Project For A Newborn

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Forum topic by JayG46 posted 05-16-2014 02:25 AM 902 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JayG46's profile


138 posts in 1282 days

05-16-2014 02:25 AM

Fellow jocks, I’m in need of some inspiration for a project. My sister’s friend is having a child and my sister has asked me to build something for said child out of wood. My issues:

1. First and foremost, the budget is under $200. They already have a crib but something like that would like be out of the question due to cost concerns. I’m not looking to charge full price, but I’m also not looking to spend 3 full days and $150 in lumber on it either.

2. No matter what I make, it’s going to be a while before this kid can use it in any meaningful way. According to the internet (I clearly do not have children), babies don’t really even grasp objects until they are a few months old and aren’t crawling until they are more like 6 months. I thought about a child size table and a few simple chairs but that is at odds with both of the issues listed so far.

3. The idea of a toy chest crossed my mind, but I’m worried that it’s going to be dangerous unless I spend $50 on those Rockler torsion hinges, thereby destroying my budget. Is this a valid concern or has Rockler solved a problem that wasn’t a problem with these pricey doo-dads?

I’ve looked around here a little bit but haven’t found anything that seems appropriate. A simple bookcase seems easy enough but the kid isn’t going to be reading for quite some time! Are there toys you can make out of wood that a child can enjoy without hurting itself with in infancy? Perhaps a changing table?

Thanks for the help.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

12 replies so far

View endgrainy's profile


234 posts in 1311 days

#1 posted 05-16-2014 02:44 AM

Hi Jay,

You’re right: an infant doesn’t do much for the first several months except eat, sleep, and poop. Whatever you build for them will not be used by the child for at least several months, with the exception of a small toy they could grasp. Your project will be more likely used by the parents. A changing table would get expensive, and many people just put a changing station on a dresser these days.

I think a bookcase is actually a very good idea, depending on what furniture the parents have in the nursery already. The child won’t be reading themselves, but parents often read books to children from birth in order to stimulate language development and bonding. When we had our first daughter, many people gave us books as presents and a bookcase was necessary to store them.

We were gifted one like this:

Another good idea (and cheaper) is a step stool the child could use when they start to work on potty training or for the bathroom sink. Paxorion posted a nice one a while ago

You could paint the child’s name on it, which we did when we made some to give to children of our family and friends. The kid won’t use it until around 2, but when they need it they sure are handy to have.

Good luck!

-- Follow me on Instagram @endgrainy

View CoachSchroeder's profile


97 posts in 1027 days

#2 posted 05-16-2014 02:45 AM

I have a 2 year old.
Here is a short list that might inspire you-
1. toy chest- babies have lots of crap
2. book shelf- babies have lots of crap. especially books
3. changing table
4. wood blocks, both the classic alphabet blocks and matching shapes blocks
5. stepping stool

But as you said, basically a newborns just eat and poop.
So really you are doing this for mom and dad.
One thing that would be really convenient is a small foot stool at a shallow angle (or adjustable) to put at the foot of a rocker/recliner. I still wish I had one for the days when I need to rock my little guy.

good luck.

-- -Sam, in Wisconsin

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1720 posts in 1393 days

#3 posted 05-16-2014 02:46 AM

How about something like this. So your sister can keep a close eye on the little one those first nights. (Your sisters going to be hurting when she gets home so she shouldn’t be doing sit ups those first nights). It could be done with plywood and hardwood trim. Shouldn’t cost too much and would be very functional.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1448 days

#4 posted 05-16-2014 07:10 AM

Kaleb, that’s a neat design. Never saw one of those before.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View doitforfun's profile


199 posts in 1031 days

#5 posted 05-16-2014 09:43 AM

My cousin’s husband carves baby spoons and sells them on etsy. That fits your parameters: personalized and inexpensive to build. Just be careful what you finish it with.

-- Brian in Wantagh, NY

View JayG46's profile


138 posts in 1282 days

#6 posted 05-16-2014 10:20 AM

Guys, thanks very much for the input.

Kaleb, that is a really cool design and something that would certainly useful right away.

Endgrainy and CoachSchroeder, thank you both for the wisdom and suggestions. I think what I’m leaning towards right now is a bookshelf that has some drawers in the bottom. It seems like it would bring in some the utility of a toy chest without the danger of having a lid. And although it wouldn’t be useful to the child right away, it’s something he could have for a long time.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

View MrFid's profile


793 posts in 1328 days

#7 posted 05-16-2014 11:01 AM

Do you have a lathe, or access to one? If so you can make a baby rattle with captured rings pretty easily. I posted an example a little while ago in my projects. I make them for a lot of my friends who have babies. I have not, however, made one for my own son. Strange.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View sras's profile


4363 posts in 2552 days

#8 posted 05-16-2014 01:08 PM

Another idea is a small rocking chair. A little more involved project.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 952 days

#9 posted 05-16-2014 01:19 PM

I was thinking of a rocking cradle.
2 sides, 2 ends, a bottom, and a couple of curved rails for the rocker arms and your done.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View derosa's profile


1568 posts in 2259 days

#10 posted 05-16-2014 01:26 PM

The rocking chair is a good one, both my kids love them. The other is a rocking horse of some sort. I’ve made 7-8 rocking dinos so far most for donations and all the kids love them that get them. Both my kids started using them around 12-13 months. I found I prefer rattles with dried beans in them, the dog found capture rings to be tasty, finish with shellac for a smooth, sliver free finish, made one with just a danish oil and threw it out when the kid shoved it in a dirty diaper i was changing that was out of reach but not swing range, shellac could have been wiped.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2391 posts in 2345 days

#11 posted 05-16-2014 11:08 PM

I have made a rocking cradle for a newborn. A toy box with no lid at all keeps it inexpensive.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View Joshua Oehler's profile

Joshua Oehler

169 posts in 1114 days

#12 posted 05-18-2014 05:10 AM

You could go for something a little different in the toy chest. It is not written anywhere that “All Toy Chests Must Have Hinged Lids” Maybe one where the lid slides open to the side? If it slide out far enough with a little stool it could be a space saving table as well. That could be done with a set of drawer guides easily enough or go all out with some big sliding dovetails or something

-- - "But old news can change, as memories float downstream. So don't judge me by my failures, only by my dreams"

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