If you’re joining me after my last post making use of a baby sun tent for my workshop, you may think I have baby on the brain based on this vintage baby cradle below. Let me just say…NOPE. It just happens that I was able to pick up this handmade gem from a local charity I love to support. No babies, must baby stuff here! haha.
Isn’t this gorgeous? It’s made of oak and super solid – built to last. However, it isn’t an antique, but rather made in the likeness with a 90’s vibe. The stain is orange-ish, and the heart cutouts are a dead giveaway. In the past, I’ve dealt with heart cutouts in the past before by removing them, filling them, or even just making the most of their existence.
Funny thing is, you can find these vintage baby cradles in thrift stores, garage sales, and even at Curb le Chic. (aka. #trashure). While they’re an easy find, many tell me they don’t know what to do with them. Obviously, they can be changed up to suit any decor and used as-is, or as a photo prop, planter (if you dare to damage it), or even stuff it with teddy bears, etc.
My goal today is to update it in a sort-of rustic way. Meaning…remove the 90’s vibe and make it look even older, from a different era to suit something I’d have in my decor. Fingers crossed! First, I add wood filler to a seam that is glued together but then the two pieces crack under stress.
Then, I whip out my sander to remove the finish as must as possible. Originally I knew that one of the rockers is loose. I daresay the original artisan who built this beauty did a wonderful job to make this as safe for baby as possible.
There are no exposed screws, and all joints are precise. However, the one rocker is joint is a mortise and tenon, but the tenon has a split. Since it is snug as a bug, I needed to cut it to remove it for repair.
In order to repair the break, I add pins with dowels and plenty of wood glue. This makes it tight and as sturdy as original. Thankfully, it all assembles beautifully.
Next, after all the repairs, it’s time to do the finish work. Since I just wanted to retain the gorgeous white oak while updating the vintage baby cradle as well, I added a bit of color.
This color is definitely a favorite milk paint I’ve used in this furniture makeover HERE. It’s soothing, happy, and perfect for either gender. Meanwhile, I dressed up a few other parts with muted tones as well. Also, I added a bit of hand stitchin’ fun because…why not, right?
Last, but not least, I used a but if distressing and wax to aged the painted surfaces. That way it already has a beginning to it’s story-telling properties.
Finally, this vintage baby cradle makeover is complete and ready for a whole new life.
It’s refreshing to see it in the new look with the raw wood pairing and paint, don’t you think? It’s my nod to the original craftsman while seeing that it has a long life ahead. Likewise, it’s perfectly suited for a new baby, as a photo prop, or even stuffed with vintage items as well.
Not only did I have a blast, rebuilding and refinishing the cradle, but also hand-sewing the mattress from linen I had on hand. If you’d like to add this to your home or as a gift, you can find it available in my online shop.
In addition, I know there are others out there who find a similar cradle looking for a new life. Do pin and share to inspire others too!
Up next, these misfit antique wooden finials are going to get a new life. See their new life OVER HERE.