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Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Crib: The End

Hello again, dear readers!

After about a month of hard work, the crib is finally done! It's been sanded, painted, reinforced, mounted on caster wheels, and is finally ready to be put to use.

Head and foot boards assembled

Unfortunately, the stretcher bar at the bottom was missing a screw. No worries. My husband's hoarded hardware took care of that little problem

Ready to paint

In a significant deviation from the original plan, I assembled the crib first before painting it. This was my husband's bright idea because he wanted to see where reinforcements would be needed in the overall piece. Though this was primarily my project, I did let him do the planning and some of the reinforcements. Due to his engineer's brain and decades of carpentry experience, this was the only part of the assembly that I let him handle. But, for the purpose of gaining experience, I helped by measuring, cutting, and mounting an extra plank on the back bottom of the crib, borrowing my hubby's skill-saw and drills for the job. Despite gorilla-ing the bolts for security and sturdiness, the back bottom part of the crib felt a little too wobbly for my liking. Since it was going in the back of the crib where nobody would see it, I left the reinforcement unpainted. The other side felt fine, and I will be taking the front side of the crib down when the baby is big enough so she can have a toddler bed.

All painted! One coat was enough

The paint I used was a water-based latex paint. Everywhere I looked online and at Home Depot, for the purpose of painting a crib, latex paint was recommended. The first coat was pretty opaque and I debated on whether or not I should do a second coat. I still had some paint left over and the 150 grit sandpaper for this purpose, but after my husband looked it over, he told me it wasn't necessary. One coat was sufficient. He told me he thought it looked better now than it did in the online pictures or store models.

The reinforcement. This is on the back side of the crib, so nobody's gonna see it.

Before bringing the crib into the bedroom, there were three final tasks that needed completion: installing the caster wheels, attaching the springs, and one final cleaning. Though it took me a bit to figure out how to separate the caster's socket from the wheel, my hubby handled the drilling on the legs. I'd planned on doing it, but he insisted on doing the drilling because the bit was larger and he had better control of the drill.

Man at work

Wheels on!

The spring

The rest of the final assembly was tolerable, though annoying. After wiping down the springs with bleach and getting it ready to attach to the frame of the crib, I had two hiccups occur here. The first hiccup was because one of the holes for where the bolt was supposed to go and attach the spring to the frame had a messed up thread and no matter how careful I was, I just could not get the bolt to take. My husband solved that problem by drilling another hole right about at the same level and inserting a carriage bolt and nut into the arm of the spring, but not before cursing the manufacturer for making the bolt holes in such an inconvenient place. This was due to the second hiccup: having allen wrenches that were too long to fit in the narrow gap where the bolts attached the spring to the frame. If my hubby hadn't searched the tool drawers for the L-shaped allen wrenches and found one that fit, I honestly don't know how I would have finished the installation. Hubby or I would have had to drill extra holes for new screws, thus further delaying completion and being an overall pain in the ass to do.

The crib is complete. Now time to bring it in

I finally wiped down the whole crib before calling it done. Since the crib sat outside and was assembled outdoors, I wanted to be absolutely sure the crib was clean of any outside pathogens. I'm a huge stickler for cleanliness, especially since a baby will be sleeping in that crib. While she's never been a sickly child, I don't want to take that risk. She'll have plenty of opportunities to build up her immune system as she gets older and more active.

After my hubby helped me to put the crib in the bedroom, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a crib mattress we had been given by a family friend about a year ago fit perfectly in the crib! Though our church friends gave us a mattress to go with the crib, I planned to use the one our family friend gave because that mattress was already inside our home (we used to play with the baby on it), but I was concerned that it might be too large to fit in the frame. Imagine my delight when I saw how perfectly the mattress lay on the spring. However, thanks to my neurotic cat, Pest, I discovered that the bottom of the mattress was covered in cat pee (there's nothing physically wrong with him. He just feels the need to pee on everything because he's territorial. It's a never-ending job, cleaning up after him) after I took it out of the closet where I'd been storing it. Needless to say, after a cursing tirade directed at Pest while he roosted on top of the car, I took the mattress outside and bleached the hell out of it. Experience has taught me that there is no substance more pervasive than cat pee, but I was thankful that the mattress was made of plastic and was easily cleaned.

All done. A baby can sleep here now

After the mattress was cleaned, dried and eau-de-tomcat free, I finally dressed the crib. Mattress, waterproof barrier, cover sheet, and I was done. It sure looked pretty. I haven't decided if I'm going to add a pillow in there or not (I have a small, flat one that would give her some padding without sinking her head in). Guess that'll be something to bring up at our next pediatrician's appointment.

But the most important question remained unanswered: what did the baby think of her new bed?

At first, she was unsure about it and wanted me to pick her up

But then, after her bath and night feed, she went to sleep. I was especially thrilled to see that her diaper and blanket baskets still fit easily under the crib, thus saving us space. Her cradle was arranged in a similar way

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the outcome of this project. I got to flex my DIY muscles and build something practical. This gives me a big confidence boost for future projects. That being said, if I was going to redo this project, I would first use the right tools for the job (sanding wheels save arms!) and paint the pieces separately before assembling. I'd planned on doing that, but my husband talked me into going a different route. I would also probably tape over the holes where all the hardware went, since I think my paint played a part in that one spring hole's thread being messed up.

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