How to paint a Baby Crib with Chalk Paint

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Since I am having another baby girl it just made sense to reuse my first daughter’s baby crib for my second. However I wanted it give it a little face lift because I didn’t want their nursery’s to look exactly the same and after two years of use this crib was a little beat up. So I decided to paint the crib using Annie Sloan Chalk paint. The benefits of using chalk paint is that it is water based so there are no VOCS, no toxins, and it is completely safe for baby. On top of that the paint does not require any sanding or prepping in order to stick to the surface of the furniture piece. I was a bit skeptical about that but it really didn’t require me to do a thing. I even left all the dents and dings from where my daughter chewed on the side of the crib. The paint covered it and you wouldn’t even know they were there.

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Here is what the crib originally looked like, it is a really dark espresso wood finish, I was worried that the light colored paint would not be able to cover this color but with only two coats it did.

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I started out by laying a tarp out on my driveway and just simply painted the first layer of paint on with no real method. The paint dries so quickly that by the time you do one coat on one side it only takes about five minutes to dry in the sun before you are ready to flip it and do the back side. *UPDATE* I would like to point out that there are some bloggers out there that are referencing my blog and stating that laying the crib out and painting it creates hard nodes of paint on the slates. That will absolutely happen if you are putting too much paint on, when I was taught how to paint this by Annie Sloan reps they stressed the importance of using small amounts and using layering to achieve the desired finish. Other bloggers are suggesting that you put the crib together first and paint it assembled, this is fine but keep in mind that gravity is going to work against you as you paint creating runs and drips. And if your crib is a convertible crib as most are now days you will have a lot more work to do when you convert the crib to a toddler bed. Also this paint needs at least a week to oxidize and breathe before the wax is applied, Annie Sloan suggests letting it sit out for a month but I was too anxious and excited to do that. If you are painting the crib assembled it is going to create paint pile up in the creases and joints this paint will not be able to oxidize and set if it is piled up like this. Also this method can lead to hard set paint line and junked up hardware. I would not suggest painting your crib this way, it does seem “easier” but in the long run it could create more work. Also if you are taking a dark crib like mine and painting it a light color if you paint it assembled you will not be able to cover all the dark crevices and they will peek through.

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I let the paint can sit out in the sun and oxidize as I worked. This thickens the paint, and makes it easier to get a really solid first coat. For the second coat I added some water to the paint to thin it out a little bit this gave the crib a more shabby chic distressed finish.

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The really nice thing about this paint is that is doesn’t have to be perfect, especially if you want the furniture piece to have a little bit of charm and character.

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After the entire thing was painted I let it sit out for a day to cure and then my husband  assembled the bed. We bought the Annie Sloan furniture wax that helps seal the piece but we decided not to use it at the moment because we were so pleased with how the paint finish came out. Its completely optional if you want to use the wax or not. When my daughter gets a little older and starts really using the crib I might decide to seal the crib then.

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*UPDATE* I would like to add an update to this project, after much debate I decide to go ahead and use Annie Sloan Clear Wax to finish the crib. The wax seals the paint giving it a protective barrier that is necessary in order to maintain the paints appearance. It gives the furniture piece a softer feeling as well. All you have to do is use a soft cloth to apply the wax and then an old t-shirt to buff it out. I let the crib sit and cure for a day after I waxed it before I put the bedding back on, and I waxed it without taking it apart because I was really only worried about protecting the parts that you see. I hope that this helps anyone that is attempting to paint a crib with chalk paint.

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11 comments

  1. I also want to paint a crib for my daughter. I am a little concerned that the chalk paint wont stick or that i will have to sand before. The crib is just one we bought from babies-r-us so it has that glossy finish on it. Do you think the chalk paint will stick well without sanding?

    1. Yes the chalk paint will stick to your crib and you do not have to do any sanding. My crib had a glossy veneer and I was skeptical but the paint goes on without any preparation. However it will chip off easily if you do not use the Annie Sloan clear wax to seal it. When you paint make sure you use a all natural bristle brush, you can find them at Home Depot for cheap. With the wax you want to apply it with cheese cloth and rub it out with an old t-shirt.

    2. Annie Sloan chalk paint should be able to stick! Try doing a test area and if you have issues you could do a quick sanding with a low grit sandpaper and that should be good but I don’t think you’ll have any problems my crib had a very slick veneer on it and I didn’t do any sanding and it stuck just fine

    1. I used one quart for the entire crib and had a little bit left over that could be used to paint something small or use for touch ups. I did two coats, the first was thick and the second was thin.

  2. my wife had our crib painted with the chalk finish and i was a little uncertain if the ‘rough’ feeling/texture it has is normal? is that where the Annie Sloan Clear Wax comes in to play to make it easier.. my biggest fear of course is the baby touching or biting on it.

    1. Yes the rough texture is due to the chalk paint. Before I sealed the crib I was afraid to touch it because I did not want to mess it up. When you use the clear wax it seals the surface and makes it feel much softer, more durable, and it does not chip this way. However any surface will chip if a baby is biting it. I would suggest getting clear crib protectors that are meant to protect the sides when baby is teething. I honestly have no reached this stage yet so I do not know what to expect, my oldest daughter gnawed away at the crib which is half the reason why I had to paint it. I did not have the protectors I thought that there was no way a little baby could damage such a large piece of furniture but it happened so I plan on getting them this time around.

  3. HIi Tiff, nice blog:-) What colour did you use? Was it old white? (I’m not sure if Annie Sloan offers other whites). Thanx, Monika

  4. We bought our crib from someone and when i went to pick it up that had put sooo much furniture polish on it. Will the chalk paint stick to the wood with the furniture polish on it or do i need to try to strip that off first?

    1. Annie Sloan chalk paint should be able to stick! Try doing a test area and if you have issues you could do a quick sanding with a low grit sandpaper and that should be good but I don’t think you’ll have any problems my crib had a very slick veneer on it and I didn’t do any sanding and it stuck just fine

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