Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gone Crafty: A Cheap & Easy Crib Rail Protector Tutorial

It was a little over a year ago that Husband and I carefully and lovingly picked out Bella's nursery furniture. We decided on a crib that can eventually convert into a full-sized bed, thinking it would be perfect someday for a guest room. We patted ourselves on the back - how clever we were to invest in a quality crib that would last through multiple babies and then become an attractive adult bed! Look at us go!

FOOLS. Just like the purchase of the not-safe-for-babies baby blanket, I didn't quite understand what I was doing. You see, what we didn't know, or at least didn't understand, was that sweet little babies grow into wee beavers that gnaw on anything and everything. Behold a couple spots on our quality (read: not cheap) crib today.

At this point, the damage is mainly to the side rails, but I knew I needed to figure something out quickly lest our crib get reduced to fire wood. I was feeling irritated at the thought of spending $40-$60 on rail protectors, but what's a mama to do? I mentioned my baby beaver situation to my friend Susan and she gave me the best advice: make your own using the fleece tie-blanket technique. So here is my $8 (!!) crib rail protector solution.

The Tutorial

Supplies: 2 yards fleece fabric and decent scissors. That's it. Seriously.

Step 1: Wash fleece fabric. Drape it over your baby for peek-a-boo purposes a couple of times.

Step 2: With fabric folded in half, drape the fabric over front rail (the longest length of fabric should be parallel with rail). You want to leave about 10-12" of the doubled fabric hanging down in the front; enough so that the strips will be long enough to tie.

Step 3: Using your trusty scissors, snip away the extra fabric along the front bottom. The fabric will extend too far along the top of the crib, but that's OK. It will all get figured out in time, my grasshopper.
Step 4: Starting at one end, line the fabric up with the first slat opening. Cut the fabric from the bottom up to the base of the crib rail. Take care not to cut above where you will tie it. Do the same on the back side.

Step 5 and 6: Tie the front and back flaps together TIGHTLY with a sturdy double knot. Move on to the next slat opening and repeat step number 4.

Step 7: Keep going until you reach the end of the rail.

Step 8: Snip away the strips of fabric in between the bows.
Step 9: Trim up the bow ends to make them look uniform and neat.

Alternative Step 9: Cut the bows off completely for a different look. Try to tell yourself it looks all fancy like Chinese knots or perhaps rose buds. Acknowledge to self that you should have gone with the original step 9 because it's kind of ugs like this. Sigh. Live and learn and possibly re-do the front rail in the future.

Step 10
: Repeat steps 2-9 on both side rails.

Step 11: Change crib sheet as there is fleece dust everywhere.

Step 12: Test it out. Mmmm...fleecy deliciousness!
I'm writing this nearly two years later (1/6/12) after seeing it float around Pinterest to add that the fleece held up the entire time my daughter was in a crib. In fact, it's...uh...maybe still on the side rails of her toddler bed (am lazy, yo). So for those who worry about durability - it wasn't a problem!


  1. Love this! What a great idea. :) I can't wait to see Bella soon - she's turning into such a big grown up girl!

  2. I like your idea of snipping off the extra "tabs". Not sure why I didn't think of that--I just tried tying them all awkwardly. Looks like I have some snipping in my future! :) And I must say, you have the most adorable beaver baby :)

  3. Super great! I'm guessing we'll have to do this in the future, but not until Ava has a)the ability to stand up in her crib and b) teeth. :0)

  4. Yup, our nice crib has been attacked by the bipedal beavers too. I like your solution (but am probably too lazy to impliment even that :)

  5. What a fantastic idea! I am definately going to remember this trick for my future kids!!! And I must say I love Bella's confused look as she is chewing on the fleece LOL. She's adorable!

  6. I'll be making this tomorrow! We tried buying the crib rail protectors, but they never worked properly (wouldn't stick). This looks simple, fun, and cute!


  7. What a great idea! I wish I saw this before mine got to their cribs! I have the expensive $20 cover and have used blankets for the sides.

    BTW- we have the same crib.. I think! :) Both of my girls have it. Baby Cache.. I think it's called. Very beautiful!

  8. This was such a brilliant idea! I used a thin fleece blanket that I had in the closet and it worked perfectly. Thanks for the awesome-ness! :D

  9. This. was. awesome. Joann's had a 40% off sale on fleece today--$10 and it is totally cute. THANK YOU! I had gone online and it was going to cost me like $40 and it would have been not nearly as adorable! Every little bit helps! ~Nicole

  10. totally attempting this tomorrow. we found bite marks this weekend on her crib :(.

  11. This is super cute and looks easy but I am concerned about clean-ability. Since you can't take it off and wash it do you have trouble with keeping it clean?

  12. Fran - That is the one problem with it - it's not something you can clean. However, I have always been lucky to not have a spitter-upper, throw-upper, poopy-diaper take-offer, so I had no problems. She doesn't really do much more than raise herself up on one side of the crib so it still looks fresh. But I'm also not one to get too fussy about cleanliness with things like that. If something LOOKS clean that's usually good enough for me. If you are someone who knows you want to clean it monthly or something, it might not be the best option for you or you would need to figure out a way to make it re-attachable.

    1. Could easily add velcro instead of tying the knots and that would make it re-attachable.Just keep the tab on the back side, add velcro to the front inner side & of course to the back tab and then bring it around and stick em together. No knots and you'kll be able to clean it.

  13. I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for sharing this terrific idea. I went out and bought a fun fleece pattern for my daughter's crib today and just placed it on. It was so easy to do and it looks so cute. She had chewed up the corner of her crib pretty bad and I didn't want to spend a fortune on those ugly plastic covers. This is genius. Thanks again!

  14. Thank you for this! I wish I had seen it a few months ago when my son first started chewing on his crib. There are some really bad marks in a few places. It was such a nice crib :( I didn't know what to do. The plastic ones didn't fit on my crib. I tried putting vinegar on but I don't think the taste lasted long.
    I know how to sew and even though this doesn't require any sewing it will be super easy for me to do. Great! I'm so happy I saw this. Now I just need to go to the sewing store (too bad there aren't any close by).
    Thanks again!

  15. yes. found you through pinterst. thanks for sharing your idea!

  16. We have run into this problem at our house now, and I tied a makeshift crib sheet protector over the rails, but it's a) ugly and b) slips and still leaves the rail uncovered. I was seriously about to go out and buy the expensive ones from the baby store but saw your idea on Pinterest. It was so worth staying up an hour (or two) later to save some money and get a fun and easy craft project for tomorrow! Thank you so much! Great work.

  17. We have that exact same foolishly expensive crib that my daughter is knawing to pieces, Thank You so much!

  18. Thank you so much for this great post! The crib looks much cuter with this cover than the bought ones! I almost spent that foolish amount today at a baby store!

  19. Awesome! I just had a lttile girl and I never knew this when I had my boys

  20. I did this as well over years ago and the crib is now on its third child (yes still unwashed) and it holds up great!!!!!!!!

  21. thanks a lot for this fantastics idea. i ll go to do it rigth now :)