Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cradle Fit for a Queen

Have you ever heard of a Moses basket? I hadn't either, but they're very popular here. Basically, they're  like an old-time bassinet that a baby sleeps in for the first few months. It's nice because they're light-weight and portable so you can move it around the house if you need to. We plan on having the baby sleep in our room for the first few months to make night-time feedings as smooth as possible.

A few months ago while browsing in a local thrift shop I stumbled upon a Moses basket for only £15. These can retail anywhere between £30 and £100, so this seemed like a great deal. With a new mattress and sheets, this would be perfect. The only "problem" was that I didn't love the natural birch finish on the stand. That's nothing that a little stain can't take care of though.

First thing I did was disassemble the stand and laid out all the pieces on a big tarp.

Wearing a heavy-duty mask, I gave the pieces a light sanding to remove any debris and make it nice and smooth. Then I grabbed some walnut stain and got to work. I left the dowels until the end since I figured it would be easier to stain them while they're suspended. That way I could reach all angles at once.

After three coats of stain, the pieces were looking awesome. To finish it off, I just needed to give it a quick coat of varnish. Here's where things went terribly wrong. I grabbed this can of spray paint that promised a glossy protective enamel. Let's blame it on my pregnancy brain, but I assumed it meant a clear protective enamel. It did not. It was pitch black.

Once I started spraying, I wasn't sure what to do. It was clearly black, but I held out this ridiculous hope that it would dry clear. I panicked and lamented the days of work that I had just thrown away. Thankfully, Dan is more level-headed than I am and suggested using paint thinner to remove the coat of spray paint. Genius! Even with my heavy-duty mask, that stuff is WAY too strong for me to be around, so Dan graciously agreed to strip the paint for me. Thank heavens it actually worked!

It was a very messy process, but it worked beautifully. The paint thinner didn't affect the stain at all. Now all that was left to do was apply a real coat of clear varnish. A tip for how to tell if a varnish is clear--it will say so on the can. :)

Once everything was dry, I reassembled the whole thing. Now baby Levin has a cradle fit for a queen.


  1. That looks so great! Haha, your pregnancy brain reminds me of mine at 35 weeks. I tired to put diesel in my gasoline tank.
    Good job Dan, for fixing the black spray paint.

    1. Thanks Megan! Hopefully pregnancy brain subsides a bit. It hasn't been too bad, but it's embarrassing when it happens.

  2. It's so cute! And you're right it looks way better with the stain. Great job! - Dina

  3. Calli, it looks fabulous! I'm so excited for you and Dan! The Moses basket sounds like a great idea, I can imagine it will be super convenient to have something so portable.

  4. You and Dan are a great is so cute and Jennifer will love it.