renovating · renovation

Cradle Renovation Tutorial

This cradle is another of my salvaged items. It was out for the rubbish collection in June 2010. I was pregnant with Number 2 at the time and didn’t know whether I was having a boy or a girl. As soon as I saw the cradle I fell in love with the heart-shaped cut-outs and the contours of the rockers.
As it happened, I had a second son and a few months ago a third one. So renovating this particular item was not top of my list of priorities. It got used occasionally as a bed for the boys’ teddies and even for a while as a storage box for the growing pile of Lego we have in our house. But eventually last year it was rejected. Heart shapes are not big with 6 and 4 year old boys.
As luck would have it, my new niece arrived into the world around the same time as the cradle fell from favour. If ever I needed motivation to finally do up my cradle, this was it.
The cradle before sanding
Step 1: As with any renovation, check which parts are removable then clean the whole thing. In this case I only needed to use a damp cloth to wipe down the surface. The only removable part is the base.
Step 2: I decided that the base should be padded and covered to look like it has a mattress and sheet. Two pieces of double-sided sticky tape were sufficient to hold the wadding in place. That was then covered with a rectangle of pale yellow cotton, cut to approx. 10 cm wider and longer than the base itself. I stapled the material into place on the underside of the base with a staple gun (NOVUS J-08 XX)
Covered base, upper side
Covered base, underside

Step 3: Sand and paint the cradle. Make sure to remove all dust from the sanding with a damp cloth and let the wood dry properly before painting. I used two coats of white undercoat to cover the dark wood. After that I added two coats of ivory paint, making sure to check at the DIY shop that the paint was both hard-wearing and child-friendly.

Step 4: Now comes the hard part – the pattern. I had a book as inspiration and tricked around with designs on paper before deciding on the style, size and colours I would use. I highly recommend that you take your time and try out a few different colour schemes before working on the actual piece of furniture you are renovating.

My inspiration

Step 5: Transferring your design from paper to furniture. For this step I used the good old-fashioned paper and pencil rubbing method. Basically, you draw your design onto paper and use a soft pencil to go over it a few times. Then place the paper, drawing side down, onto the furniture. Use your pencil to rub firmly over the design on the paper (see photos below). You may want to use masking tape to attach the paper to the furniture to avoid the paper slipping. When you lift the paper, you should be able to see the outline of the design on the painted surface of the furniture.

The transferred design at the bottom on the cradle

Step 6: Painting over the transfer. Take your time with painting your design. I tend rowards impatience and have learned from mistakes made in the past that it is better to go slowly and get your artwork right on the first attempt. Of course small errors or bleeding colours can mostly be recified but patience really does play a central role here.

Cradle standing on one end so that the other end can be painted.
Close up detail around the heart cut-out
Practice your design on paper

Inspiration from a book I bought at in an antique bookshop

A close-up of the design I painted

The finished cradle complete with hand-sewn pillow and duvet
Detail around the heart-shaped cut-out
Home Etc

14 thoughts on “Cradle Renovation Tutorial

  1. What a beautiful transformation! I liked it old and rustic looking, but the changes you have made are superb! Very clever. And how nice that it will be loved and used all over again. Such a special item. Thanks for linking up – much appreciated. Jess x #HomeEtc

  2. Thank you Jess. Yes, I'd grown to like it as it was, but I felt it needed a revamp and that old book I had was just the inspiration I needed.
    I love the new linky btw.

  3. Aaah clever, clever you!! I would absolutely love to see what the previous owner would have thought!! I'll bet they would have wanted it back!! It's amazing what people chuck out isn't it? And more amazing is what you can do when you put your mind to it! Well done — it's looks beautiful! Thanks so much for linking up with #HomeEtc x

    Caro |

  4. Thank you Caro! Yes, I am always astounded at the things I find people dumping. I just adore giving old items new life.
    The new linky is great x

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