Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DIY Nursery Decor

I spent the first half of my pregnancy daydreaming about what the nursery would look like.  When it came time to actually work on the nursery, I was hit by a hard and cold reality. Nurseries are expensive!  Our nursery budget was quickly depleted on the essentials: the crib, a diaper changer, and a glider.  There was hardly anything left for decor.  I did extensive searching at even the most budget-friendly places (Walmart, Amazon, Hobby Lobby), and all I could find was over-priced, ugly decor.  Since I was hormonal, I literally cried over our plain and boring nursery.

Eventually, my pregnancy hormones switched my mood from sad to motivated, and I knew what I had to do:  DIY Nursery Decor!  But there was one problem...I'm not crafty, at all.  I can't sew, I can't paint, heck, I can't even color within the lines.  So I did a lot of brainstorming.  Eventually I came up some DIY ideas so easy that an idiot (aka me) could do it.  And you know what? Everything turned out even better than I anticipated! In fact, it turned out so well, I'm going to share my ideas with you guys.

DIY Wall Art
The main thing I needed for my nursery decor was something for the walls.  However, paintings and drawings tend to be way over-priced.  Add in the fact that I needed it to match the nursery's crib set, I wasn't having any luck finding anything suitable for the nursery walls. Then it hit me...Craft stores are filled with really pretty scrapbook paper!  So I sauntered on over to Hobby Lobby (and then later hit up Michael's), and picked out several pieces of scrapbook paper that coordinated with each other and the crib bedding.  I then bought a bunch of inexpensive picture frames and put the scrapbook paper in it. Voila! Pretty pictures to hang on the nursery wall for under twenty dollars total.

My sister-in-law also made me some DIY wall art. She found a quote she really loved, and wrote it out in nice handwriting, and framed it:

Another good idea that I learned about recently is to frame the covers of classic children's books.  You can probably find a bunch at thrift stores, if you have the heart to cut the book up.  If you don't have the heart, don't worry, your child certainly will.  I have tons of covers forcibly removed from their books scattered all over the nursery now. 

DIY Crib Mobile
I also really wanted a beautiful mobile for the baby to stare at when laying in her crib.  As a person with no experience with children's stuff, I had no idea how expensive mobiles were. They are ridiculously expensive! Ridiculously!  I spent a few days googling DIY crib mobiles and eventually found a type of mobile that even a non-crafty gal like me could make: a ribbon mobile.  I went to Michael's and bought 6 different types/colors of ribbon and a wooden embroidery hoop.  I painted the embroidery hoop white so that it would match the nursery better.  I also grabbed some double-sided scotch tape, scissors, and fishing wire.  In about 30 minutes (and for under 10 dollars), I created my very own crib mobile.

How to make your own:

1. Get a wooden embroidery hoop; separate the 2 hoops (there will be a bigger outside one and a smaller inside one).  Paint the hoop if you desire.

2. Get several different types of ribbon (I got 5).  Cut all the ribbons in slightly different lengths (14 inches, give or take an inch or two).  Lay out/line up all the ribbons out in a row, in the order you want to put them up on the mobile.  I suggest using a big table for this project!

3. Tie fishing wire to the inside smaller hoop in at least 3 evenly dispersed places, so that it will hold up the mobile in a level manner when hung from the ceiling.  Go ahead and hang it off something, because it'll be easier to make the mobile with it hanging up (I hung ours from the kitchen light fixture!).

4.  Put double-scotch tape on the inside of the smaller hoop, all the way around. Press the top of each ribbon strand onto the tape, one at a time, either side-by-side or slightly overlapping, so that the ribbon sticks to the tape.  Keep putting up ribbon until you've completely covered the entire inside circle.

5. Snap/screw on the bigger hoop back onto the small inside hoop.  Hang up the mobile from a ceiling hook with fishing line, tying all 3 strands to the hook. Make sure the mobile is hung high enough up so that your baby will not be able to grab it.

6. Optional: There are visible metal screws in most embroidery hoops.  I made a bow with the leftover ribbon, and glued it over the screws.

DIY Wall Letters

I really wanted to do the Wooden Wall Letter trend, where you spell out your baby's name. Yet even Walmart's price was ten dollars a letter!  Unless your kid's name is going to be Zoe or Jim, it's going to be super costly.  However, craft stores sell plain wooden letters for a dollar a pop.  So I decided to try to buy those, and decorate them on my own. At first I was too confident in my non-existent crafting skills. My original plan was to get scrapbook paper, modgepodge it onto the wooden letters, and then use an x-acto knife to cut off the excess paper.  But that proved to be way too tricky for unartistic chick like me.  So I re-evaluated, and went with a much simpler approach.  I painted the letters all one color (brown), and then blobbed (white paint) polka dots all over it.  I then hung each letter up by some pretty ribbon.  So, here is my under $10 total (as opposed to $60 total) wall letters:

DIY Paper Lantern Mobile
I wanted to do another mobile for the glider aka "nursing station".  I had a bunch of paper lanterns leftover from my baby shower, so I tied each lantern with fishing wire and tied them all together, so that each lantern hung at a different length.  I then tied that fishing wire to a ceiling hook.
You can get paper lanterns at places like Hobby Lobby and Oriental Trading Company, if you just don't happen to have paper lanterns sitting around your house. 

Re-purposing the Crib Bumper
Almost every crib bedding set comes with a crib bumper and mine was no exception. The problem is the American Pediatric Association states to NOT use crib bumpers, as they increase SIDS risk.  Yet, as anybody who has bought a crib set already knows, most of the decoration in the set is on the bumper!  I hated to not use my pretty paisley bumper, but I was certainly not about to do anything to put my child at risk for the sake of decor.  So I came up with a solution.  I tied the bumper below the crib mattress on the outside of the crib.  Out of harm's way and purely for decoration.  My crafty mother-in-law sewed pockets on the front of the crib bumper for extra storage.  I removed the back part of the bumper (the part that would have been against the wall, and therefore, unseen), and my mother-in-law turned it into a window valance.  She said it was an easy task, but I'll just have to take her word on that, as I don't know the first thing about sewing.  
The bumper is tied to the outside of the crib and below mattress level
Pockets were sewn in the front
Bumper re-purposed as a window valance
Wondering what to do with the other part of the crib bedding set that you are not suppose to use either?  As in the quilt?  I kept mine over the back of my glider; it provided a pop of color, and some extra warmth during the cold months when I had to nurse all through the night.  I've also heard of people hanging the quilt up as wall decor.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas for nursery decor that you can easily do yourself, even if you aren't artistically gifted.  And imagine what you could create if you are one of the lucky ones who can actually sew and paint? There are so many great DIY ideas out there, just waiting to be found on the internet.  Definitely look for inspiration on Pinterest too (when I was pregnant, I hadn't heard of Pinterest, or perhaps it just didn't yet exist).  Besides saving tons of money, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you created your child's nursery decorations yourself with your own two hands.

Here's a few pictures of my completed nursery (taken before my daughter's arrival, as evidenced by the fact that it does not look like a tornado blew through it):


  1. Aw, I love how you bucked up and DIYed it! :)

  2. So many cute ideas! Now I regret working up to the day before my baby was born because his room never got more than a thin line of wall decals.

  3. This is so me!!!..I already made two paintings for my daughters nursery that I got off pinterest. I just figured hey if I can make it then why buy it right?? definitely going to use your ideas thanx for sharing..her room is sooooo adorable!!

  4. Thank you Tiffany! Isn't Pinterest the best? I can't wait to use all the new things I've seen lately on there, for whenever I have a second nursery to decorate :)

  5. Nursery décors can be quite expensive, so it was a great idea to do some DIY work after getting the important ones like the crib and changing table. I love what you did with the room! I think the décor can inspire Juliet to be artsy when she grows up. :) Thanks for sharing, Bridget!


  6. Thanks for your sweet words, Allie, I appreciate it!

  7. Wow what a great site, glad I saw this it was so helpful. Being a mother of 3 and I enjoy fixing and making things for my babies Have you read about, another great website!

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Thanks for the helpful tutorial:) I wish I had come across it before I spent a ton of money on letters for my daughter's nursery. More on that (and another easy DIY letter idea) here:

  9. I'll be following your blog! I love it. I'm like you, I want to do all these things but I don't have alot of skills yet!

  10. The mobile you made is adorable! I made my own (1 for each of my boys) based off of a picture I found of an Etsy listing that there was no way I could afford to pay $65 for (times two!) And I did a bunch of other DIY nursery projects - feel free to drop by my blog and say hi!
    I'll be following yours!