Description: My wife and I are expecting a second baby in a couple of months and we’ve naturally been rearranging our home accordingly. Like most people in New York City, we live in a small apartment, so the placement of furniture is like a game of Tetris. The new baby will be sleeping in our bedroom for the first six months or so, but since there’s no way that a full size crib will fit, we needed to find a smaller solution.
We looked at various mini cribs on the market and they were all slightly too big for the space in our room. We also looked at bassinets and decided that they were all either too ugly or too expensive. So we decided to build our own mini crib.
I picked up a good, used Gulliver crib from eBay and then checked the interweb to see what mattresses were available. We settled on a 15″ x 33″ bassinet mattress and placed the order. With my target dimensions for the crib dictated by the mattress, I started measuring and marking up the crib.
The long side pieces are the easiest to modify. Using a handsaw, I cut them down to 33″ in length and then drilled new holes for the dowels, bolts and cylindrical nuts. I used a doweling jig for accuracy. If you don’t have one of these, get one, they’re great.
The end pieces are slightly harder to modify. As shown in the diagram, I cut at two of the joints through the wooden dowels to separate the end piece into two pieces. I then shortened the remaining large end piece so that the top cross bar was longer than the lower. With the aid of the doweling jig again, I drilled new holes for dowels and glued the shortened end pieces back together. When the glue was dry, I drilled new holes for dowels and bolts. I also used the opportunity to add two more sets of holes for the base piece so we could have the mattress higher than Ikea intended.
The last piece to modify was the base upon which the mattress would sit. I used my circular saw to reduce the size to 15″ x 33″ and then used my handsaw to shorten the cross members by roughly 2 cm. The cross members are just secured by staples, so it’s easy to pull them out to rearrange them. I then reassembled the base board and reinforced it with wood screws and a couple of corner brackets. After drilling new holes for the bolts, I was done with the base.
The mini crib assembled just like the original Gulliver crib, which is to say pretty easily. I used a bit of touch up paint to cover up where I cut through the end pieces, but very little was required.
The crib will now fit our room and fit our baby. Overall, I’m pleased with the results, although the perfectionist in me slightly annoyed by the lack of symmetry in the bar spacing. Oh well, I think I can live with it.