Monday, February 27, 2017

Turn a Basket Into a Doll Cradle

This project is one I started more than three decades ago. After years of play, it needed a little refreshing.  

Back when I was a young mom, I made doll cradles for my little girls. I used wicker baskets and added rockers to convert those baskets into doll cradles. 

One of these cradles has been sitting in my storage area for a long time. I pulled it out to give to my daughter last year when she came to pick-up all her things, but since it no longer looked clean and new, she didn't want it for her little girls. Well, I couldn't just throw it away, it held too many memories. So I decided to refinish it. I removed the old, dirty cushion, that had obviously benefited from years of love and play and gave the basket some new life. 

Here's what it looked like after I refinished it:  

If you want to make your own doll cradle too, here's a list of the supplies you'll need: 
  • Basket, (The basked pictured is 16 1/2" wide x 20 1/2" long x 9 high.)
  • Foam
  • Batting
  • Fabric for cover, blanket and pillow
  • Fiber fill
  • Thread
  • Plywood
  • 4 wood screws
  • Good quality wood for rockers, 3/4" thick
Take that basket and follow these steps to turn it into a cradle:
  1. Cut a piece of plywood the size of the inside base of the basket.  

2.  With a saw, cut two rockers from good quality 3/4" thick wood - do not use plywood.  (My father-in-law cut these for me - I don't use electric saws, I'm afraid I'd cut off my fingers.) The size of my rockers are 15 1/4" long x 4 1/4" high x 3/4 thick.  Get the free rocker pattern HERE.  Print at full size two copies of this pattern and tape the sides together to make the rocker pattern complete.  Sand the rockers as needed making sure all edges are smooth.  (Keep in mind, the rockers pictured are over 33 years old and if I'm in the mood, they may get a little sanding but it's snowing today and I refuse to sand inside my home.)

3.  Using four long, wood screws, drill them through the wooden base and into the rockers, securely connecting these pieces. Also see the photo next to step one for screw placement.

4.  Make a paper pattern of the inside shape of your basket. Use that pattern to cut out a foam base which will become the cradle's mattress.

5.  Cover the mattress with batting.  I sewed the batting together to form a pillowcase shape.  Then I slipped it onto the foam and hand stitched the batting's opening closed. (On the original covering, I hot glued the batting in place and the mattress was very lumpy because when the glue dried, it gets hard. I do not recommend using hot glue with foam.)

6.  Use fabric to make a cover for the mattress. For my mattress, I used flannel.  I used a fabric marker to trace the foam mattress shape onto the flannel. Add a seam allowance around all the traced fabric. Cut out two pieces of this fabric. Measure the distance around the mattress and measure the height of the mattress. Add 1/2" to these two measurements to create your seam allowance to the height and width and cut out from your fabric the side of the mattress cover. Sew the side seam together along the width. Sew one of the side pieces to the top piece. Now sew the bottom piece to the side piece leaving one end of the mattress cover open. Slip the cover onto the batting covered foam and hand stitch the opening closed.

7.  Make any style of doll blanket making sure the blanket is a little bigger than the inside of the cradle.  You'll want to add enough width for a doll to go under the blanket. For my blanket, I took the scraps of fabric that I used to cover the mattress. Then, I cut the fabric into 16, 4" squares. I sewed those squares together alternating the fabrics so that I had 4 rows across and 4 rows down. Then with a fabric marking pen, I drew lines diagonally through the squares as shown above. Then using my sewing machine, I machine quilted along the lines. To get rid of the lines, simply rub with a wet rag or spray with water.

8.  Make a little pillow for the doll's head.  Any size of pillow will do as long as it's scaled to fit your basket. I added a 2" ruffle to the left side of my rectangular doll pillow and stuffed the pillow with poly-fill

Do you know a child that would love one of these cradles? I'm now positive my granddaughter will be thrilled to get this cradle for her doll.   xoxo Grandma

Here are the supplies I used:

Shared at: Threading My Way, Featured Here

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