Now that you’ve got a new crib for your baby, it’s only natural that you finish it off with a nice coat of paint.
Painting the crib was one of my favorite activities as a new mom! I saw it as a way of saying “The baby’s really here!”
I’m here to help you choose the best baby-safe paint for cribs so you can spruce up your baby’s nursery with adorable colors and designs.
In this article, I will list the PROVEN and TESTED baby-safe paints, how to paint a baby crib, and answer common questions about painting baby furniture.
8 Best Baby-Safe Paints for Cribs
This section will enumerate the different non-toxic paints for a baby crib.
I will also tell you their advantages and disadvantages, my personal experience with them, and what makes them unique.
Without further ado, here are the best baby-safe paints for cribs!
1. Retique It by Renaissance Furniture and Cabinet Paint
When I hear the term “baby-safe paint,” Renaissance Furniture Paint immediately comes to mind. Their high-quality ingredients make this chalk paint a safe paint.
This 100% acrylic paint is perfectly safe for baby furniture.
What I like about this chalk paint is that it is designed for the safety of the baby and the whole family.
It has ZERO volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and zero emissions too.
Have I mentioned that it is also HYPOALLERGENIC and has minimal odor? You don’t have to worry about strong scents making you or your baby dizzy.
Aside from the low odor, the Retique It has superior coverage. I only had to coat the baby’s crib once or twice to see a smooth finish.
I didn’t have to spend on a sanding sponge or priming tools!
Baby cribs are not the only furniture this can be painted on too. It applies to interior and exterior projects, and its FAST drying time of 30 minutes makes it all the more worth it.
The cherry on top is this non-toxic paint is easy to clean up too!
Of course, I didn’t get any of this for a cheap price. Prepare to shell out some extra bucks to get this paint for your nursery furniture.
- No harmful chemicals
- Low odor
- Fast drying time
- Might be a bit pricey
- Sells out immediately
2. Amy Howard Home One-Step Paint
I still remember my first time finding a safe paint that works perfectly well with wooden furniture and is first-timer friendly.
Fortunately, I found this hidden gem from Amy Howard.
Using this crib paint is a NO-BRAINER; it’s the perfect companion for parents looking to paint a crib for the first time.
Like its name, this one-step paint lets you immediately get to business. You no longer need to strip, sand, or prime baby cribs!
Water-based paints such as this dry up quickly and resist cracks and stains. What I also like about this paint is its smooth finish.
Unlike other commercial paint brands, this contains ZERO volatile organic compounds.
Zero VOC paints are non-toxic— these are the best choice for our little ones since they are known to touch and scrape their crib.
Although a bit on the pricier side, Amy Howard’s one-step paint will give you both the CONVENIENCE and VALUE we all long for.
- Best for beginners or first timers
- Provides a matte finish
- Paint dries quickly
- More expensive than other water-based paints
3. Rust-Oleum Milk Paint Finish
I always hear one common problem regarding furniture paint — the paint chips too quickly over time!
If you’re in the same boat as most people, this Milk Paint Finish from Rust-Oleum could be your next prized possession.
Some brands of milk paint are often given a bad reputation for paint chips, but this one is an EXCEPTION.
Aside from being non-toxic, its ingredients are designed to make the wood wear-resistant. Its low-odor formula also makes it easy to be removed with soap and water.
This is perfect for parents who want to change the color of their baby’s crib now and then. It has a wide coverage of up to 125 sq. ft. per quart, so you get your money’s worth.
While I like that it dries QUICKLY, this paint for baby cribs can only be used for interior purposes.
It cannot be applied on surfaces that are exposed to high humidity.
Another disadvantage is that this line of milk paints from Rust-Oleum is only available in six colors. But, with enough creativity, you can mix and match to create the shade you want!
TIP: Apply the milk paint by brushing a “V” pattern if you want a washed look or a unique appearance.
- Unique appearance of colors
- Low odor
- Produces a subtle matte and “washed” look
- Makes raw wood more durable
- Not susceptible to paint chipping
- Does not react well to high humidity
- Only available in six colors
- Not a zero VOC paint
4. Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint
Milk paint claims that it is a zero VOC paint, which I have proven and tested to be true.
Natural paints, such as true milk paint, are completely non-toxic and only use natural ingredients.
This natural paint also protects the one using it, as it has NO toxic emissions. It is a perfectly safe paint for crib usage.
When I used this Mustard Seed’s milk paint, I found it can cover 70 sq. ft. per quart. I also appreciate that it has MANY colors to choose from!
Due to its formulation, it makes an excellent paint for baby cribs made of raw wood. You can also use Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint with only MINIMAL preparation.
What I love about Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is that it is an excellent choice for those who do not want chipping.
It is entirely non-toxic, breathable, and has no preservatives!
However, I wouldn’t suggest first-timers use this one, as milk paints are NOT as easy to apply as water-based paints.
Another disadvantage is that Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint has no built-in sealer. You must purchase a separate topcoat to seal the paint for the baby’s crib.
- Natural and safe paint
- Does not contain harmful chemicals and preservatives
- Only requires minimal preparation
- Does not contain a built-in sealer
- Not as easy to apply as a water-based milk paint
5. Old Fashioned Milk Paint
Old Fashioned Milk Paint claims it was the first commercially available milk paint; what’s great is that they still use the same formulation as they did in 1974.
This is a safe paint for a crib because milk paints are usually FOOD-GRADE. This paint for a baby crib also has a slight milky odor, but that’s normal for milk paints.
Another thing I appreciate about Old Fashioned Milk Paint is the wide selection of colors.
There are 32 colors to choose from, so you can unleash that creativity!
Have I mentioned that real milk paint also has ultra-low VOC content? Milk paint is non-toxic and only uses ORGANIC INGREDIENTS.
Old Fashioned Milk Paint is also true milk paint because it contains casein – an enzyme found in milk.
However, one downside I noticed with real milk paint is that it can fade and chip with time. To prevent that, it would be better if you could apply some sealant on the paint.
- Only uses organic ingredients
- More susceptible to chipping and fading
6. Fusion Mineral Paint
Whether you use it for baby furniture or not, this is a great ALL-AROUND paint.
I remember using Fusion Mineral Paint to color the other furniture in my baby’s nursery.
I wanted my kid’s nursery to have a nice, uniform texture, and this paint helped me with just that!
It DOES NOT contain formaldehyde, ammonia, or lead and has NO odor. Although it is non-toxic, I would like to note that this one is not a “zero VOC paint.”
With 500mL of this brand, you can already cover 75 sq. ft. It’s a reliable, no-fuss paint that can respond to your painting needs.
- Versatile paint
- Does not affect indoor air quality
- Multiple colors to choose from
- Wide coverage
Not a zero VOC paint
7. General Finishes Water-Based Milk Paint
If you want a quality product that allows you to not feel guilty about hurting the environment, this one’s for you.
Even non-toxic paints such as this can create a low-luster look, and in my experience, General Finishes did an excellent job as an exterior mineral-based paint.
Being an exterior mineral-based paint is good, as you do not have to limit yourself to painting just indoor materials. It can also be used for exterior furniture!
It will also be MORE DURABLE than milk paint, as it will not have organic proteins that can easily break down over time.
But isn’t General Finishers marketed as milk paint?
Let me clear up the confusion. While it is labeled as a water-based milk paint, it is not really a natural paint as it DOES NOT contain any milk proteins.
However, one downside that I can see is that this is not a zero VOC paint, unlike the other paint brands I reviewed in the preceding sections.
- It can also be used for outdoor furniture
- More durable than zero VOC paints
- More expensive than other brands
- It may contain volatile organic compounds
8. FolkArt Home Decor Ultra Matte Chalk Finish
If you want your furniture to look distressed, FolkArt Home Decor’s Ultra Matte Chalk Finish can accomplish this effect for you.
It only relies on a ONE-COAT application, which is exceptionally suitable for beginners. In addition, you can use it for both indoor and outdoor furniture, unlike milk paint.
You may be thinking, “Is chalk paint safe?” The answer is YES.
Compared to latex paint, most chalk paint brands are no-VOC paints. The formulation of this chalk finish paint is 100% created in the USA too.
- Provides a unique distressed and weathered look
- It can be used for both outdoor and indoor
- It may contribute a little indoor air pollution due to the odor
Is It Safe to Paint a Baby Crib While Pregnant?
The general principle is that pregnant people are DISCOURAGED from painting a crib.
Conventional paint usually uses volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful when inhaled.
Even brands labeled “low VOC paint” may contain an ingredient that can harm the growth and development of the baby.
Generally, low-VOC paints are better than commercial ones, and these products are often tagged as “baby-safe.”
But despite brands marketing many baby-safe paints, toxic chemicals may still exist that could harm both the baby and the pregnant mother.
While I would personally not paint if I am pregnant, I would advise those who will paint their baby’s crib to choose natural paints with only NATURAL ingredients.
When in doubt, check the label.
What to Look For in Baby-Safe Paint for Cribs
Your baby’s crib is where your little one will be most of the time, day and night.
Hence, we must ensure its safety, not only on the structure of the crib but also the paint that coats it.
In this section, I will help you tailor the important ingredients and factors that you should look for in baby-safe paints.
Certifications found on product labels also say a lot about the product.
There could be varying labels, so I’ll share certain certifications that ensure the material is genuinely NON-TOXIC.
Non-toxic paints usually have labels like EN71-3 or ASTM F963-17.
These certifications are commonly found in children’s toys, meaning the paint is SAFE for anything your child may play with or touch, including their crib.
Instead of oil or petroleum-based paint, NATURAL ALTERNATIVES are much safer for you and the baby.
In place of harmful solvents, ingredients such as casein in true milk paint, soy oils, citrus, linseed, clay, plant pigments, and chalk are gaining traction.
I can say that clay paint is one of the SAFEST types of baby-safe paints. It is eco-friendly and poses no risk to one’s health via inhalation.
Believe me when I say that zero VOC paints are LIFESAVERS. VOCs are one of the biggest health disruptors, more so for your little one.
Look for ZERO-VOC paint brands as much as possible, and check their label. And if an unfamiliar ingredient is listed, it’s best to do your research.
You mustn’t just take the label for what it is. A product may be labeled as “zero VOC,” but it might be a low VOC paint.
What to AVOID in Baby-Safe Paint
Part of looking for baby-safe paint for cribs is knowing what NOT to get. As parents, we must also be aware of what could harm our baby’s health.
I will list them here so you know what to avoid for your and your baby’s safety.
Have you ever walked past someone painting and smelled the paint? That’s most likely a VOC paint.
Aside from contributing to air pollution with its toxic fumes, VOC paint carries short-term and long-term effects.
Many studies show that VOC paint contains substances linked to health problems such as eye and nose irritation, kidney and liver damage, and more.
VOC paints can even go so far as to affect the immune system, so please, steer clear of them. Here are some examples:
- Ethylene glycol
If you see these ingredients on a paint that claims to be “zero VOC,” switch products immediately.
Alkylphenol ethoxylat (also known as APEs) are substances usually found in surfactants.
Studies have been leading towards the conclusion that APEs are endocrine disruptors. This means that they mainly affect our body’s natural hormone cycles.
These hormone cycles are essential for the growth and development of our little ones!
Other endocrine disruptors are out there, but APEs are commonly found in other paint brands, so keep an eye out for them.
How to Paint a Baby Crib (6 Easy Steps)
The best paint out there will not last long if applied incorrectly. This was my mistake before, as I was too enthusiastic about painting my non-toxic baby crib.
Now, I’m sharing with you what I have learned from experience! Here are six steps to paint your baby’s crib the right way!
1. Sand the Crib
Depending on the type of paint that you purchased, it might be necessary to sand the crib first and prepare the surface for painting.
You can choose a medium 180-grit or fine 220-grit sandpaper. You can also use a regular sponge, ensuring the paint will bond properly to the surface.
2. Apply a Primer
Some types of water-based paint are “ONE-STEP,” meaning they often do not need a primer.
However, if this is your first time painting the crib or changing the color entirely, it would be wise to paint a primer and let it dry.
3. Consider Lightly Sanding Again
There is a phrase called “giving it a tooth” when preparing a piece of furniture to be painted.
Lightly sanding the furniture again helps the paint stick to the surface, encouraging a more LONG LASTING paint that is less vulnerable to chipping.
Wipe the area with a tack cloth after.
4. Begin Painting the Crib
The essential principle in painting is to paint in the direction of the wood grain, resulting in an even paint that may be more apparent against the grain.
Ensure it is done in one, even stroke, as applying a thick coat may lead to streaking and dripping.
5. Paint Another Coat
Once the first coat has dried, applying another coat of paint would be wise.
This will enable you to smoothen out any uneven strokes or drips that may have happened in the first coating.
6. Allow the Paint to Dry
After that, put the baby crib in a well-ventilated area to dry.
If the paint you use “melts” easily, it would be better to dry it indoors. Open windows and turn on your fans if you can.
This will ensure no lingering odor before you use the crib.
How to Spray Paint a Baby Crib and Keep It Non-Toxic
The most important thing you need to remember if you want to spray paint is to do so in a well-ventilated area where no one is sleeping.
Spray paints are not zero VOC — you need to protect yourself if you are the one spray painting.
Wear a protective mask so you don’t inhale fumes, and use a paint gun of your choice.
Remember that spray paint causes indoor air pollution, so it would be better to do it outdoors than indoors, where someone might be at risk of smelling it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are the most common questions that I receive about baby-safe paints!
Is It Better to Spray Paint or Brush Paint a Baby Crib?
I would prefer to brush paint the crib simply because I have more baby-safe options.
All spray paints have VOCs, while chalk paint, for example, Country Chic paints, can possibly have zero VOC, depending on the formulation.
How Much Paint Will I Need to Paint the Crib?
Honestly, it depends on the size of the crib and the coverage of the paint.
Some cribs would also require you to buy more, as there may be nooks and crannies depending on the design, too!
Additionally, if the paint has more coverage, you won’t need to buy much, even if the size is bigger.
How Can I Paint a Crib Without Sanding?
If you have already primed it, you won’t need to sand the crib.
You would know it needs sanding if you notice a glossy finish on it. In these cases, you would typically need to sand it down to give the paint something to “bite” onto.
How Do I Reduce Exposure to VOC From Paint?
First, it is important to increase ventilation in the place where you are painting.
If you are indoors, open the doors, windows, and fans. If you are outdoors, make sure to paint in a cooler area, as VOCs react more to a cooler and more humid environment.
While you may not be able to avoid them entirely, we can always REDUCE our exposure to VOC from paints.
Is It Safe to Paint With a Newborn in the House?
Generally, I would not advise anyone to do this, as newborns are very sensitive to toxic fumes and may inhale them accidentally.
The best option is to still PAINT OUTDOORS.
But if you don’t have any other choice, then yes, if you keep the newborn in the farthest room where you are painting.
Ensure their room is well-ventilated and keep a fan near them to ward off fumes going their way.
How Long After Painting Is It Safe for the Baby?
I think it is essential to let the paint and the VOCs subside first, so for me, that is at least two months.
While others usually deem it safe after 24 hours, I want to be EXTRA CAREFUL and ensure that my baby is inhaling zero VOC — even if it is painted with milk or chalk paint.
My Favorite Picks
Let’s review my top three picks among the eight products on this list!
Budget Option – Rust-Oleum Milk Paint Finish
With its versatility, you would think that Rust-Oleum’s Milk Paint finish would be more expensive, but it is not.
Due to its matte finish, chipping can be avoided too. Have I mentioned that it has low VOC? Truly, this one is an excellent option for those looking for an affordable choice!
Best Value – Amy Howard Home One-Step Paint
Looking for a paint that is BEGINNER-FRIENDLY and has premium quality? This one-step paint from Amy Howard Home is your best choice.
I can also say that it’s a convenience in a container because there’s no need to sand and prime anymore!
Best Overall – Retique It by Renaissance Furniture and Cabinet Paint
With zero VOCs and toxic chemicals, it is easy to see why Retique It is my favorite. No smells. Fast drying time. Hypoallergenic!
Its versatility, quality, and convenience give it everything a safe paint for babies should have!
Your and your baby’s safety is paramount, so don’t compromise it at any cost.
There are many baby-safe paint options to choose from that will bring colors to your new nursery while ensuring your safety.
Once your newly-painted is finished, you can get yourself an organic crib mattress and crib sheets to add to it!
I know you’re already excited to design your little one’s new home, but safety always comes first! Take care!