Olivia’s Doll Crib

Beginner Projects
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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!

Gwenevere (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 01:51

The first thing I did this morning was browse the American Girls Catalog and wonder if I should really spend $70+ on a plastic crib for bitty baby. The second thing I did was check Google reader and this is what I find?! Now I'm in a quandary...Do I give my husband the miter saw before Christmas or just break it out now so I can get these doll beds done for the little ladies? Ok I'll just go get a new blade for the circular saw and use that.

amy b. (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 02:56

Dear Ana -
This post made me cry. I know you must be an incredibly busy person to give to us through the blog the way you do and as a mother, it thrills my heart to see the practical wise messages you are sending to your sweet little girl at the same time. Thanks for all you've given. I hope to build this crib very soon.

Tsu Dho Nimh (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 04:06

"After cutting with a jigsaw, I clamped the two ends together and sanded, sanded, sanded, until the ends matched."

Could you clamp them, then cut them at the same time, for a better match? I don;t use jigsaws much, so I don't know how thick things can be.

April McCoid (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 05:11

I know I'm super emotional already (26 weeks preggers), but your blog literally brought tears to my eyes when I read it. I can only hope that my own daughter will enjoy creating things with me just like you and your precious Grace. LOVE your story even more than the doll crib itself!

Michelle (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 06:08

I can't believe it! My duaghter has been asking for an art easel ever since I bought one at an auction for $1 and accidently left it there. Last week you did the art easel. Two night ago she was working on her wish list for Santa (she is limited to asking for only three items) she put down a DC, mp3 player and a crib for her doll! It is amazing the perfect timing of everything. I was looking on ebay and trying to decide if I could get a little one and then this pops up. Some things are meant to be...

Anyway you could put up plans for a DS or an mp3 player ??? :)

Heather (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 06:32

I have found that kids are just naturally good at giving.... it's usually me getting this lesson from my little ones ;) But I know how you feel having your heart swell with pride when you see the kindness in your own child's eyes! Keep the awesome projects coming! I can't wait to make these with my wee little one :)

summer (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 06:33

Hey we just saw something like this at Costco and my older daughter thought it would be perfect for our baby but of course it came only in a super bright color! Perfect timing.. I know she would love to help paint it! Thanks Ana!

Rachel (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 06:40

I am so glad I saw this. This is perfect for our doll situation. Right now all the dolls and clothes are in a box and it repeatedly gets dumped out when they are looking for a doll.
Thanks so much!

Lisa (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:27

Please tell me you're going to make a doll bed for your daughter. It is good to give but what a nice thing for her to receive as well....

Jennifer E. (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:32

You're wonderful, Ana. I hope someone makes *YOU* something handmade this Christmas! Happy Holidays and Thanks for the wonderful plans. I need to clone myself so I have time to do all that you do!

Michelle (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:00

Went to Lowe's over lunch and bought the wood for the easel and the crib! Can't wait to get started!

Ok.... I will let you off of the DS, but the rate you were going, I just had to ask

Kelly (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:07

I love that story of your daughter! How sweet! It makes me want to make special gifts with my three year old to give away!! PS... You should make a REAL crib, (one that is actually sturdy and won't be recalled in a few years) :) I would love a handmade crib that I know isn't crummy construction :)

Jennifer (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 16:20

So super cute! I'm going to have DH get to making this ASAP.

I do have a question, is it difficult for little ones to open/close the drawer?

Theresa (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 16:56

This is sooooo sweet. I just got a baby doll for my son to give to his godchild. I showed him the bed. I will pick up the lumber tomorrow. Thank you Ana.

Kate (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 17:08

AWESOME! i'm reading the details and I'm wondering- if the bottom board of the crib is 20" - don't the top and bottom rails need to be 20" as well? Looking at your actual pictures I think so - i'm just wondering if I'm missing something...

I want to make mine rock too!

Mia (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 17:17

I'm so excited! I can wrap my brain around making doll patterns, but all the wooden stuff is definitely better left up to you. I've been hoping you'd make one of these, now I just need my grandpa to help me make one before Christmas :)

Whitney (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 19:52

My kids are getting a complete Ana White Christmas :)

My 4 year old daughter will be getting an adorable kitchen set from your fabulous plans, and my 2 year old son will be getting the PB inspired kids table with rolling drawers... along with some toys for the table.

Thanks for providing the plans for our Christmas this year!

Ana White (not verified)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 22:37

Lisa, I have to tell you, tonight I made a doll high chair, intended for her cousin Clara. And she was trying not to cry when we said it was for Clara, she just wanted it sooooooo bad . . . so we gave in and will just have to make two! Since I started blogging, my daughter has sacrificed so much - dinner, bath, story time, pretty much mom in general. I think you are right, why make her also sacrifice all these cute toys she helps make. Thanks so much for your wisdom.

Bethany (not verified)

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 07:39

At the risk of sounding totally clueless... what age do little girls (or boys) start playing with dolls?

My friends daughter is going to be 1 in December and this would be the cutest birthday present, but I'm guessing it's waaaay too young for something like this. She said her daughter plays with stuffed animals, but I dunno, probably I should wait another year or two - but it's so hard because this is soooo cute! :)

Jessamy (not verified)

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 11:22

I just discovered you and your site and I am IN LOVE! Amazing, amazing, amazing!

And to Bethany I say, my daughter got a doll and bottle for her first birthday and she loved it! She's 16 months now and I'm planning to make her this crib to put that baby doll in.

Ana White (not verified)

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 22:21

Bethany, it seems like 1 is the right age for little girls to like baby dolls. My niece LOVE baby dolls and she's 1. I think you would be safe. Plus, even if your niece doesn't play with it, it can store baby dolls and clothes. I think it would be a perfect gift! Thank you Jessamy!