I do not love baby gates. I mean, I love that they allow me to take a shower with the kids safely contained in their play room and keep the baby from falling down the stairs, but they are not pretty. And they rarely fit at the bottom of the stairs. And the good ones are $60 each and they still break quickly. Only two of my gates survived the move-plastic parts broke and I had to salvage parts from two gates to rebuild the gate at the top of the stairs. Boo. I decided to build something a bit more fun (and stylish and cheap) for the first floor gates.
(The top of the stairs gate should still be a metal swing close gate, or other gate approved for the top of the stairs.)
The first gate was for the bottom of the stairs. I made it fold away when we aren't using it, and hook into the wrought iron railing to lock. The second and third were for the kitchen. They were all made with leftover cheap plywood from other projects, and dimensional lumber (1x2' and 1x4's). Since they are going to see heavy use and abuse from the munchkin destruction crew, I decided to go for a worn look. Cull wood (as long as it is relitively straight), is perfectly fine for this project.
You will need:
- A saw (I used my circular saw)
- Various 1x2's and 1x4's
- Liquid nails
- Nail gun and nails
- T-strap hinges
- Strap hinges (for bi-fold style)
- Sliding bolt (optional for bi-fold style)
- Paint and stain for distressing
- Sander and sand paper, 80 grit is fine.
|For safety's sake, when cutting any material with your circular saw, set the depth so the saw blade just clears the material.|
Repeat for cross pieces, then center upright. (I used 1x2s.) I didn't worry too much about making perfect cuts, the 1x material is really there just to dress up the plywood. It is not structural. (If you want a more polished look, you will want to use better quality lumber and plywood, and make nice cuts, use lots of wood putty and spend a fair amount of time sanding. That sounds exhausting. You are clearly crazy. Or pregnant with number one and hell bent on over achieving. No one has time for all of that.)
|This is a single panel gate.|
|This is a bi-fold gate.|
Once the gate pieces were assembled, I stained them with my favorite oxidizing vinegar stain.
Then brushed on a really crappy coat of paint (the crappier the better). Sanded all the joints and edges, and rounded off the corners using 80 grit sand paper, then stained again.
For the single panel gate, I just mounted it to the door jam using two t-strap hinges, and a hook and eye for a closure.
The bi-fold gate requires strap hinges to join the panels, plus the t-strap hinges to mount it to the wall. Make sure you hit a stud if you are mounting to a wall.
The kitchen bi-fold tucked out of the way in the open position.
Simple hook and eye closure. Spring closed hook and eyes are also available, but I had these on hand.
I recently added a bar latch to the front of the bi-fold kitchen gate to help prevent the pinching of little fingers when they are tugging at the gate.
The stair gate. The wood strip on the wall was screwed in with wall anchors to make up for the thickness of the molding and provide a secure place to attach the gate.
The hardest part was shaping the bit that slides into the wrought iron railing.
This gate locks with just a simple board on a swivel. This works so much better than the sliding bar lock on my other bi-fold gate.
The stair gate folded out of the way for when you are moving up and down the stairs with laundry or other bulky items.
So there you go. Gates that aren't awful to look at. These were about $30 or less each, and I don't even hate them.
PS-As with all DIY projects, this is a "at your own risk" project.