How can I build a baby playpen reusing or recycling stuff?

Early 2009 was apparently a boring time around here: every couple we know – bar one other couple & us – had a baby last autumn/winter. (The other couple are expecting their first in just over a month; we got a dog & chickens instead.)

All the babies are starting to crawl/walk with support now so need penning in lest they get *everywhere*. At their own homes, they’ve have purpose-bought playpens but when they visit here, their parents have to hold them/leave them in their prams for the duration of the visit. I bought a handmade quilted playmat for when they were smaller and couldn’t escape so easily but mobilebaby has put an end to that. What with our dog, cats & chickens, giant cactus plants, knitting needles & other sharp/swallowable craft supplies, endless electric cables and bajillion stairs (house over four storeys, garden over another four) … well, with all that, sometimes I think *we* need to be penned in for *our* safety.

So, anyway, I’d like to make a playpen type thing – and I’d rather not buy a whole lot of expensive supplies to make it. However I do realise there are safety concerns – especially with hinged bits (it will need to be collapsible so it can be packed away when the babies go home to stop the dogs/cats/chickens getting in it).

There are surprisingly few how-tos online (or at least very few that I can find), which is odd considering how long babies existed before the invention of mass-produced nursery furniture. There seem to be two basic designs these days – wooden bars (or metal/plastic ones like in the picture) or plastic mesh sides. I presume the babies will be very keen to see out so reusing/upcycling some regular fabric – for example, old bedding – for the sides would cause upset.

Any thoughts/ideas?

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4 Responses to “How can I build a baby playpen reusing or recycling stuff?”

  1. john b says:

    we might have one we haven’t used in years. let me check and i’ll bring it round if it’s all still there.

  2. Alice says:

    Yeah I’m guessing that with stuff for young children they tend to outgrow things before the things wear out, so loads of good quality stuff is available second hand. Try friends with slightly older children and freecycle/freegle.

    Failing that, how about using a very large cardboard box and cutting out “windows” to look out of? Something like this but with no roof and no door. And possibly with curtains and flowers and things painted on it.

  3. angela says:

    I took 4 cardboard cutting boards ,covered them with fabric and tied the ends together to make a play yard for a small baby, I made it to place on the bed to keep a newborn encassed, it’s pretty big,15″ tall and40″ long and wide.

  4. dcpw says:

    You sound as if you need to ‘contain’ more than one child.

    Several side panels from a cot?
    You could hinge them together so it would be easy to take apart. Changing the number of panels would increase/decrease the size of the ‘pen’.

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