LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

Project For A Newborn

1518 Views 12 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Laban
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.
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
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!
See less See more
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.
See less See more
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.

Furniture Comfort Table Wood Club chair


See less See more
Kaleb, that's a neat design. Never saw one of those before.
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.
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.
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.
Another idea is a small rocking chair. A little more involved project.
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.
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.
I have made a rocking cradle for a newborn. A toy box with no lid at all keeps it inexpensive.
Wood Hardwood Vehicle Outdoor furniture Plywood


See less See more
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
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.