How to build a rocking cradle for a baby

Written by jericho mccune
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How to build a rocking cradle for a baby
A homemade rocking cradle is a gift that will be remembered for years. (culla image by elisabetta figus from

A rocking cradle is a great first bed for a newborn, as well as a wonderful gift for an expectant mother. Building a cradle instead of purchasing it makes the gift more precious and allows it to be personalised. Plans and patterns for building a cradle can be downloaded from a variety of sources (one of which can be found in the resources section of this article) or purchased from hardware stores and woodworking businesses. Crafty carpenters can design their own plans for a more personalised cradle design.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Band saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Power sander
  • Power drill
  • Rocking cradle plans
  • Spray adhesive
  • Pencil
  • hardboard sheet, 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 sheets of solid wood, 4 feet by 8 feet
  • Wood glue
  • Wood screws
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Wood stain, optional
  • Paint, optional
  • Paintbrushes, optional

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  1. 1

    Create a full-scale drawing of the pieces needed to build the cradle. Cover the back of the drawings with spray adhesive and glue them to the hardboard. Flatten them completely by smoothing from the centre outward to prevent wrinkles.

  2. 2

    Place the shapes on top of the solid wood sheets and trace around them with a pencil. Cut the shapes out with the band saw. Use the jigsaw and sander to smooth out rough edges and help define detail work.

  3. 3

    Cut one-inch by one-inch strips to secure to the headboard, footer and sides. These will be used to support the cradle bottom. Attach the strips with wood glue and then secure them with wood screws.

  4. 4

    Drill screw holes with countersinks in both edges of the headboard and footer. Secure one side to the headboard with wood glue, then screw them together. Repeat with the second side, then attach them to the footer in the same manner.

  5. 5

    Drill countersunk screw holes around the edges of the cradle bottom. Lay a bead of wood glue around the support rail, insert the cradle bottom and screw it down.

  6. 6

    Drill countersunk screw holes in the cradle bottom where the rockers will be secured. Apply wood glue to the top of the rockers and position them under the screw holes. Screw them down securely.

  7. 7

    Go around to each of the countersunk screw holes and apply wood putty to the holes with a putty knife. Wait for them to dry, then touch them lightly with a sander to smooth them out.

  8. 8

    Personalise the cradle. Use wood stain or paint to add colour and design to the new baby bed.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure to use nontoxic glues, stains and paints when building a crib. Babies have a tendency to put their mouths on anything close, and a cradle is no exception.
  • Once the cradle is finished, add weight to the inside of the cradle to make sure it will hold up under any loads. Leave the weight in it overnight so that the stress-bearing capability of the bottom can be judged over time.

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