Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cars and Trucks Padded Toddler Headboard

Jonas enjoying his new headboard and pillow
My son loves cars and trucks.  He just can’t get enough of them.  This morning, as an example, he wanted to watch the documentary Mighty Machines instead of Barney or Elmo.  That says a lot.

For Jonas’s second birthday, I decided to pimp his crib and make it more toddler-friendly since he is still not ready to have the sides removed, yet.  However, with Christmas and our family planning for a big move from California to Germany, I didn’t have time to work on the project. I had looked at toddler beading, but the majority of it was 60–100% polyester.  I bought the Disney Cars beading once, but took it back because it seriously felt like a shower curtain. 

Last night, I decided it was time to take action and make something myself.  When we were in Germany over Christmas, Jonas fell in love with big fluffy down pillows.  Previously, he had only been using the baby pillows that I had made him a year ago (Baby's First Pillows, 3/2011).  As soon as we got home, I bought him one for his bed with a bright red 100% cotton pillowcase.  One big advantage to this pillow is that ever since he started sleeping with it, he stays in one place at night instead of moving around his crib like a bumpercar.  I decided to use the second pillowcase for my project.

This toddler headboard is super easy to make.  There is a flat pillow in the pillowcase which can easily be taken out so that you can toss the whole thing in the washing machine.  The snaps/loops on the side make it a breeze to take on or off the headboard and it can be used on a crib or toddler bed.

Here’s the How to:

1.  First you will need a pillowcase.  If you have a standard crib, ours is from IKEA, then a standard pillowcase will fit perfectly on the headboard.  I bought a cotton pillowcase in the adult section, since the kids bedding, like I said above, has a lot of polyester in it which can cause overheating, sweating, and heat rash.

2.  Sew a loop of ribbon, about 10-12 inches long, on each side of the pillowcase about 2/3 of an inch from the top.  I cut a hole on one side of the case and pushed the ribbon into the case before I sewed it shut.  Add snaps to the end of the loop and on the inside of the pillowcase as shown.  You may want to measure your crib before you do this just to make sure that your headboard hangs straight and doesn’t sag in the middle.  If your child already has a toddler bead and no sideboards, you can measure the loops so that they fit over the poles of the bed.

3.  I have a lot of scrap material, so it was not difficult for me to find some that already had cars and trucks on it.  You can also make your own vehicles, if you’d like.  I took all of the material that I wanted to use and ironed some heat-bonding material, like Wunderunder, onto the back of it.  Then I used a washable Crayola marker and drew the letters to Jonas’s name on the material.  I cut out the letters and vehicles.  Then, I took the letters and laid them onto some black felt which also has heat-bonding material on the back and drew them slightly larger.  I cut out these letters and the dotted lines for the street.  Finally, I ironed on the felt first and then the rest of the material cut-outs onto the pillowcase.

4.  Since heat-bonding material doesn’t last well through many washings, I went in with my sewing machine and sewed around all of the cars, trucks, and letters.  I also sewed a straight line through the dotted street line.  This is an important step, since toddler bedding needs to be washed a lot and even a headboard will get dirty and dusty. 

5.  Now add the pillow in the pillowcase.  If your pillowcase bunches open on the sides, use snaps or Velcro to hold it in place.  Hang your padded cars and trucks pillowcase onto the headboard of your toddler’s crib. 

You are finished!  Now, you can take off all of those baby bumpers (I'll do this as soon as Jonas wakes up. Goodbye Safari bedding!) and let your child feel a little bit bigger. Yeah! 

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