Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

DIY Baby Gate

Since we moved into our house three months ago, our baby gate situation has been less than ideal.  This house was built in 1830 and it’s got all the colonial trappings, such as baseboards along any wall that doesn’t have heaters.  This makes the traditional baby gate much less sturdy, since the distance covered at the bottom is shorter than the distance covered at the top.  The gate we used at the bottom of the stairs suffered from a wobbliness that I was very uncomfortable with.  Since this is a rental house, I was hesitant to use anything that might leave behind marks, and many of the gates with a top and bottom that are independently adjustable are rather pricey. I am a colossal cheapskate, so I started brainstorming solutions that would be inexpensive and not damage the bannister any more than it already was.  I came up with a rough idea and headed out to Walmart for parts.ImageImageI ended up coming home with two tension rods from the curtain section and two yards of clearance fabric.  Total cost: $12.57 including tax. This makes me inordinately happy.  ImageThe staircase is 35.5″ and the tension rods expand up to 48″, but I decided to hem the fabric to a 70″ length.  Should I ever want to use it on a wider opening, I simply have to replace the tension rods with longer ones.  Plus, I really like the gathered look.

I wanted to make sure that Rocketman could step over it without too much trouble, but that it was tall enough to keep the Duck off the stairs.  He’s very good with up, but not so great with down.  I also wanted it to be low enough that the two dogs, Grizzy and Malley, could jump over it because they do love to spend the nights curled up on the floor in our bedroom.  I know Rocketman and the dogs can get over the wooden gate on level ground, so I subtracted the height of the stair riser from the height of the gate itself and came up with 14″.  I therefore hemmed the fabric to be 20″ tall, giving me three inches of play on each side to create the pocket that the tension rods would be fed through.  I’m not a sewer by any means, in either sense of the word, so this was good practice for me.  I got a sewing machine for my birthday last year, and I’ve only attempted small projects due to my lack of skill.

ImageSo here is the finished product.  Not bad for less than $13 and about an hour and a half of my time.  It took Malley a few tries to muster up the courage to attempt the jump over it at bedtime last night, but she managed and now she knows she can make it.  She’s the smaller of the two, a boxer/shepherd mix.  Grizzy, a Belgian Malinois, didn’t think twice about trying to make it over.  The good news is that there’s still enough fabric left to make another, should I ever need a second one.  It may look a bit like an 80’s school photo background, but considering the cost, I’m quite happy with it.