DIY Crib Bumper

{Pssst…find the full reveal of the finished nursery here!}

My baby quilt project recently got bumped, quite literally, for a priority focus on some crib bumpers.  It seems that our sweet baby boy has turned into a night time acrobat and scooter (which means he scoots himself into a corner or flips around by holding onto the crib slats).  And so, bring on the bumpers.

Due to some recommendations against crib bumpers during the early months (relative to SIDS risks) I had held off on this nursery accessory until now.  But seeing how Ike has flown by the 6-month mark, at which time SIDS risk drop dramatically, there was no question that it was time.  Of course, I decided to make my own.  After all, it’s just making a few large pillowcases with some ties, right?

And I knew it was possible since my sister made these awesome bumpers for my nephew’s nursery:

I saw these bumper pads on Etsy and decided to model them.  Yes, I was going to take on piping.


Now, the first image that I posted might lead you to believe that this was an easy and seamless project.  But let’s just say that I had a few fits and starts, beginning with my eyes-are-too-big-for-my-piping mistake of ordering gigantic piping cord.

Here are my supplies all lined up and ready to go…

I know, I know—I could tie up a small yacht with that cord.  I guess 1/2″ piping is kind of bigger than it sounds.  Duly noted.  Along with the rope-ahem-cord, I had ordered a package of six Poly-Fil Nu-Foam Baby Bumper Pads, 2 yards of the green Michael Miller Ta Dot fabric, 2 yards of some gray cotton broadcloth and coordinating yellow for the ties and piping.  For those of you familiar with our nursery, the color scheme will seem familiar!

I used the pattern that came with the bumper pads, which was easy to follow—except that I was adding that pesky piping.

First, let me tell you that if I ever make bumpers again, I am just buying some ribbon to use as ties!  It was very tedious to cut, iron and sew what would have been a total of 24 ties (I ended up cutting corners and using fewer ties…to be explained a bit later).

I cut six pieces each of the gray and green fabric to use on either side of each of the six bumpers.  I decided to try making one first before I cut out everything I needed for the piping.  Now, on a scale of 1-10, my piping was a 6.  It really wasn’t that bad.  Except that it seemed to take  That larger-than-life piping was a bit hard to handle.  And let’s be honest, I wanted to accomplish this project in fewer than 10 nap sessions!  So, I cut my first corner: I decided that the one piped bumper would have the gray side facing in and would become the “headboard.”  All the other pieces would go sans piping.

That’s right.  My baby is fancy and has a headboard in his crib.  Go on and revel in my amazing plan lazy shortcut.

It looks intentional though, right?  And can we just be real here?  Ollie the elephant is slouching in that spot to specifically hide the carrot-spit-up-stain that will not wash out no matter what I do.  This is real-life baby rearing, friends.

So, once my headboard was complete, I took on the second of six bumpers.  And I was already feeling the burn.  Creating four ties for each piece was killing me (I know it doesn’t sound like that much, but the minutes of nap time were ticking by very loudly)!  So after making the “footboard,” I got smart.  I decided that the side bumpers would be two in one, meaning I would only need to make five ties for each side, not eight.  What relief!

Here you can see how it all comes together.  You cut your piece (or in my case, sew together two side pieces) and pin the ties in each corner (and one in the top middle if you’re going my route).  You fold the ties in half first, then when you sew the seams they get all wrapped in nice and pretty.

See how pretty it looks?

Oh, and the important thing is to leave a space on the bottom that is large enough to stuff your bumpers in.  Like this:

Then you just stuff and close up the hole.  If your baby has yet to be born, you might have the time to finish the seam nicely by hand.  I just closed mine up real quick with the machine, knowing that it would be on the bottom anyway.

And then my headboard, footboard and two side bumpers were complete.

They look right at home in the nursery, don’t they?

Always my sensitive husband, Chris kept taunting me throughout the project claiming that Ike will feel shortchanged about his lack of piping (he was joking, of course, and I was impressed that he was even calling the piping by the right name).  Perhaps I should have taken an extra day to get every detail right.  Or maybe Ike will feel special about having a headboard.  Either way, I am checking that project off my list and sleeping a little more sound knowing that no limbs are getting stuck!

Have you made a crib bumper before?  Is this a project you would consider?



  1. Angela says:

    I like it! You did a great job! The piping is no big deal! Ike won’t know the difference and how baby trend that he has a head board! 😉


  2. I love the bumpers! Have you seen the tutorials at Sew Mama yet? They have a gazillion how-to’s with little tricks to make sewing challenges so much less challenging:
    My jaw hit the floor when I saw the bias strip tutorial. Not sure if I was in total awe or totally annoyed that I spent hours making piping for Feeney’s bed in a far less efficient way. Live and learn…at least piping will be less daunting when a real child comes along 😉

  3. Girl, you are so very ambitious! They do look fabulous thanks to all your efforts. What is it with babies’ crazy sleep habits? My dude is all over his crib. We watch him on the video monitor can’t can’t believe his nighttime acrobatics!

  4. Had another thought re: the stain on the sheet. Have you tried hanging it in the bright sun after washing yet? I bought a few used cloth diapers (only used for 3 weeks, they’re returns from one of those 21-day diaper trials) and a couple of them had visible stains. I hung them in the sun and it was like magic when they were dry. I kind of wish I set up a video camera on them so I could do a speedy-time-lapse video of the stains disappearing 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge