Upcycle Your (Recalled) Drop-Side Crib

My daughter will be turning one here at the end of August, and as a child always in the 95th percentile of growth with no sign of slowing down, I know her babyhood is quickly ending while her toddlerhood is approaching with fast ferocity. One of the more substantial milestones that lies ahead will be moving her out of her crib and into a toddler bed once she masters walking.
tova outgrowing crib Upcycle Your (Recalled) Drop Side Crib
While most cribs today easily convert into a toddler bed, my daughter’s crib does not because (clutch your pearls) it’s a drop-side crib. We bought it brand-new off of Craigslist once we found out she was on her way a short nine months after her brother entered this world. At the time, only a few drop-side cribs had been recalled, and this one wasn’t one of them. But while we waited to meet our little girl, all drop-sides were deemed unsafe and recalled.
Since ours was new we were able to get a “fix kit” to make the drop-side stationary, making it safe for our little pumpkin head to sleep in at night. However, unlike her big brother’s crib, which is already on to another life thanks to Craigslist, once she hits that lowest crib mattress level and learns to climb, we have to find something else to do with it entirely.


We figure no one’s going to want to buy a recalled crib once we’re through with it, so I’ve been perusing the internet for ideas on what I could make out of the crib’s pieces. Let me tell you, there’s a BEVY of potential projects out there. Let’s go over them, shall we?
For The Side Rails
The side rails are the parts on the sides, one of which on a drop-side can slide up and down. These pieces seem to have the most potential for reuse as they come off pretty easily (with tools, not that a baby could do it) and generally are attractive in structure. From laundry garment racks (rails suspended horizontally from the ceiling) to dish display shelves to magazine racks to garden trellises, the side rails seem like the most versatile hack.
For The End Rails/Pieces
These parts are a little less flexible in usage. In the case of my daughter’s crib, the end rails are the more decorative parts, having a slight sleigh-bed curvature to them. Some cribs have completely solid ends, while others like the classic Jenny Lind style, will just be higher. For these parts I’ve seen people transform them into benches or chairs using the end rails as the back, and for the more solid end pieces I’ve seen them painted with chalkboard paint to make decorative memo boards or children’s height easels.
For The Mattress Support
The mattress support is a metal-framed piece that suspends from hardware in the crib and supports the mattress with a weave of metal coils or wire. It’s probably the least attractive part of a crib, to be honest. But that hasn’t stopped some creative mamas and papas from making every bit work for them. Used as a display for small storage, I’ve seen everything from a task board using binder clips to attach notes, photos and documents to small S hooks to organize jewelry like necklaces and earrings up to my favorite which wove burlap straps in a basketweave pattern to create a background for three art prints to be hung from. I, for sure, would have cast the mattress support aside as unusable, but now I know better.
For The Legs/Feet/Extra Bits
Depending on the style of your crib, you may have decorative legs, feet or other random pieces left from your crib by the time you’re done upcycling the bigger parts. You can still put those to good use too! Several of the projects I saw used multiple pieces of the crib, especially the furniture-building hacks. Or if you’re just wanting to dress up another piece in your home, you could easily swap out more attractive feet or add decorative spindles (like individual bars from either the side or end rails) to make your piece one of a kind. And if you get stuck, you can always consult the interwebs to see what other people have dreamt up!
Now, a lot of these ideas depend on the style of crib you have and your personal taste level as well. But they were enough to get my wheels turning on the best ways to recycle my daughter’s crib while getting even more use out of it. Do you have any suggestions or projects that reuse old cribs or bassinettes? Let ‘em loose in the comments!