Simple Changing Table

Beginner Projects
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This simple changing table features is basically a bookcase with a removeable topper, enabling you to convert back to a changing table. Features two large shelves and a divided topper, perfect for a changing pad and keeping baby necessities at hand.

I’d love to see this changing table filled with baskets or bins in bright colors, painted white. Would be adorable! Also wanted to mention to those of you seeking a white finish that you could use 16″ wide shelving for the shelves, and then you would only have to finish the trim and legs out. It would be super cheap too, but don’t forget that the dimensions on the side trim will change slightly, as a 1×16 only measures 15 1/2″ wide.

Today, when I checked the mail, there were two baby shower invites.  Two.  Time for some changing table plans.  Simple ones.

Like this one from Pottery Barn Kids.

That fits a standard changing pad and has a little space on top for those items that you must grab when you don't have a free hand.  I remember when Grace was a baby, we lived in the garage, slept on a mattress on the concrete floor, and an old card table served as a changing table.  And the changing table kept me sane.  I'm so glad that you might be able to have something better for your baby.

Dimensions shown above. Make sure your changing pad matches the topper dimensions.


Shopping List

2 – 1×2 Boards, 8′ Long
1 – Sheet of 3/4″ MDF or Plywood, cut into 15 1/2″ wide and 8′ long strips (these strips will be referred to as 1×16 boards)
1 – 10′ 1×4 Board
4 – 1×3, 8′ Long
12′ of edge beading, 3/4″ thick
2″ Screws
1 1/4″ Screws
1 1/4″ Nails
Wood Glue
Wood Filler
Sand Paper

Common Materials
wood conditioner
Cut List

4 – 1×2 @ 34″ (Legs)
2 – 1×4 @ 15 1/2″ (Top Trim, Ends)
4 – 1×3 @ 15 1/2″ (Shelf Trim, Ends)
4 – 1×16 @ 40″ (Shelves)
4 – 1×3 @ 38 1/2″ (Shelf Trim, Sides)
2 – 1×4 @ 38 1/2″ (Top Trim, Sides)
2 – 1×3 @ 15 1/2″ (Topper Trim)
2 – 1×3 @ 41 1/2″ (Topper Trim)
1 – 1×2 @ 7 1/4″ (Topper Partition)
1 – 1×2 @ 15 1/2″ (Topper Partition)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Table Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

Work on a clean level surface. Measure out all joints and mark before fastening. Be safe and use glue. Have fun! And predrill all screw holes before fastening.


Step 1

Build your ends as shown above. Use 2″ screws and glue unless you have a Kreg Jig™ and you can fasten the end trim from the insides.

Step 2

Fasten the shelves to the end trim pieces as shown above. Again, 2″ screws and glue or use the Kreg Jig™ from the underside of the shelves. Keep the top edge flush on the shelves.

Step 3

Trim out the shelf sides as shown above, use 2″ screws and glue. Fasten the trim to the legs to for extra support on the shelves from the outside of the leg or use a Kreg Jig™.

Step 4

Edge Trim
Use 1 1/4″ nails and glue to fasten edge trim around the top of the table, as shown above. Miter your corners at 45 degrees for a neat edge. Cut the edge trim to fit, as dimensions are not shown in the above diagram.

Step 5

Step 6

Attach the side trim to the topper as shown above. Also attach to the end trim from step 5. Use glue and 2″ nails or screws.

Step 7

Attach the partitions to the bottom of the topper, and to the side and end trim pieces as shown above. Use glue.

Step 8

From the underside of the changing table, attach the topper with 1 1/4″ screws. Omit the glue if you wish to remove the topper at a future date.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler. Let dry. Sand with coarse sandpaper. Refill with wood filler. Let dry and sand with medium grit sandpaper. Follow up with fine sandpaper. Vacuum with a soft bristled brush. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Then prime and paint as desired.


Laura (not verified)

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 01:54

Love this! I never had a changing table with either of my kids, so if I ever have another, I'm building this for sure!

Katherine (not verified)

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 02:58

This is perfect! I am hoping to have a baby soon, and I am definitely going to build this table.

casicola (not verified)

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 03:18

I cant wait to see pics too!!! its gonna be adorable!

Please forgive me if I am doing this wrong and please tell me how to do this.... but I have a wine rack/book shelf from crate and barrel that i just know you can design and I can is the link..
Can you help? We have no kids and really would love to make something for our house:)

merideth (not verified)

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 03:48

that is great! we have a LOT of babies coming in our family and circle of friends. surely somebody needs a changing table! :)

Lissa @ MyThri… (not verified)

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 06:16

LOVE THIS! I am having our first baby soon and have been wanting a changing table without spending $200. I'm looking forward to making this on a Saturday with my hubby!

Paula (not verified)

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 06:50

I'm done having babies, but I think this would make an awesome shower gift! Thanks for yet another set of awesome plans, Ana!

spinellifamily (not verified)

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 09:44

YES! I've never bought a changing table because they were way too expensive, I'm totally doing this for the next kid. Thank you thank you!!

Mindy (not verified)

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 12:07

Bless you! I was just thinking last night as I considered selling my 2 yr. old's changing table (because we need the cash for me going back to school), "Maybe I should hold on to it for the next kid" (who will be at least 3 years down the road). Now, no worries, I've got plans to make one.
So, thanks, for outfitting my family now & helping with my future plans, too.

Rebecca (not verified)

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 08:44

I think you must have been reading my mind. I've been looking to purchase a changing table for a couple of months, but I couldn't justify the cost of a sturdy one and the ones I can afford seemed so unstable. I kept thinking I wish Ana would post plans for a simple one (the scalloped wall system is a bit too ambitious for a very pregnant lady like me...although its still something I want to build). THANK YOU for posting these!!! You and your site are such a blessing.

Amy (not verified)

Mon, 10/25/2010 - 14:42

my friend and I just finished this table (thanks for the plans by the way!). We did have some issues with wood splitting, even with pre-drilling and countersinking the screws. Are 2 inch screws really necessary for all the pieces? We built it with pine. It seems really sturdy though!

Phillip (not verified)

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 12:09

I built this one with pine. Cost right around $70 compared to a store bought. I stained it with two coats of cherry stain, and two coats of polyurethane. I got it done in a week. I would suggest omitting the edging. My wife and I feel that it looks fine with out it, also I did mess up the edging trying to cut it.

Phillip (not verified)

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 12:11

I built this one with pine. Cost right around $70 compared to a store bought. I stained it with two coats of cherry stain, and two coats of polyurethane. I got it done in a week. I would suggest omitting the edging. My wife and I feel that it looks fine with out it, also I did mess up the edging trying to cut it.F:\DCIM\100KZ712

Phillip (not verified)

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 12:11

I built this one with pine. Cost right around $70 compared to a store bought. I stained it with two coats of cherry stain, and two coats of polyurethane. I got it done in a week. I would suggest omitting the edging. My wife and I feel that it looks fine with out it, also I did mess up the edging trying to cut it.

Kathy (not verified)

Sun, 12/26/2010 - 17:03

We wanted to get a changing table for our grandson for Christmas. The selection for ready made is dismal, and the prices ridiculous for particle board and paper veneer, so I was very pleased to find theses plans. We had the wood pre-cut by the lumber yard, and had it together and painted in a few evenings. We made it out of pine and also had some splitting even with pre-drilling. Had to adjust the compartment on the topper to accommodate a 33" changing mattress - could not find a 32" one, but that was easy to do. Cost @ $130.00 including the building supplies, primer, paint, and mattress. The table is very sturdy and my daughter and son-in-law are thrilled with it. Thanks!

Brandon (not verified)

Sat, 02/05/2011 - 09:07

I am confused as to why this says to cut the "1x16" boards only 15 1/2" wide, because 15 1/2" shelves do not fit a standard 16x32 changing pad. You know when I discovered this? When the entire table was assembled. Now I have a changing table with a bunch of time and money invested, that absolutely does not work as a changing table. Which is not awesome.

In reply to by Brandon (not verified)


Tue, 03/15/2011 - 10:35

Why don't you just cut down the pad? Seems like a simple solution to me. I plan to make my own pad with some 2 or 3" foam from Hobby Lobby, and waterproof fabric. It's still going to be a great piece for your home, and you can always re-use it as a bookcase by removing the top, as Ana suggests at the beginning of the post. I plan to just tack down the top so it's stable, but easy to remove and patch the holes later.

Guest (not verified)

Fri, 01/20/2012 - 20:11

I too agree with your concern for the incorrect dimension. Because of your post, I made a sample top before anything, got out the changing pad and gave it a shot. It really doesn't fit very well. I am using a 16x32 changing pad from Babies R Us...pretty standard. So, I've decided to make the depth 16 1/4" after measuring the changing pad and also accounting for having the cover on it. This will obviously change the other dimensions as well. Thanks for your comment!

matthew (not verified)

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 06:41

Just completed this project, I'm wondering what you would suggest for a safe primer and paint. Need to get this done ASAP. Babies coming quick.

Jessie Tobey (not verified)

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 11:03

Is there any chance you might come out with plans for a mini crib? My husband and I are planning another baby but we don't have a lot of space, and my daughters old crib is waaay to big to put in there with her toddler bed. I love your site and I can't wait to get started on a few of your space savers!


Sun, 01/13/2013 - 02:13

So I've seen a few people post on this project, that they've built it and it works great. I don't know how that's possible since these plans are seriously flawed.

I was really excited when I saw this changing table. It's simple in construction and looks great. I was excited until I made all my cuts, put my ends together and found that something was seriously amiss. I thought I had done something wrong, cut everything wrong. My motto is measure twice and cut once. It took three adults an hour measuring the pieces three, five, eight times, and looking at the plans over and over to finally realize that the error was not in how I cut the pieces. The error is in the plans themselves. I learned a valuable lesson. Never assume the plans you get are accurate (even if they're made is Sketchup).

Anything that says it should be 15.5" long in the cut list should actually be 16" long. The shelves themselves are 16" wide which makes it necessary for all the end pieces to be 16" wide as well.

Ana, this is a great site with lots of great ideas. I'm very appreciative of that fact. If this is the first you've heard of this problem with the plans for this particular project I can understand. But now you know it's a problem and should either correct the plans and re-upload them or take them down. I originally spent a little more than $80 on materials for this project. I was able to make it work after I had to use additional lumber to make new ends with the correct dimensions. It cost me more money, more time, and a lot of frustration.

Your site is great. Keep up the good work. Please fix this problem so others don’t have the same experience I did.

Mandy Rae

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 14:24

The instructions clearly state from the beginning that the 15.5" wide length of MDF would be referred to as 1x16. The authors notes mention & I assumed it was because you could alternatively go by a length of 1x16 which would actually measure smaller.

Be sure to always read through ALL the instructions before cutting anything. I also like to cut as I go to be sure I haven't goofed a half inch here or there.
Glad you got it worked out but wanted to point out the solution in case someone else had the same issue.


Sun, 01/13/2013 - 19:36

Mandy Rae Thank you for your kind response. I now see that I was in error.

Thank you for making it clear to me. And my apologies to Ana. I'm still a fan.

Gary Fields

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 17:02

I made this table but it took two attempts. I am a beginner and made more mistakes than could be overcome so I had to start again. But, once I finished it the second time it was AWESOME! Made it for my first grandchild that as of this writing is 3 days past due I wish I could add a picture as I did make a couple tiny tweaks that I really like. And I did use expensive sanded plywood that added quite a bit to the final cost but the smooth, shiny finish (painted high gloss white) makes it well worth it.


Mon, 12/18/2017 - 17:45

How does this adapt to a bookcase? Arent you left with holes on the top surface?


Fri, 10/01/2021 - 18:24

As a woodworker, I should have seen the red flags, (like the author using the term "Kreg Jig" to refer to a pocket hole jig) but I liked the pictures so much, I decided to ignore my instincts and give it a try. Beware, the entire strength of this design relies on screwing into end grain. That's not strong at all, but even worse when it's plywood endgrain, which is very frail. You should never, ever rely solely on screwing into the edge of plywood. It will split and fall apart. Plywood is not made to work in that way. I would suggest screwing another piece of wood under the plywood for it to rest on.

The beginning of the plans say it will fit a standard 16" wide pad. This is incorrect because the designer didn't account for the width of the boards. As a result, the pad won't fit. After having the screws strip out of the endgrain if boards and the entire unit collapse 3 times, I will not put my new son on it until I've fixed the flaws in this design.

The designer does a good job making the plans in SketchUp, but those shelves are not going to hold up over time designed the way this is designed and if the shelves go, the structure of this becomes dangerous to place your baby onto.