How to Build a Cotbed

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How to Build a Cotbed

Preparing for baby's arrival can be a stressful time for any parent, but it does not have to be. Parents should use the months before baby's arrival to gather everything they need for baby. They should also use the time to source materials and get started on building what is possibly the most important piece of baby furniture: the cotbed. Many parents opt to build the cotbed from ready-made pieces, but others draft their own designs and build the cotbed from raw materials. With so many small pieces and slats, it can seem like an impossible project; however, with a good plan and a bit of guidance, it is actually quite simple. Parents just need to be aware of the safety guidelines, know which materials to buy, and how to put the pieces together. Parents can easily shop for the items they need to build the cotbed for their baby on eBay, and have the parts shipped directly to the home.

Review Safety Guidelines

When purchasing a new cotbed, there are safety standards and guidelines that the cotbed must conform to before it can be sold. Whether purchasing a kit to build a cotbed or making it all by hand, it is important for parents to ensure that these guidelines are met. This ensures that baby is safe every night he sleeps in the cotbed.

Cotbed Depth

Cotbed heights can vary depending on the manufacturer. However, the depths of cotbeds are standard across the board. It is important that a cotbed is deep enough with the mattress in it to prevent the baby from crawling out of it. The standard depth for cotbeds is 77 cm. Parents who are building a cotbed from raw materials need to be sure that the cotbed is at least this deep.

Slat Width

The width of the slats is equally important for safety. The slats need to be narrow enough that baby's head cannot fit through them. According to the BSEN716 standards for cots and cotbeds in the U.K., the slats on the sides should be no less than 2.5 cm apart and no more than 5.0 cm apart. To be sure that the slats are narrow enough, parents can test this by trying to pass a can of fizzy drink through them. The can should not be able to fit between the slats. The slats in the base of the cotbed should be no more than 6.0 cm apart.


The type of paint used to finish the cotbed is important as babies and toddlers have a tendency to chew on the sides of the cotbed. Only lead-free paint should be used on cotbeds. If the cotbed is being constructed from repurposed materials that are already painted, the paint needs to be stripped off and the wood should be repainted.

Determine a Plan of Action

Parents cannot start building a cotbed without a plan. These plans can be designed by the parents themselves, or they can be purchased. Parents who are building a cotbed from a kit can find the plans or instructions included with the packaging materials. It is important that parents hold onto these instructions and review the plans to ensure that all pieces are put together correctly. Plans should include the materials needed, the dimensions for each piece, and a step-by-step guide for putting the pieces together.

Gather the Materials

After the plan has been purchased or drafted, it is time for parents to begin gathering the materials to construct the cotbed. The project is easier to complete if all of the materials have been gathered prior to assembly commencing. This ensures that parents do not have to stop midway to locate necessary materials. For a basic drop-side cotbed, the necessary materials are listed in the table below.



Connecting Bolts

Used to connect the sides and the base together; 4 to 40 mm connecting bolts, 4 to 70 mm connecting bolts, 4 to 80 mm connecting bolts

Drop Side Guide Pins

Used only if a drop side is added to the cotbed

Wood Panels

Used to construct the ends panels

Wood Slats

Used to construct the sides and the base; 2 cm wide slats for the sides; 2.5 cm thick slats for the base


Drill, screwdrivers, Allen keys, wood glue

Many parents opt to forego the drop side and place fixed sides all around. If this is the case, then the drop side guide pins are not necessary. Instead, parents need an extra four 70 mm connecting bolts to attach the other side to the cotbed. The type of wood used to make the cotbed is up to the parents. Many opt for oak because it is both sturdy and attractive.

Build the Base

The base of the cotbed is where the mattress rests, so it needs to be sturdy and wide enough to accommodate a standard cotbed mattress. On average, the cotbed base should be about 146 cm long and 75 cm wide. Parents should avoid making the base much larger than the mattress itself. For safety reasons, there should be no more than 4 cm between the edges of the mattress and the edges of the base. The wooden slats should be 2.5 cm or more in thickness. This ensures that they are strong enough to support the weight of a growing baby and toddler. Additionally, the slats should be spaced no more than 6 cm apart for added strength.

Construct the End Panels

The end panels can be the same height or they can vary in height. When transitioning the cotbed from a cot to a toddler bed, having one end taller than the other gives it more the appearance of a bed. When constructing the end panels, one should avoid making cutouts. While these can be fun and attractive, they can also be dangerous for baby. Each end panel should have two sturdy legs attached. The total height of the end panels, including the legs, should be between 85 and 105 cm. The width needs to match up with the width of the base that was previously constructed, about 75 cm.

Build the Sides

Because the sides of a cotbed have slats rather than solid pieces of wood, size and placement are crucial. The slats do not have to be as wide or as thick as the slats in the base, but they still need to be sturdy. Slats should be at least 2.0 cm wide and 2.5 cm thick. This ensures that the sides do not crack or break should the baby put weight on the sides of the cotbed. Each side should have between 10 and 15 slats when spaced properly. The dimensions of the sides depend on the plans that the builder is following. The length needs to match up with the length of the base, but the height varies depending on how high the builder chooses to construct the end panels. Parents who have chosen to build a cotbed for an older child can forego building the sides altogether as older children do not need them.

Finish the Pieces

Once all of the pieces have been built, the wood needs to be sanded down to a smooth finish. Parents who like the natural appearance of wood may use a finish that accentuates the wood's natural beauty. Other parents may choose to paint the pieces. In either case, it is important that only lead-free paint is used. Additionally, all of the pieces need to dry thoroughly before being put together. It can take several weeks to dry completely, so parents should be sure to plan accordingly.

Put All of the Pieces Together

After several weeks have passed and parents are confident that the paint or finish has dried completely, they can begin putting everything together. Parents should be sure to follow the step-by-step instructions included in the plan they are following. Often the ends are attached to the fixed side first. Then the base and the drop side are attached using the proper bolts.

Dress the Bed

Once the cotbed is complete, parents can prepare it for baby's arrival. First, parents need to purchase a standard cotbed mattress, which measures 140 cm long by 70 cm wide. Bedding sets, blankets, cotbed bumpers, and sheets are all needed to make the cotbed more comfortable for baby. Additionally, the bedclothes tie the bed in with the rest of the decor of the room.

Optional Additions to a Cotbed

Depending on the skill level of the cotbed builder, there are several other additions that can be added to the basic cotbed. They are not necessary for the baby's safety, but such additions can make the cotbed easier to use. One such option is casters or wheels on the bottom of each leg of the cotbed. This makes the bed easier to move to a different room, if needed. Parents should be sure that the wheels can lock to avoid any injuries. Teething rails along the top rail of the cotbed are also nice to have. Because babies tend to chew on their cotbeds, these plastic rails protect the wood and ensure that baby does not ingest any paint.

Lastly, an adjustable base also makes the cotbed more convenient to use. When used as a cot, the base can be moved to its highest position. This makes it easier for parents to get the baby in and out of the cot. As the baby grows, the base can be lowered so that the baby cannot climb out. When used as a toddler bed, the base can be dropped to its lowest position so that the child can climb in and out on his own.

How to Buy Cotbeds and Cotbed Materials on eBay

Finding cotbeds and cotbed materials on eBay is simple. Whether purchasing raw materials for a cotbed or making it from a kit, the cotbed still needs to be built before the baby can use it. Everything required to build a cotbed can be found on eBay. This online marketplace allows private sellers from all over the U.K. to list items for sale and connect with you and other interested buyers. New and used items are available across a wide range of prices. If you are looking for the best deals on cotbeds, then you are sure to find them on eBay.

Searching for Cotbed Materials on eBay

Searching for cotbeds and cotbed materials on eBay is simple. Sometimes the easiest and quickest way to find what you are looking for is to perform a basic search. For example, rather than wandering through the site to find connector bolts, a simple search for '70 mm connector bolts' can lead you to all listings that match that search query. On the other hand, if you are looking for a cotbed that just needs to be put together, then searching through the baby furniture categories allow you to see more of what is available. eBay makes it easy to narrow down listings by selecting different options and refining the search to only those items that match what you are interested in. Be sure to read the item descriptions carefully before making a purchase.


The cotbed is the most important piece of furniture that a child needs in the first few years of life. Without the cotbed, baby would have nowhere to sleep. Cotbeds are built to last, and they grow with the child. Building a cotbed is one of the most important and meaningful tasks a parent can undertake while preparing for baby's arrival. Cotbeds can be made from raw materials, or they can be constructed from a kit. No matter which route parents choose to go, the thoughtfulness is still there. Parents do not need to be overwhelmed by all of the pieces and the safety guidelines. Instead, they should take the time to educate themselves, plan what they need, and assemble the pieces with care. Whether parents want to draft their own design or build a cotbed from a kit, they can find everything they need to complete the project on eBay.

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