Once you have a child, you need and do a lot of things that perhaps you wouldn’t think of before.
I was always fond of putting things together and creating (and luckily my husband is very supportive of my DIY passion). When we realized that we needed a changing table, we couldn’t wait to get started!
After all, a changing table DIY project was a great option to stay on a tight budget. And we got to spend a great family time together too.
I decided to give you an instructional overview of our experience. After all, it’s one of the best tricks to save money on baby decor too!
I reckon that many others would find this type of DIY fun, affordable, and above all – beneficial.
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What is a changing table?
A changing table is one of the basic requirements when having a newborn in your home.
It makes your life so much easier, and the best thing about doing it on your own is that you can make a cheap changing table, and once the baby gets older, you can repurpose it.
However, to repurpose a changing table is a completely different matter.
Here I will stick to the classic DIY baby changing table scheme, and the steps you’d need to follow to complete it.
This is a step-by-step guide to DIY a changing table. If you don’t want to build a changing table from scratch, have a look at my post about DIY a changing table with a simple Ikea hack.
The tools you need for this baby changing table DIY project are:
- Tape for measuring (We use Zabiki Measuring Tape)
- Red or black marker
- Circular saw for wood-cutting
- Jig master system (with the screw kit included)
- Drill kit
- Protection for eyes and hearing
Materials needed for DIY Changing Table
For this particular DIY changing table you need the following amount of boards:
- 2ft x 6ft x 8ft (5 wood boards)
- 2ft x 2ft x 8ft (4 wood boards)
- 2ft x 3ft x 8ft (3 wood boards)
- 1ft x 4ft x 8ft (1 wood board)
- 1ft x 4ft x 6ft (1 wood board)
- 1/4in x 24in x 48in (1 sanded plywood board)
*Note that you can use plywood panels of your preference
Furthermore, you need:
- Screws of different dimensions (1-1/2in screws, 1-1/4in screws, and 2in screws)
- Wood Glue
- Latex Paint (you can choose the color) and the paintbrush
- And, of course, the changing pad of your preference.
What to know before getting started!
The most important thing to keep in mind at all times is that the best changing table is the one that is the best for the baby.
Kids are very active, and it is not uncommon seeing them chewing and biting on everything they find interesting.
So make sure that the paint is safe and that there aren’t screws that are unpatched. Note that this is only one of many changing table ideas.
If you find it more suitable, you can always adjust your plans.
For example, you can make a changing table with baskets, a changing table with drawers, or eventually make some additional changing table accessories.
Another thing that I would point out, especially for those who are not experienced with this kind of DIY projects is that you should do all the necessary cutting before you start connecting the elements.
It is something that we struggled with, and it’s kind of nice when you know this in advance – it can save you a lot of trouble.
Cut list for Changing Table DIY
Unfortunately, not all parts of this DIY work are about creative ideas for changing tables.
In this part, you pretty much depend on the tools and measurements.
So here is the list of ”cuts” you need to make for your homemade changing table:
- 2ft x 6ft x 8ft – normal cuts to make 10 separate wood boards (6x 44in and 4x 49in)
- 2ft x 2ft x 8ft – normal cuts for 2 wood boards and angled cuts for the rest, to make 14 separate wood boards (4x44in normal cuts, 4x 15in normal cuts
- 2x 27-7/8in angled cuts (28,48 degree) and 4x 13-15/16in (lower side, angle degree 33,04) and 12-1/8in (upper side, angle degree 28,48) angled cuts
- 2ft x 3ft x 8ft – normal cuts to make 6 wood boards (4x 31,5in and 2x44in)
- 1ft x 4ft x 6ft – normal cuts to make 3 wood boards (3x17in)
One thing you should have in mind when doing this changing table for toddlers is that sanding is necessary.
There are different attitudes toward sanding – like should you do it before or after, but in our case, we did it after all necessary woodcuts.
Note that even if you pre-sand the wood before cutting, you will probably have a few touch-ups (or more than a few) afterward.
Step 1 – Constructing sides
Take the already cut 15in (2ft x 2ft x 8ft) boards and 31,5in (2ft x 3ft x 8ft) ones.
Make pocket holes on the 15in. boards using the drill, and then use the glue and the ugliest screws you have (because they are not going to be visible) and attach them to 31,5in.
The next thing to do for your DIY baby changing table is to take the longer angle cut boards (2ft x 2ft x 8ft) and attach it with the 2in screws diagonally into the already glued frames.
On the other upper diagonal side of the frame place, put the smaller angle cut boards and use glue and 2in screws to attach it.
For the lower diagonal side, you use the other smaller angle-cut board.
Drill a hole by using a jig, and attach it so it can form an X shape in the 15in-31,5in frames you’ve previously made. You need to do the same for both frames.
Step 2 – Making the top
For the top, you need to prepare three 49in. boards (2ft x 6ft x 8 ft).
Note that the top, when assembled, would be about 22in wide. The next phase is to drill four holes along each of the boards (the holes should match).
Use the longer screws (the 2-1/2in) and glue to put the boards together. Be careful when drilling if you have pre-sanded the wood. The top should be smooth and flat.
Step 3 – Middle and bottom shelf
Making the two remaining shelves is quite similar to making the top. You also need to drill the four evenly distributed holes to each of the three boards you will use.
However, for the middle and bottom shelf, the wood boards are 3x44in (2ft x 6ft x 8ft) for one, and 3x44in (2ft x 6ft x 8ft) for the other.
For connecting the boards, you use 2-1/2in screws and glue, and make sure that the surfaces are flat at all times.
Few more details on top rails and shelves, and how to connect sides
The easiest way to assemble the whole table is to take one of the sides we mentioned in the first step, put the top rails, the middle and the bottom shelf, and mark the drill holes.
Note that on the bottom shelf you should make four pocket holes, and on the middle shelf three. When it comes to upper rails, there should be two drilled holes on one top rail and one pocket hole on the other.
Take the level to determine if all of the shelves are ok before attaching everything by using 2in. screws.
Once you connect one side, the other remains. The principle stays the same. The bottom shelf has four pocket holes, the middle shelf has three.
The top rails have one pocket hole on one side, and two pocket holes on the other side of your almost finished cheap baby changing table.
Make sure you screw and glue everything properly while paying attention if the rest of the table is in order.
Top and the panel on the back for this DIY are a must, but if you have other changing table organizer ideas, feel free to experiment
One of the last things to do is to connect the previously prepared top shelf to the table. Make sure you drill four evenly distributed holes into the back rails.
Then use the 2in screws to fasten it all around those back rails. Once you do that, take the plywood panel, use the marker pen to dot the spots for the attaching screws. Use as many as you see fit.
If you have time on your hands, and you would like to add a nice twist, you can come up with some changing table alternatives.
Measure up a few more boards, and make a super-useful changing table with storage in no time.
It’s all about the topper
In the case of this DIY project, you need to take the remaining 1in x 4in x 17in boards for the topper.
Here is when you use the smallest 1-1/4in pocket screws but have in mind that the holes on the board across should be on the opposite side.
Also, before screwing the whole thing to the rest of the table, check if you need to touch-up the wood with additional sanding.
Once you put the best changing table dresser at the house together, you can start painting it.
Work in a safe environment and always double-check
When using tools for DIY projects, you must get familiar with them. Wear safety equipment at all times, especially if you are a beginner.
Another thing you should be aware of is that you have to be tentative to details during the whole process.
This means that you need to check the measures, angles, the condition of the wood, etc. more than once.
Finally, have an open mind for creating variations and make adjustments according to your preferences, as long as you are sure that you’ll be happy with the final product.
I hope you enjoyed this DIY changing table guide! Let me know your feedback in the comment section!