Monday, March 19, 2012

My version of 'Wonder Bumpers'- A mini tutorial

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned in my to-do list post that I was working on making a new type of crib bumper for our baby's crib.  Well, last week I finished them up and I think they turned out awesome!  They are very different than the average crib bumper, looking more like nursery decor than bedding, and they are safer, too!  First, let me show you a picture of my finished product!

These were not hard at all to make.  If anything, they were time consuming.  But I tend to be a perfectionist and make everything a bit more involved than it really has to be. 

Here is a list of general supplies that you'll need:
  • Foam pipe insulation
  • Serrated knife
  • Fabric to cover your foam
  • Adhesive spray
  • Ribbon Ties
  • Snaps(optional)
  • Snap Pliers (optional)

I wish I could give you a more specific list of supplies including measurements and such, but everyone's needs will be a little bit different based on the crib you are making these bumpers for and your own personal preferences.

To start, you'll need to figure out how much foam pipe insulation you'll need.  First, decide how tall you want your bumpers to be.  Some people like them to cover the entire rung.  I preferred that mine be only about the height of normal crib bumpers so that my baby will be able to see out into her nursery more easily. Plus, it also saves quite a bit of cost to make them that much shorter.  I chose a height of 9" for mine.  Decide on a height and multiply that number by the number of rungs your crib has.  That is the total number of inches of insulation you'll need.  I believe that the insulation I bought came in 48" lengths, which meant that I could get 5 bumpers out of each piece with 3" left over as scrap material.  Make sure you account for your scraps, too.  You'll also need to measure the width of your crib rungs to make sure that you get insulation with a big enough center hole.

Next, get out your tape measure and measure out the length of each bumper, marking each as you go.  Using your serrated knife, carefully cut/saw through the insulation, trying to cut as squarely as possible.  It isn't hard to cut at all, you just want to try to keep it straight and most importantly, not cut yourself.  After you've got all of your bumpers cut, you are ready to move on to your next step.

Now, we're going to be cutting pieces of fabric to cover the bumpers with.  Just like with the insulation, you need to make sure you account for scraps.  I chose to use fleece because it is soft to the touch, pretty cheap, thick enough that it wouldn't show the dark insulation through it, and comes in a huge variety of colors to match most any room.  You'll want to cut your fabric into rectangles large enough to completely cover your bumpers, including enough to tuck into the opening.  It was a little tricky to get the fabric just the right size so that it was easy to work with, but I was able to.  I think an overlap of about an inch on each edge is about right.  You can see, my rectangles varied a bit in size, but it isn't too big of a deal. 

Once your fabric is cut, your ready to use your spray adhesive and cover the bumpers.  First, lightly spray your rectangle, allow to stand for a few seconds, then place your foam right in the very center, seam side facing up.

Carefully wrap the fabric around one side of the foam and into the seam, then roll the foam towards the rest of the fabric, also tucking that end into the seam.

You can see here that each long edge of fabric is tucked into the seam.  Now you have to tuck each end down into the bumper.  This is probably the trickiest part, but you'll get the hang of it!  It doesn't have to lay perfectly on the inside since it will be tied or fastened fairly tightly to your crib rungs.

After covering your bumpers, they are basically done!  All you need to decide now is how you would like to fasten them to your crib rungs.  I chose to make ribbon ties with snaps so that my curious/semi-destructive toddler would have a harder time taking them off of his sister's crib.  I thought that if I tied them all on the sight of all the bows would draw his attention even more!  Adding the snaps did add extra cost, but not a ton, especially since I didn't need as much ribbon as if I'd been tying bows on each end.  Plus, I already owned a snap pliers from the cloth diaper making adventure I'm on.

Here's my totally finished crib!

I used another tutorial as a guide to help me create my bumpers.  If you'd like to check that one out, here it is:  Wonder Bumper How-To


  1. These are so much cuter than the traditional type. This is an idea for my son...soon to be a daddy!

  2. I bet you're excited, Becky Jane! I know that my parents and in-laws are always thrilled about a new grandbaby.

  3. Polyethylene foam pipe insulation and spray adhesive both off-gas and are highly toxic! Perhaps there are safer materials???

    1. Do you have a link to the specific MSDS sheet you are dreaming about? I found one from Dow[1] chemical as well as a second manufacturer in Michigan[2] and the only "off-gassing" which occurs is when the material is at melt temperature. According to OSHA, it is also classified as "Not a hazardous chemical".

      Perhaps you are thinking of a different type of foam? If not, stop trying to panic people with ignorant, unfounded "information".


  4. Not only is the Foam highly toxic , the adhesive spray is also! Just read the MSDS on them, Neuro -toxic ! and Super Flammable !

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  6. I believe that once the spray adhesive is dry, it is no longer toxic. It is the fumes that cause problems. Also, some pipe insulation is CFC free, including the type I used.

  7. How did you do the ribbon and snap to attach it?

    1. I just wrapped a length of ribbon with one side of the snap on each end around the top and bottom of each bumper and snapped it shut. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. where did you buy the piping and approximately how much did thise project cost?

    1. I got the foam pipe insulation from Menards. You can get it at any hardware store. I don't remember how much it cost- sorry! I do know that it was substantially cheaper that the store bought ones.

    2. Per Crafty Mommy, the pipes alone are $19 + fabric + time (I always factor that in), retail is $99-200. But Crafty Mommy isn't half as well-detailed as Five Feet Mama :) thanks for this tutorial.

  9. dont let your baby play with a lighter in the crib and that should take care of them being highly flamable. come on people, grasping at straws now to find more things you cant use to help raise your baby...whats worse, possibility of your baby using an open flame in its crib or beating its little head off the crib over and over. GOOD JOB...they are awesome will be trying these if needed and making sure my child doesnt play with fire just in case.

  10. Thank you for the instructions, I had no idea what the padding was. I cannot wait until my fabric order arrives. My son and daughter in law are having fraternal twins, one bed will be decorated with musical instrument fabric, I see piano keys for the bumpers... if I get their approval. Some solid white, some black on top with white on bottom. More steps to create, but I'll be a first time MiMi :), that's what it's all about.

  11. I already had the idea of putting the pipe insulation on the crib after seeing the very expensive manufactured bumpers in the store but I did know how to get them to look good. Thanks for the instructions on wrapping them in material.


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