It is such a bittersweet moment when your baby makes the switch to a big-girl bed. And we have put this one off for as long as we possibly could. Finally, for Coach’s and my sanity, it couldn’t wait any more. You see, when a big girl outgrows her toddler bed, it gets hard to sleep in. The crinkling of the plastic mattress starts to rouse her every time she rolls over. Then she tends to wake up and come get in bed with Mommy and Daddy. And as much as I love snuggling my little MJ bear, sleeping with her is a completely different story. Unless, of course, you are into being kneed, kicked, and karate chopped in your sleep. And I didn’t even mention the fact that I become the baking meat in the middle of a Moss sandwich. Ummm, don’t put me down for the baking meat…

So it was with eagerness for sleep, but sadness that my baby is growing up, that I began this latest project. I had planned it out for awhile. When we moved all our furniture into the barn so we could build our new house, I knew that this captain’s bed would someday become MJ’s. She was barely one at the time and still in her crib, so it was a thought for long down the road. Well, it came too soon. This was HD’s bed from about age 2 until we moved out of our old house right before he turned 12. By then he was getting too big for a twin bed. So it was a great plan to recycle it for the next in line.


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This bed was too dark for a bright, sunny, girl’s room, so some modification was in order. My two favorite colors are aqua and red. Yeah, it’s a little Dr. Seuss-y, but I likes what I likes. Since MJ’s favorite color changes by the hour, I thought we would just go with mine. 🙂

I decided to go with chalk paint because I didn’t want to mess with sanding and all the tedious stuff that comes with refinishing furniture. You can find so many chalk paint recipes all over the internet, especially on Pinterest. I have seen recipes that use baking soda, calcium carbonate, unsanded grout, and plaster of paris – which is what I used. The recipe that I used called for 3 cups latex paint, 1 1/2 cups plaster, and 1 1/2 cups warm water. I dissolved the plaster in the water and then added it to my paint. I had chosen my paint a while back and bought a gallon of it and some stuff to mix and apply the paint. I actually cut my recipe in half, because of the paint cups I was using. I like them, because the measurements are on the side so they are super easy to mix with. I’m really glad I only mixed half, because it was so hot outside that my paint was trying to dry so fast. I set up my makeshift scaffold for painting – redneck central out here – and got busy.

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I wish I could have taken more pictures throughout the process, but paint and cameras don’t really mix, so I just got a few. An important lesson I learned, was due to the intense Oklahoma heat that day. I would never chalk paint anything in hot weather again. The heat dried my paint up too quickly and I felt the texture ended up a lot rougher than it should have. I even ended up having to do quite a bit of sanding after all. I was very concerned with how rough it was turning out considering that my baby girl would be sleeping in it and playing right by it every day. The second picture below shows a little bit of the roughness.

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I was not sure, when I began, exactly how I was going to finish the piece. I was worried that wax would not hold up very well in a five-year-old’s room. I made a visit to our local hardware store, to get advice, but they didn’t really seem to know much about it. So I visited our local paint store. They didn’t claim to be experts, but were able to sell me a simple, clear Polycrylic that smoothed out the surface and provided an invisible coat of protection.

The finished pic shows you just how much difference a little paint can make. It turned out so great. And MJ absolutely loves it and sleeps in it with no trouble most nights. She still likes sleepovers with brother or sister on the weekends. And occasionally, she still ends up in our bed. But it’s much less than it used to be. She kind of likes being a big-girl… even if her mommy doesn’t love it much.bed makeover

Come back next Monday to see the aqua and red quilt that I finally finished for her bedspread. I LOVE it!! And she does too. It’s one of those projects that I can see her keeping forever and ever. 🙂

UPDATE:  click here to see the quilt post!