Turn a Crib Rail into a Bookshelf in 10 Seconds

The kids’ book situation in my house has reached critical mass.  Zack’s bookshelf is overflowing.  Emma’s basket of books is piled as high as Mount Everest.  Every day after nap time/quiet time, we have to pick up countless books that they’ve read and tossed on the floor while they were resting.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining at all!  We developed their love of reading early on.  Zack is reading about 3+ grade levels ahead, and Emma is already identifying numbers and letters.  We’re proud nerds.

But, as far as organization was going, I needed something more than just a basket in Emma’s room.  I was cleaning up her room last week and decided that I should finally put away the crib rail that we took off the front of her crib (she’s the next Gabby Douglas, y’all).  I propped it up against the wall to get it out of my way, and then inspiration struck.

I just leaned that bad boy up by the rocking chair and tented books over the slats.  It’s very light weight, so I didn’t even bother to secure it to the wall.  I’ll be upgrading her to a “big girl” room shortly, so there was no need to make more holes in the wall if I didn’t need to.  She hasn’t even attempted to try to turn it over.

About 30 books fit on the crib rail bookshelf.  Emma can easily remove them, but she’s didn’t immediately know how to replace them.  We’re working on learning that now.

I’m just so pleased with myself and my little idea.  It’s so nice to have a project that you can pull off in 10 seconds.  Believe me when I tell you that doesn’t happen much around here.

I think Emma is pleased with it, too!

Do you have an extra crib rail lying around?  Try making an easy bookshelf!

Filed Under: Create Your Decor, Project Gallery

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. Ca-uuute! Would it be mean to kick my babe out of her crib so we can do this now? Yes? Okay. I’ll Pin it for later. Great idea!

    • Ha! Thanks, Colleen. Take it from me…you don’t want her out before it’s time. But, now you know what to do when she starts climbing out. LOL

  2. Lindsay, I LOVE this!!! Such a clever idea! I will have to see if I can find an old crib at a thrift store since we will be using our regular crib one last time!

    I am going to feature this on my site later today!!

    • Thanks for the feature, Lorie!

      And how did I miss that you were expecting another little sweetie? Oh my goodness- Congrats!! I’m so happy for you!

  3. This is a brilliant idea! So easy and what a great way to repurpose an old crib. I am a teacher and could see this storage idea being used in the classroom.

    • That’s a great idea! Being used in a classroom would be great. It doesn’t take up valuable floorspace, but could hold a lot of little workbooks or magazines.

  4. This is such a great idea! We are getting ready to move to a big boy bed and I was feeling bad because we can’t sell our crib because it has a drop side (against the law to sell drop sided cribs these days at least in my state). Anyway, what a great way to reuse it, thanks for sharing!

    • You are so welcome! Congrats on the soon-to-be move to the big boy bed, too. That’s a big day for a little boy. He’s going to be so proud of himself. :)

  5. Great idea! Love it.

  6. I think you were reading my thoughts! I was just trying to decide if we should buy a small book shelf for my little guys room, but this will be PERFECT! And on the plus side, I won’t have to spend any money, and I’ll have it together in the next ten minutes!

    Thanks for sharing such a great idea!

  7. Love it! On a side note, where did you get the slipcover for the rocker? Our girl’s digestive pyrotechnics have made the microfiber on ours less than stellar.

  8. Great idea. I think this should make the cut into the big girl room. You could use velcro to attach it at the top and there would be no holes. Probably not necessary, just a thought.

  9. Genius :)

  10. What a fabulous idea!!

  11. I love this! What a well timed post – I have been thinking of ideas to store the kids books on the wall – simple and easy – I might just give it a go!

  12. Great idea! I am using our old rail that looks just like that as a bike rack in our workshop. I did kinda the same thing – standing in the mess of little bikes and scooters, wondering how hard it would be to make a rack, then I glanced at the old dismantled crib leaned up against the wall, and bam! Bike rack in 2 mins. Awesome.

  13. Oh my goodness what a great idea. I have been searching Pinterest and a multitude of websites looking for a suitable bookshelf/ book storage idea for my twins room and this is such a great one. I am stealing it for sure. Thank you.

  14. Really Great idea! Passing this on to my daughter now so that she can remember this idea {even though my granddaughter is still in a bassinet and is not yet ready for a crib – ha ha}!

    • LOL! It sadly happens so fast! You’ll blink your eye and that little girl will be climbing out of her crib like mine. Enjoy your time with that sweet baby!

  15. I found your blog via Google, I was trying to find out how to paint lanamite and yours was the first! Just got done sanding my desk that I found out of a dumpster, it’s wood in certain place but lanamite on the top and sides, I’ll follow your directions and let you know how it turns out okay?
    The crib/ book is a really neat idea, followed you on FB!

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  16. Fabulous idea, Lindsey!

  17. Is it bad that I’ve loved and done this…and I don’t have any kids (but DO have lots of vintage kiddie books)? Super easy, super cute and I love that your kids have a love of reading. It is truly the best gift a parent can give a child.

    Oh and yes…you ARE a big deal (smile). I picked up the color issue of House Beautiful and happened to flip to the page, saw your face and was all “I know her”. Well, not really, but I know of her. You’ve got that effect (smile).

    • Oh, thanks Bernadette! You are too sweet. The funny thing is that I feel like I know you, too!

      Love that you did the crib rail thing. It’s just way too easy, huh?

      Hope you are having a great week!

  18. Great idea! I love the kids can see the covers of the books. I am featuring this at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com.

  19. What a great idea!!! Don’t you just love it when those good ideas hit ya? I’m working on editing photos now of a crib project that I just did for my 10 yr old daughter-I should get that blog post up early next week. I hope you come check it out-it might be a good idea for your Emma when she’s older.

  20. What an awesome idea!! Love it!!

  21. This is such a fun idea! I would love to feature this on Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle. Feel free to stop by and grab a featured button. Thanks so much!

  22. Thank you for this great idea! Found it on Pinterest, and DOING.THIS.NOW!! Was about to purchase bookcase from Walmart, but when I saw this, I heard angels singing :)

    Thanks again for sharing!!

  23. My kids would have pulled that thing down and be surfing down the stairs on it or some other crazy thing in about 5 minutes. Wish they were a bit more restrained so we could pull something like that off!


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