Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Crate to Cradle: How to make a doll bed (tutorial)

I am so excited to show you my new project I can barely contain myself ...
Among many thing I love to re-use and recycle are those fruit crates you buy at your local grocery store. These kind:

I've been using them as trays for children's parties for a while - making them pretty just gluing on ribbon or fabric of all kinds around them. I also cut out a piece of cardboard for the bottom, cover it with fabric and there you go!

As I admired one of these boxes (the kind that everyone in the family knows NOT to throw away, just like toilet paper roll tubes and other seemingly useless items), I've thought of another idea: making crates into baby doll beds. I want to claim this project to my name, although I did do a research online and realized I didn't just discover the wheel (I am still so proud of this one I almost feel like it .... :)
I hope you make many, many doll beds, so that I will be able to show it off here for everyone.
Step 0: Go shopping for some fruit in crates before they are off market for the season!

What you need:   
- a crate
- cardboard (I used a Pampers box - no lack of those around here!)
- fabric - (I bought 1/4 of the dotty and 1/4 of the tree pattern, plus 1/2 of the bed skirt material; I also used Geoffrey's old T-shirt for the bed sheet)
- glue gun
- Mod Podge or other glue
- white cardstock
- ribbon for trimming around the bed
- quilt padding material (for the cover and pillow)

The obvious: 
scissors, cardboard cutter, sewing machine, pen, pencil, thread

Draw out the bed board. I used a plate to make the pattern and just played around to finally get the shape I liked. The bottom of the crates is not even, so I cut a piece of padding used in quilts and filled the gaps around the corners, following I used tape to secure it to the corner.

1. Cut out your headboard material a little bigger than the size you actually need and glue it to the back of the board. If your box has print on it and it shows through, glue a layer of white cardstock as the first layer before the fabric. You can probably paint it also, but I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment so no painting, sanding .. etc. for me ... I used Mod Podge for this project, but you can use pretty much any glue. 

2. Headboard in progress. Make sure to make cuts into the the fabric as you glue around the corners, so that you can stretch the fabric.

3. Just showing how easy it really is!

4. Now we'll do the top part! Hopefully, you cut out two pieces of board material, so that you can pretty much do the same for the front, as for the back. The only difference is that you have to fold the fabric to place, before gluing. This can get a bit tricky, but manageable!

5. I realized that the bed needed a bottom sheet also, but had no material. Then I glimpsed at Geoffrey sitting in front of the TV in one of his white undershirts that needed replacement a long time ago and as you suspect, I tore it of of his back (literally! :) I stretched it around the bed, glued it on and now we had a white bottom sheet in place! 

6. I just noticed that 6 is really 7 and vice versa, but you get the idea ... Make the ruffled bed skirt, glue gun it to the side. For the length of the ruffle around the bed, just double the length what you need and add 1 inch! Ruffling as always: strongest tension on your machine with largest stitching. (Though sometimes I got frustrated because at the highest tension the thread tore a few times, in which case just use whatever tension works, pull the bottom thread and you'll get the ruffles that way!)

As the final step I glue-gunned a ribbon around the top edge of the bed skirt and the bed so that it looks nice and finished and here is the final product .. tralalalalalaaaaaaaa

P.S. I don't have steps for the pillow and the cover, but it's fairly straightforward. The padding is done with the quilting material, but you can also use fiberfill (at least for the pillow). 

The first guest sleeping in our brand new bed was BAA, the sheep I knitted ... 

Sleep well! Night night! Jo ejszakat! Dobru noc!

If you like Baa's new bed and my tutorials, please follow me and "like me" on Facebook! 
(I really want you to "love" me, but there is no button for that) I have so many projects rummaging through my head every day and so many crafty nights planned, that I am bound to come up with something creative again very soon. 
In the meantime, thank you to my loyal readers and followers and likers! 



LOOK AT SIBYLLE'S version of the bed on Fun.kyti.me: 
So adorable! Lucky baby dolls :)

Featured also here:
Tip Junkie handmade projects


  1. Amazing, amazing, amazing - so cuteeeeee!

  2. Not every craft blog I happen upon wishes me goodnight in Hungarian!! I love it. I am surrounded by clementine crates because they are too cute to trash but I never know what to do with them (and my daughter loves clementines :-). So inspired.

    I'm taking my kids to Budapest for the first time next week -- come follow our adventures, if you want :-)


  3. Enjoy Budapest! I will read your experiences and please do share the bed (I mean the photo :) when you make one! Happy and safe travels!

  4. beautiful, I made one too! I love your though! http://fun.kyti.me/index.php/2011/03/clementine-box-doll-bed/

  5. Beautiful!!! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  6. Awww... what a great idea!!! Perfect for my little girls too! I love it!

    I'd love to have you share this at my For the Kids Friday Link Party! Stop on by and see all the fun we're having!


  7. So fun! I would love to feature this on my blog, Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle. Feel free to drop by and grab a featured button! Thanks!


  8. hello! do you know where i can find the crates now that clementines are out of season???? i need about 12 for a super fun project!


  9. Hi there... in 1993 I made doll beds out of shoe boxes, complete with dressers and pouffes, for my daughters. Thinking of taking the project up once more, for my grand-daughters this time around. Will share pics with you. Don't think I have patience for a tutorial though. BTW they sold really well back then.