Car Bed Makeover for Under $60

We just moved my son into a big boy bed.

The thought of not having any more ‘babies’  in a crib made me sad.  Especially after seeing this:

Bye bye crib

My baby is not a baby anymore!

But one thing got me really excited about my son being in a big boy bed.

Now THIS is a car bed! Learn how to make a regular car bed epic for under $60!

We did a makeover of his car bed and it turned out AWESOME!  I was literally jumping up and down once I saw the finished project and couldn’t wait to see it in his room.

My hubby and I are car people–in our free time we love to watch Top Gear UK and imagine what it would be like to own a fancy sports car.  

So if our son is going to have a car bed–it’s going to have to look epic. 

This is what it looked like before:

Little Tikes Car Bed Makeover Before

After some trial and error and a lot of spray paint, here’s what the bed looks like now!

Little Tikes Car Bed Makeover After

We did this all with spray paint for under $60!

This car bed makeover cost only $60!

Painting the wheels a metallic silver was one little detail that made the car look more realistic!

Little Tikes Car Bed Makeover for under $60!

My son loves his new car bed!  It provides the perfect statement piece for his room.

Loves his new car bed!

I’ll show you how we did this and what we would do if we had to do it all over again.

How To Spray Paint a Little Tikes Car Bed

All the paints we used for this project are pictured below.  I’ve had great results with Rust-Oleum spray paint.  The coverage is great and they come with a bigger spray nozzle so it’s more comfortable for your finger as you paint.

Paint supplies


  • 4 cans Rust-Oleum primer spray paint
  • 6-7 cans Rust-Oleum gloss apple red spray paint
  • 1 can Plasti Dip in black
  • 2 cans Rust-Oleum clear gloss spray paint (optional and not really necessary as you’ll read later)
  • 1 can Rust-Oleum Metallic Aluminum spray paint
  • Painter’s tape

Project Cost:

Believe it or not we were able to complete this project for under $60 dollars!  

Most of the spray paint cost $3.77 per can except for the Plasti Dip which was $6.97 per can.

We also chose to use a gloss top coat spray paint.  That wasn’t necessary because the red spray paint had a glossy finish that was had a pretty good shine on it’s own.

Without using the clear spray paint as a top coat–this project had a grand total of $59.18!  With the clear spray paint the project came in at $66.72!

Here’s How To Do It:

Make sure the weather will be good for spray painting.   Shade, low winds, and comfortable temperatures make for a great spray painting atmosphere.

Plan for this project to take a couple days.  Allowing time for each coat to dry is crucial.  I would plan about two days for this project.

Disassemble the bed into the four main pieces.  Then wipe off each panel with a dry cloth.  

If you have sandpaper, I would recommend sanding the surfaces before painting.  We did not do this and wished we had!  Try to sand most all of the surfaces with 400 or 600 grit sandpaper.  Then wipe off with a dry cloth before spraying on the primer. 

Apply 2-3 coats spray paint primer on each piece, letting each coat dry before starting the next one.  The primer will help the spray paint adhere to the plastic.   Spray about 10 inches from the surface in thin even coats.  If you spray it on too close or stay in one spot too long, you’ll get drips in the paint (which looks really bad)

After the primer dries, sand the primer lightly with 600 grit sandpaper.  Then you’re ready to apply the top coat.

Next, apply 3 coats of your top coat color.  Remember–don’t spray it too close or linger on one spot for too long or else you’ll end up with uneven paint and drips.  Take your time!

Now THIS is a car bed!  Learn how one couple painted a normal car bed and made it into something epic!

We chose to paint the ground effects and side scoops a contrasting black color.  This little detail really made the bed look fantastic!  If you choose to to a two-tone paint project, paint first with the color that will cover the most space on the car.

To paint accents (like we did) use painter’s tape to tape off the boundaries.  

CAREFULLY paint the chosen space in the accent color making sure to keep the paint within the right boundaries.

After the accent paint color dries, carefully remove the painters tape.  You may notice some spots that need touching up–you can gently do this with a Q-tip covered in spray paint.  

Now THIS is a car bed!  Learn how to make a regular car bed epic for under $60!

What We Would Have Done Differently:

We should have sanded the surfaces before painting.  This step takes some time but will really help the paint stick and keep the surface consistent. 

We started this project intending to spray the whole thing with Plasti Dip.  My hubby painted one panel with Plasti Dip and after realizing how little it covered, we decided to use regular spray paint instead.  Plasti Dip is great but at $6.97 a can, but the cost of spraying the whole bed would have cost a lot more.

So we changed our minds and decided to paint most of the car with regular spray paint and using the Plasti Dip for the ground effects and side scoops.

Is the finish perfect?  No.  This was hard for my project-perfectionist hubby to get over.  But once we put it up in my son’s room, the little imperfections were hardly noticeable.

In a perfect world, we would have used automotive primer and spray paint. but most people don’t have access to that!  

WE also used a clear gloss paint as a top coat.  The red spray paint we used had a glossy finish to it and that offered enough shine.  So if we had to to the project all over again, we wouldn’t have used that paint. 

 This post linked to: Inspire Me Please, Family Fun Friday, Link Party Palooza, Skip The Housework Saturday, Think Pink Sunday,  Saturday Sharefest, Share Your Creativity, Inspiration Monday, Feature Friday Link Palooza, In and Out of the Kitchen, Project Inspired, Tutorials and Tips,  Do Tell Tuesday, The Makers, Whimsy Wednesday,  Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Finding Inspiration, Project Parade, Creative Spark, Thrifty Thursday, Inspiration Gallery, I’m Lovin’ It, Create It Thursday, and Serenity Now.


  1. Cindy says

    I so excited to see this! I bought a car bed for my son but we keep it at his grandparents I thought about painting it for my daughter and bringing it to our house to get her out of her crib also. Her room is in purple with glitter on the walls any good ideas for a color to paint her car bed? Thanks so much!

    • says

      That’s a great question! My son has had this bed for about 5 months and he loves it! He thanks us all the time for his car bed, so I’m sure your kids will love yours!
      It’s hard to say what color would be best without seeing the room, but I have a couple ideas. If her room is purple with glitter on the walls, you could paint the bed a pearl white. That color is used on a lot of luxury cars and has a nice classy feel. Or you could paint the bed a lighter tone of purple so it goes with the room but isn’t too overpowering. I’ve also seen some glitter spray paint, so if you want to go all out, you could choose a color and then spray a glitter paint on top. There’s so many possibilities!
      If you have a hard time choosing colors, buy a couple cans of your favorite colors and test them out on the back side of one of the panels first. That might help narrow down your decision. Keep me posted and let me know how it turns out!

  2. Cosmo says

    I’m so happy to see you did this! I’ve been telling my hubby I am going to try this with plasti dip because the car beds are so plain, and I love something customized and special! I found you on google and I’m so glad! Now hubs doesn’t think I’m crazy! Haha

    • says

      I’m so glad this helped you out! Painting the bed made a HUGE difference. It was cute before but we absolutely love it now! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment–that means a lot to me!

    • says

      Moving to a big bed is a big event for a child so I’m glad we could make it into a fun event for my son. I hope your granddaughter loves her new bed when the time comes!

  3. CYnthia says

    It looks fantastic! What a great way to customize his room. Thank you for linking at the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you again next week.

    • says

      He was! The first couple of nights he was still missing his crib but he’s totally over it now! It really helped having something big and exciting to transition to!

    • says

      I love finding cute ideas for my kids rooms. I may end up making over their rooms several times just to feed into my Pinterest Ideas habit :) Thanks so much for the pin, too!

    • says

      He loves his new bed! He has fun jumping and pretending to drive it! A couple times at night he’s asked for his crib back :( It broke my heart but each day he gets more and more excited about being a big boy!

  4. says

    Carrie, You always have impressive projects… Now I have to confess I’m a little partial to blue… in my single days I owned a sweet blue mustang :)But wow! You really made the care look real!
    Theresa recently posted…Why Moms Need to SwimMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you Theresa! I liked the blue too but my son’s bedroom was already painted blue and I wasn’t sure how it would look. We decided to paint the bed and now we love the look!


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