Brian’s Cradle for Maggie

I was just waiting for the arrival of our first granddaughter to build a cradle. I’ve had this pent up desire to do this for years, and when the news came of the pending addition, I had to get serious about a design decision. I knew the basic shape that I wanted included a swinging pivot, but it took a while to decide on the rail style. I was either going to turn spindles or go with a mission style. Ultimately I chose the mission style, as the wood I choose was white oak. Instead of mortising the rails I choose to use a groove and filler pieces. The construction was easier and I went with the spacers cut just a bit proud, a simple sanding brought them level with the top and bottom rail.

The final two tests were “mom’s” approval–which was a breeze. As you can see, Maggie is a tougher inspector; perhaps it’s her angle of view?


  1. Absolutely beautiful! And so is the crib. Great work in both areas.

  2. Steve December 26, 2012

    Good job!!

  3. Mark Williams December 26, 2012

    Very nice job Grandpa.

  4. Don December 26, 2012

    Great Job!. Looks really nice!

  5. Jonathan December 26, 2012

    Did you design it yourself or use plans? I have a little one expected as well and have been contemplating making a cradle. either way you did a wonderful job.

    • Brian January 3, 2013

      I started with a plan… “quality-crafted pendant cradle”.


      • Tim January 30, 2013

        Brian, your cradle looks amazing. I am a father to be and loved the design of this cradle but cannot find it on the site you mentioned. Is there any other link or option that I could use to get these plans? Thanks

  6. Dave December 26, 2012

    Nice work Brian and Congrats on your granddaughter…

  7. Byrdie December 26, 2012

    Beautifully done. Nice choice of wood.

  8. Dave Hahne December 27, 2012

    Beautiful. And the cradle is nice too :)

  9. Don C. December 27, 2012

    Great work!! One question: How did you do the pivot mechanism? I need to repair a couple of doll cradles for my daughters and need ideas on how.

    • Brian January 3, 2013

      The pivot is simply a 1/4″ brass bolt that sits in a t-nut on the end upright!

  10. Eric December 28, 2012

    Very nice! What finish did you use? Was there any concern on off gassing of the finish?

    • Brian January 3, 2013

      I used General Finishes poly urethane on top of a “harvest gold” gel stain. (not happy with the stain at the time, but it looks ok now).

  11. Terrific job. I have built things for kids before and always stress over “kid safe”. Is MDF a safe product? Seems to me I heard it contains formeldahyde.

    • Brian January 3, 2013

      it passed my daughters test :)

      It’s cradle, with open sides, and a matress on top of the 1/4″ MDF base.

      I didn’t worry about any fumes (and besides, i coated it with poly).

  12. daniel drabek December 28, 2012

    Very nicely made. I also like your choice of the quarter sawn white oak.


    • Brian January 3, 2013

      yes, I really enjoyed working with material that stable!

  13. roger January 5, 2013

    That last pic is award winning for sure. Little guy luvs his new bed… Very nicely done.

    • roger January 5, 2013

      whoops, I mean Maggie… sheeesh…

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