How to make a changing table topper…super easy!

To be honest, there are some things that are just cheaper to buy than to make because the manufacturer can get the materials much cheaper by making them in bulk. However, and that is a BIG however, there are MANY things that you can make easily for much less than they charge at the store. Take a changing table topper for example. 

While registering at Pottery Barn Kids, we came across this very beautiful changing table topper. Not sure why you need them, but they say they are great and to be honest they make the changer look nicer than that padded pillow on top of a dresser. Here is the one we liked:

… but for $100, heck no. I can’t spend that much on a little rectangular box when I know how much I can make it for at Home Depot.

So, Home Depot it was, with our gift card we still had as a anniversary present from my parents. Thank you mom and dad. 

So we decided to not add a bottom to it because it wasn’t necessary, so we just bought a 10 foot 3/4″ by 3 1/2″ piece of pine. We chose pine because it stains really easily, but you could go with another kind of wood if you like. Then we cut the pieces at a 45* angle at the following lengths so that the box would fit together at the corners. 2 sides at 34 inches and the 2 ends at 17.5 inches. That will fit a standard 32×16 inch changing pad. However, the one in the picture above gave extra room for the lotion, wipes, etc. We already had a place for that, so we decided just to make it for the pad. If you want to incorporate that, just make the two side longer to accommodate.

Then we used our nail gun to connect the 4 pieces to make a box. If you have a nail gun, they are the greatest thing ever, if not, you can just use screws or nails, those will work. We used 2 inch nails with our nail gun.

Then, because we thought it was a little boring, we decided to add some trim to it. We got it at home depot. Although this is not the exact one we used, this one is similar. We also bought 10 feet of it and cut it down to size. 

Then we used wood putty to fill in the nail holes and fix the edges where they were not meeting perfectly. Like how we do everything in our kitchen. That is the beauty of city living without a basement or garage to do fun projects in. My only caution to those who do project in their house is have lots of blankets to lay on the ground and keep it well ventilated when using smelly products.

After we let the putty dry and sanded it, we then stained it with Minwax’s poly and stain in one. We used a combination of 2 colors: black satin and bombay mahogany. We used more mahogany than black satin. Then let it dry for quite a while. We let it dry overnight.

If you don’t see any use for the stain for future projects and don’t want to spend much, you can make your own for cheap. DreamBookDesign has a great recipe for it and it costs about $3 to make. It is composed of Steel Wool and vinegar. “You take a plastic or glass {or not, considering ours cracked-oops!} container and fill it with white vinegar and a steel wool pad. Let it sit for about three days for a lighter steel stain, and the longer you let it sit, the darker steel stain it will be. FYI: the stain goes on fairly clear…BUT.. it definitely darkens over time on the wood. Ours darkened about 5 shades darker over the next few hours.”

So the total cost for our changing table was:

Wood: $7
Trim: $5
Stain: Already had it, so $0 ($20 to buy or $3 if you make it)
Nails: Already had them, so $0 (could buy them for less than $5 though)
Total: $12 (or $20 if you made stain and bought nails)

Now his little snuggly friends are keeping it warm until he comes this Spring 🙂

I know this isn’t super thorough, so let me know if you have any questions.
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  • You and Joe are amazing. You did all of this while your were sick!! I like the one you made better than the one from Pottery Barn Kids. Your entrepeneurial spirit will take you to many exciting places. Wells has such an amazing life ahead of him. Way to go!!

    January 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm
  • How did you attach it to the dresser? Or what did you use to keep it from sliding around?

    September 2, 2012 at 11:18 pm
    • Hi Mrs JD! There are a few options. What we did is use rubber pads on the bottom. Like the ones you would put under a chair to keep it from slipping or scratching the floor. You could also physically attach it to the dresser with a screw or velcro or something like that. We have not had a problem with it slipping when he is in it. Also, the ones that are sold at PB and such do not attach. Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

      September 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm
  • This is such a great idea, thanks for sharing! We just bought the Kendall dresser from PBK’s and I was worried I’d have to shell out big bucks for a topper! I’m going to save this post and have hubby make me one now! haha Thanks!

    June 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm
  • This is great! Just wondering what was the depth of your dresser? How many inches should you allow to add the topper?

    July 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm

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