Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DIY Baby Changing Table Makeover - A Tutorial

We really love the way this Jenny Lind style Baby Changing Table Makeover turned out.  Believe it or not, we didn't deliberately set out to find a changing table and revamp it.

Jenny Lind style Changing Table - After Makeover

Our daughter, PEPSI, and her Grandmother-In-Law bought this as a project to do together.  They weren't able to finish it in time before PEPSI and her family moved to south Texas, so it was left at PEPSI's G-I-L's home.  Soon after the big move, we found out PEPSI was expecting a new baby! The project was given to HUBBY and I, with the request that we bring it to PEPSI.

I wanted to finish it for them so they could use it when the new baby was born.  Honestly, I wasn't planning on working too hard on it.  Just throw on some paint, fix the shelves, and voila.  That was before HUBBY was brought in to help with the makeover.  HUBBY is a professional painter.  He wasn't about to 'just throw some paint' on it.  I got sent to Home Depot to buy paint stripper and new paint.

Due to my tree hugging nature, I chose Citristrip Safer Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel, which is non-toxic and biodegradable.  What color paint should I use?  PEPSI wanted something in a soft baby green color, and HUBBY said to get it in a spray can.  We decided on Rustoleum Painters Touch Satin Finish Green Apple Spray Paint .  Since we were only painting the frame and not the shelves, I thought two cans would be enough.  Guess what?  I ended up going back for two more cans.


1 quart paint stripper
1 or 2 wire brushes
Fine grade sandpaper
Durable paint scraper or razor
3 to 4 cans of good quality spray paint
1 Drop cloth
2 yards fabric (pre-washed and ironed)
1 to 2 large bottles Mod Podge
Sponge Paintbrush


STEP ONE - Use a screwdriver to loosen bolts, and remove all bolts, nuts, and washers from the changing table.  Keep all original hardware together, and replace any missing pieces.

NOTE - We had an incomplete set of hardware.  Since the project came to us disassembled, we didn't know that we were missing bolts.  After refinishing everything, I tried assembling the changing table and lacked quite a few bolts.  I bought replacements at Walmart but they wouldn't fit properly.  I took the entire project to TSC and consulted with their hardware salesman.  Sometimes a demonstration is necessary, so I brought the project inside the store and we began to assemble the frame and install one shelf.  He finally realized the problem I'd been having with reassembly. Upon careful examination of the replacement bolts, he found some of the heads of the bolts weren't centered on the bolt, and some were also crooked.  This happens when hardware is cheaply mass-produced in China.  I bought another complete set of replacement bolts, nuts, and locking washers at TSC.  Problem solved.  Hardware is important!

Changing Table Before Makeover

I wish I had an assembled "Before" photo to share, but honestly when we got the project it was already disassembled.  PEPSI and Grandma Sandy had already done a little paint removal, too.  As you can see, the paint on the shelves was hideous.  

STEP TWO - Apply paint stripper as per manufacturer's direction.  Wear gloves to protect your hands.

Changing Table Makeover Before

Obviously, the finish was in terrible condition.  It was a big project.  I had no idea how big until we were in the middle of stripping the paint off.  To begin with, HUBBY covered all the frame pieces with a coat of stripping gel, following directions on the label.  Then, it was time for some good, old fashioned elbow grease.   (That's a Southern term used to describe intensive labor with your hands.)

STEP THREE - If you use a gel type paint stripper like we did, use your wire brush to scrub the paint away.  

NOTE - We completely wore out two brand new wire brushes on this project.

Paint removal using stripping gel and small wire brush.

The reason this project was so labor intensive is because someone had tried to paint it before, and they'd done a TERRIBLE job.  I mean, it was downright horrendously painted with white paint.  I don't want to scare you away from taking on this kind of makeover.  Just pick your project carefully, and avoid something that has already been made over badly if you want to strip it down and make it look nice.  You just can't hide 'runs' in paint.  You know those little drip marks where there was too much paint and it dried in little drops?  You can't hide those when you paint over them.  You have to strip all those things away.  This table had several of those 'runs'.  Due to the beautifully beveled rails, finding all the runs was like solving a puzzle.

STEP FOUR - Continue paint removal using your scraper tool or razor if needed.  This works best for paint runs. 

STEP FIVE - Remove remaining paint and any small blemishes with the fine grade sandpaper.  If you want the finish to look really nice, the wood that you're about to repaint should not have any 'bumps' or 'runs' of paint.  It should feel smooth to the touch, even if you can't get 100% of the paint off.

STEP SIX - Measure your changing table shelves.  Ours were about 15" x 18".  Add four inches to the length and width and cut your fabric.  I cut pieces that were 19" x 22".  This will give you about 2" of overlap for your fabric to attach to the back side of the shelf.  Since my fabric was wide enough, I was able to cover three shelves with less than two yards of fabric.

Cutting layout for fabric covered shelves.

STEP SEVEN - With fabric right side down, lay shelf, right side down, on top of the fabric, centering shelf on fabric.  Dip paint sponge halfway down or less into bowl of Mod Podge and paint a strip of Mod Podge across the back side of shelf along short edge.  Neatly fold fabric over back side of shelf and apply to Mod Podge, pressing gently.  Now paint Mod Podge over top of fabric and overlap Mod Podge onto bare shelf.  This will keep fabric from fraying. Repeat process  on remaining three sides and allow to dry.

Reverse side of Fabric Covered Shelf with wet Mod Podge

Full view - back side of shelf covered with fabric and wet Mod Podge.

STEP EIGHT - When Mod Podge on back side of shelf is completely dry, you are ready to apply to front or top side of shelf.  It is easier to work with if you pour the Mod Podge into a bowl or other container with large opening.

Ready to cover shelves with Mod Podge

For me, the easiest part of the makeover was covering the shelves with fabric using Mod Podge.  I have to give PEPSI the credit for this idea.  I would've never thought of it.  Luckily, she liked this Jungle Baby Monkeys fabric from Hobby Lobby.  A few years back, I bought quite a bit of it for a project that didn't happen.  (Can I get an Amen Sister here?  Anybody else ever do that?)

STEP EIGHT continued - Starting on one side, apply a layer of Mod Podge to the right side of the fabric on the top or front of the shelf. 

Covering shelf with Mod Podge

STEP EIGHT continued - Continue painting Mod Podge across the shelf and fabric using straight strokes, working from one side to the other.  Spread it as evenly as possible with sponge brush.

Covering shelf with Mod Podge

NOTE - Fabric will appear whitish and shiny when you are finished applying Mod Podge.  This will dry very nice and clear.

Shelf covered with wet Mod Podge

NOTE - When fabric is covered with Mod Podge and pulled tight, it may stretch a little, resulting in a few wrinkles like this one.  

Wrinkle in fabric covered shelf

STEP NINE - Using a drop cloth and gloves, lay out pieces to be painted and apply paint as per manufacturer's directions.  Don't try so hard to get 100% coverage on the first go-round or you may end up with runs!  Paint one side and allow to dry completely before turning over to paint reverse side.  

STEP TEN - After paint is 100% dry, apply a second layer of paint as shown in STEP NINE.

STEP ELEVEN - When your paint and Mod Podge is completely dry, assemble your finished Baby Changing Table.

If you decide to do one of these Changing Table Makeovers yourself, I would love to see your before and after photos!

We were so happy with the way ours turned out, we couldn't wait to bring it to PEPSI for her and our new grandson to use.

He looks so adorable.  There is nothing on earth that is sweeter than a brand new baby.

New grandbaby on finished Changing Table.

I really appreciate PEPSI sending me these photos of him on his newly refinished Jenny Lind style Baby Changing Table.

PEPSI has all her supplies neatly stocked on the shelves for her new baby boy.

Can you tell we are proud grandparents?

Our adorable grandson. What a blessing!

I sure love this baby boy!!  Peekaboo!

This post is shared at:

HLM Interior Design Wonderful Home Decorating Wednesday Link Party


  1. This is a super cute makeover. Thank you for linking it on my blog.

  2. I'm getting started on this project tomorrow... I'll post the pictures!

    1. Hi Courtney,

      I look forward to seeing the photos. Good luck!


  3. Hi, I am new to this whole Blogging thing, and I just started one. I would like to put a link to your blog on mine... how do I do that?

    1. Hi Courtney,

      Congratulations and welcome to the blog world. In your post, you can include a link to my home page or a specific post.

      The link to my home page is:

      To link to a specific page, click on the title of that page. The web address in your browser will then show you the right link. You can copy and paste it into your post. For example, the link to this page is:

      Good luck!!


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