Olivia’s Doll Crib

Submitted by Ana White on Sun, 11/21/2010 - 19:35
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A doll crib designed for 18" dolls. Features a bottom drawer.

I've been making quite a few gifts (with of course the help of my daughter Grace) of late - you'll be seeing a lot of giftable projects, and yes, more projects fit for boys too in the next few weeks - and sometimes, Grace does ask, can I have this?

This particular gift is for Olivia, Grace's friend that she has known from birth.  And while we were building this doll crib for Olivia, Grace mischievously whispered, "Mom, let's give Olivia the doll bed and I can have the crib."

So Grace and I had a conversation about how it's better to give then to receive, and how gifts aren't about giving away what you don't want, but about giving something that you hope your friends will love.  And it's especially nice to give your time and creativity, in the form of something you made with your hands.

I'm not sure how much actually registered in the mind of a three year old.

It's Alaska.  Princess dresses go better with Uggs, over top of your clothes.  Does she seem thrilled to give away this present?  Especially after we built it together, painted it together, and sewed all the bedding and mattresses, it seemed Grace was rather reluctant to part with this doll crib.  I was a bit worried when we went to the party.

When Grace and I arrived at the birthday party, we left our gift in the entryway because (shame on me) some of the paint wasn't quite dry.  While Olivia was unwrapping her gifts, I was so impressed with all of the children there, genuinely happy for the birthday girl, never showing any signs of resentment or jealously.  But about half way through the gifts, Grace jumped up and ran over to me and whispered in my ear, "Mom, where is our gift for Olivia? Can I give it to her now?"  And she hauled it over to the pile of presents, proudly saying, "Olivia, this is my present for you, and I made it for you."

I guess I'm still three years old at heart too, because I felt great joy in seeing Olivia's delight over the gift, but especially great joy in seeing my daughter joyously give a handmade gift.

On the car ride home, Grace was quiet.  As we pulled into the yard, she said, "Mom, let's make presents for everyone this Christmas!"

Is it true that it is better to give then to receive?  I've often wondered, waiting long hours in lines at stores over the holidays, being run over by shopping carts, or seeing kids get piles of presents, over stimulated by beeping and flashing toys, or upset over not getting what they wanted.  My Gracie included.

But this experience was so joyful and fulfilling.  It IS better to give, especially when you can give from the heart.  I challenge you this Christmas to give at least one gift that you put your heart and time into, to handmake just one gift.  And over the next few weeks, I will be blogging all the gifts that I handmake, for both little girls and little boys, to teens, and adults as well.

Today's plan is for Olivia's doll crib.  This crib is so many times cuter in person than in the pictures.  I only had about five minutes to snap photos in the garage.  I'm most regretting not getting a photo of Grace sitting inside the crib, pretending to be a baby.  This crib is strong and big.

And if you would like to handmake the gift tag, you can go here to print this graphic out and add your text.  I pasted mine on scrapbooking paper.

It’s not a little piece. The drawer is really big too.


Shopping List

1 – 1×12, 8 feet long
1 – 1×6, 6 feet long
2 – 1×2, 8 feet long
wood filler, glue, and finishing supplies
1 1/4″ pocket hole screws or 2″ trim screws
2″ wood screws (can use the 2″ trim screws)
sand paper

Cut List

2 – 1×12 @ 20″ (Round tops as shown in step 2)
1 – 1×12 @ 21″ (Crib Bottom)
1 – 1×12 @ 20 3/4″ (Drawer Bottom)
2 – 1×6 @ 20 3/4″ (Drawer Front and Back)
2 – 1×6 @ 10″ (Sides of Drawer)
4 – 1×2 @ 21″ (Tops and Bottoms of Crib Rails)
10 – 1×2 @ 7 3/4″ (Crib Rails)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Power Sander


Step 1


Mark all of the 1x2s @ 21″ long as shown above. Drill either pocket holes in all the rails or in the tops/bottoms of rails and attach the rails to the tops/bottoms with screws. Use 1 1/4″ screws for pocket holes. or 2″ trim screws if you choose to drill through the tops and bottoms. Use glue. One screw will do for each rail if you use glue.

Step 2


The most difficult part of this entire project was cutting the tops of the ends the same rounded curve. I actually thought about just making the tops straight (would have been much easier and given the crib a cool modern feel) but decided to stick out the curve. Lots of sanding later, and the tops look great. After cutting with a jigsaw, I clamped the two ends together and sanded, sanded, sanded, until the ends matched. Then I built the box as shown above. Use 2″ screws through predrilled holes or 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws and glue.

Step 3


Now simply attach the rails to the ends and bottom.

Step 4


Build the drawer box as shown above. Notch out the drawer with a jigsaw.

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
I filled all holes with wood filler and let dry. Then I went over with a second coat. Then I sanded with 120 grit sandpaper. Then I removed the sanding residue with a vacuum, followed with a quick wipe down with a damp washcloth. Everything got a single coat of primer. Then Grace and I painted the crib Antique White by Valspar in satin, and the drawer Utterly Pink (I added a shot or two of black to mute the color) in Valspar satin.


gina (not verified)

Sun, 11/21/2010 - 19:54

just.... love...

my girls are both the wrong ages now, but i can definitely see this going under the tree next year.


Cece K (not verified)

Sun, 11/21/2010 - 19:56

I guess our little Grace really lived up to her name!

WIth my two we have gotten some green eyed monster in the past. But, the
majority of the time they are amazing to me. They don't take the gifts they
are given lightly. My husband and I remind them of the sacrifices people make to
give to them and others. We do not charge a single gift nor do we buy them a huge
amount of gifts (which is reeeeeallly hard sometimes, because I love to give) and we
also try to make sure that they focus on the giving and the true spirit of the season.
It might be different for everyone, my family is very Catholic and his is Lutheran and
Baptist. I, myself, am not. But I remind them of the reason for the celebration,
and that EVERYONE can agree on the practice of goodwill and family and peace.

This year we'll be building 2 shelves for the grandparents and I'm sure it'll be
the best gift in the joint!


rachael (not verified)

Sun, 11/21/2010 - 20:10

Ana, I hope it isn't too soon in our "relationship" to say that I love you. And not in a creepy stalker sort of way, just in a "you are my hero" sort of way. This is perfect, one farmhouse bed and one crib with drawer, and it will be the perfect Christmas. Thank you. The end.

Michelle (not verified)

Sun, 11/21/2010 - 20:21

Adorable! But, I especially loved the story behind it. Children are always full of wonderful surprises. I'm glad Grace enjoyed giving away the doll crib and that it inspired her to give more. So sweet!

Christi (not verified)

Sun, 11/21/2010 - 20:36

Oh Ana! You have done it again! I absolutely adore your blog... which I completely gushed about to my brother on the phone tonight... which then involved a 30 minute conversation over your designs and what we wish we had time to do in our own homes. I must make this for my daughter who will be turning 3 in December!! It will be the perfect addition to her bedroom for her babies to sleep in!

jojabis (not verified)

Sun, 11/21/2010 - 23:24

okay call me crazy but I would skip the drawer and round the bottom to make it a rocking cradle?

Robin (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 00:19

I thought about a rocking bottom too. But it seems to me like the narrow crib would just roll over? With my little one I think flat will be best, she's a mover!

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