (in our case, we purchased 1½-inch wide boards and cut four pieces to 37¾ inches long).

  7. Obtain the Shape of Your Crib

  8. Unfurl a roll of wrapping paper and tape it to the top of your crib, making sure the sides are parallel to the edges of the frame. Press the paper into the creases of the headboard in order to get the outline of the curves. If your crib doesn’t have curved edges, you can skip this step and just leave your boards rectangular.

  9. Use Paper as a Guide to Cut Wood Boards

  10. Now use a pen to mark the crease you have created. Cut along this line with scissors and hold this back up to your crib to make sure it is correct.

  11. You'll want to do this next step in order to avoid ruining the wood boards. Trace this paper shape onto a sturdier surface (we used a foam board) and cut along that line as well, so you now have something sturdier to double check the shape. Check this against your crib one more time to make sure it fits. Then trace this foam board onto all four of your wood boards and cut along that trace with a jigsaw.

  12. Paint the Wood and Framing Pieces

  13. Paint the smooth side of your solid boards and the outside of your framing in the same color as your crib. This is the side of the board that will be visible from inside the crib. Shown here is Glidden Concentrated Chromium, available at Walmart only.

  14. Saw an Indent for Your Crib Mattress Brackets

  15. While you let the pieces dry, you’ll need to account for the metal brackets that hold the mattress up and connect to the sides of your crib. Measure how far down this piece starts. The brackets that hold your mattress up will be farther in than the sides of the crib.

  16. The crib shown here was adjusted for an older baby, so the mattress has already been moved down to the lowest setting (the younger your baby, the higher this will sit). Our brackets started at 26 inches down the sides.

  17. Mark this length on each side of both of your solid boards. Use a jigsaw to cut in at this mark about ¼ inch in and then cut straight down. You can use the guides on your saw to make a straight line or trace one on beforehand.

  18. Create Countersink Holes

  19. To avoid having the screws stick out (who wants that?) you'll need to create countersink holes. If you have a tool for this, great! If not, you can create a similar effect by using a drill bit slightly bigger than the head of your screws.

  20. In our case, that was a 5/16 bit. Use your drill and this bigger bit to make four slight, shallow holes in your board about 1½ inches in from the top and bottom, and 2 inches in from the sides. Do not go all the way through the board. Also, make these indentations on the top and bottom of each framing piece, about 1 inch in.

  21. Tip

    Our crib had solid wood pieces on the sides, but if yours has slats all the way down, the placement of these indentations might not pertain to you. If that's the case, make sure you measure where a slat falls from the corner of your crib and then place the markings accordingly so that you will actually be attaching your board to something.

    Give a Final Coat of Paint and Non-Toxic Shellac

  22. Paint over these indentations along with the edges of all your pieces, and give them one final coat. Once that's done, cover all the pieces with a layer of shellac. This is a non-toxic finish so it makes the crib safe for your baby. You can also use a baby-safe paint from the get-go and forego this step.

  23. Cut Out Foam

  24. Trace the pegboard onto your 2-inch thick foam and cut along the line using an electric knife. You can also use a regular knife but it will take a lot longer and it won't be as smooth. You may need multiple combined pieces of foam to cover your entire board, which is completely fine.

  25. Mark the Holes for Tufting

  26. Figure out where you’d like your tufting buttons to go on your boards. Bear with us here because it sounds complicated, but it's just a matter of counting!

  27. The tufting for ours has 21 buttons on each headboard and footboard: six staggered rows total, alternating three and four buttons per row. This is where the pegboard markings come in handy! From the very center hole at the top, count six holes down to mark the first tufting hole. Then mark every 10th hole as you go down -- these will be the rows consisting of three buttons.

  28. Go back to the first marking and mark the seventh hole to its left and right. Do this for the remaining two rows. Now you have to mark the staggered 4-button rows in between these rows. From your very first marked hole, count five holes down (but don't mark it). Count three holes to the left and mark the space in between the third and fourth hole. Do the same for the right. To do the two remaining holes in that row, count seven holes from your last marking and circle the space in between the seventh and eighth hole.

  29. Repeat for the remaining two rows.

  30. For the rows of tufting where there isn't already a hole, use your drill to create them. Keep your foam underneath the board during this step because the drilling will leave debris on the foam, showing where each of these holes need to be on the foam. Use a marker to place a dot on the foam marking the other holes.

  31. Cut Out Holes

  32. Use a cut pipe or curtain rod that's 1 inch wide (or slightly wider than the buttons you’ll be using) and twist this back and forth with pressure over each dot to cut the foam out.

  33. Use spray adhesive to adhere your foam pieces to your pegboard.

  34. Cover Your Boards in Batting

  35. Cover your foam with two layers of batting. Pull it around the back tightly and staple it in place.

  36. Use your fingers or scissors to make an opening in the batting over each hole in your foam.

  37. Measure and Purchase Fabric

  38. Now measure for your fabric. Use a fabric measuring tape and pull it behind your board about 2 inches, drag it all the way across your board and pull it 2 inches behind on that side as well. Do this for the length and width to get the measurements.

  39. Then measure the depth of the hole by inserting your measuring tape into it, pulling it all the way to the bottom where it hits the board. In our case, it was 3 inches. Multiply this by your longest row of buttons (ours was four) and add that to your width measurement. Do the same vertically (length-wise our longest was only three buttons).

  40. With some basic math, here's what our measurements came to:

  41. Width: 36 inches, which includes the 2-inch extra on both sides + (4 holes x 3 inches) = 48 inches of fabric.

  42. Length: 45.5 inches + (3 holes x 3 inches) = 54.5 inches of fabric.

  43. So the dimensions for our fabric became 48 by 54½ inches, but keep in mind you have to tuft two pieces of board in that size. You also need to account for covering your buttons, but you shouldn’t need much for this. A 1-inch square for each button will do the job if you’re using ¾-inch buttons like we did.

  44. We purchased 3 yards (108 inches) of 60-inch wide home décor fabric. There was some left over but too much is better than not enough!

  45. Cover Your Buttons

  46. Reserve fabric for your buttons and divide the remaining in two. Use the tool and instructions included in the cover button kit, which you can easily find at a craft store or online, and cover each button with the reserved fabric.

  47. Tuft Your Boards

  48. Lean your boards against something sturdy and drape your fabric over each board, lining the center of the fabric up with the center of the board.

  49. Tip

    If you want to be sure it’s perfectly lined up, fold your fabric into a quadrant and place a pin in the corner point where the creases meet. Measure the board to find the center and place a pin there as well, then match the pins up and remove them.

  50. To begin tufting, start with the hole nearest to the center of the board and move outward to the holes on its side, then above and below it. You're going to continue this pattern throughout. Press your finger into the hole first, pushing the fabric down to the board. Thread your needle in and pull tightly.

  51. Use a hot glue gun to secure your thread at several points and secure further by stapling the spot before cutting your needle off. Continue this step until all of your holes are tufted, allowing the fabric to naturally crease in a diamond pattern while keeping your fabric grain straight across the board.

  52. Once all your buttons are in place, staple the fabric behind the board. It’s easiest to start from the middle of the sides, keeping the grain straight. Then let the fabric naturally crease over the board while continuing to staple behind it. Pull it tightly and do the corners of the board last, folding the fabric as needed to keep the shape of your board. Try to staple only about 2 inches behind the board and cut off any excess fabric and batting.

  53. It should look something like this:

  54. Attach Tufted Boards to Crib

  55. To attach these to your crib, you'll need to enlist a friend’s help. Have one person hold the tufted end up, lining it up with any curves and centering it. Keeping in mind that the holes on your pegboard are 1 inch apart (center to center), measure from the center of a hole that's closest to the edge slat on your crib and mark 1¼ inches into the wood. Do this toward the top and bottom of both your end slats so you have four markings total.

  56. Set your tufted board down while you pre-drill these holes in your slats using a small (3/32-inch) drill bit.

  57. Hold the board back up and use 1½-inch screws to adhere the tufted board to your crib.

  58. Attach Inside Boards

  59. Set your flat board inside the crib, with the painted side facing the interior. Keeping it lined up at the top, drill a 1½ -inch screw through your pre-drilled indentations (from Step 7) until it has sunk below the surface and is firmly attached to your crib. Use spackling to fill in these holes and once it's dry, touch up with paint for a more polished finish.

  60. Attach the Framing

  61. Hold your framing pieces up against the sides of your tufted boards, making sure the edges are flush with the crib. Drill a 1-inch screw through each pre-drilled indentation until firmly attached to the crib.

  62. And, voila! Stand back and admire your gorgeous new piece of furniture and pat yourself on the back. You’ve created a crib that looks like a thousand bucks for only a couple hundred, all in a weekend's work. Here's to peaceful nights with minimal midnight cries!

About the Author

Machelle Vanderhoeven and Malissa Levesque are twins who live across the country from each other, but stay connected by creating lots of crafty tutorials, printables and party ideas and sharing them on their blog, ajoyfulriot.com. The twins' work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, Kara's Party Ideas, Inspired by This, Brit + Co and many others.