Monday, January 21, 2013

Making a babygate: a weekend project

As I arrived at my daughter's house this past weekend, she flashed a list of projects for us to complete before the weekend was done. I am happy to say we almost completed her list.

One of the listed items was a nice-looking baby gate for her stairs. Her nine-month-old is constantly crawling to the stairs and pulling up, threatening to start climbing. Last week, she caught him beginning the climb so she had to either go out and purchase a gate, or we had to make one, pronto.

One of the problems with baby gates--they can be very expensive, they aren't usually attractive and you don't usually have any choice about designs. Most baby gates attach with hardware which means putting ugly screw holes into sheet rock and for her, the sheet rocked wall doesn't begin for a few stairs and you can't let the baby climb several stairs before coming to a gate. Other walls can be attached to spindles but the spindles can unfortunately become marred or scratched.

My daughter came up with a design for a gate made from low-cost materials that included 1/2-inch PVC tubing, PVC joints, super glue, material, thread and industrial strength Velcro.

She had the Velcro, the material and thread (bought from a dollar counter at WalMart some time ago), and the super glue. She had to purchase the PVC tubing and the connectors. All the materials came to a cost of approximately ten bucks! Much cheaper than what she could have bought ready-made.

When we asked the lady for helping in finding a tool to cut the PVC, she said, "Just borrow my PVC cutting tool and bring it back when you are done." Thanks Greta at Home Depot. You are the best!

The tool was easy to use and we quickly constructed our frame.

 On each vertical side we added a strip of industrial self-sticking Velcro around the PVC.

The next step was gluing the top and bottom horizontal "rod poles" together.

Then my daughter sewed the fabric and made pockets for the top and bottom. She decided to sew flaps on each side to which she placed the industrial, spiky self-stick Velcro. She ripped out a small T-shape in the seam to insert the vertical poles, then inserted the top and bottom rods and the center poles (that had to be bent a bit to insert). The material holds the vertical poles tightly so there is no give and no need to add glue. The gate was then ready to use.

There is no set way you have attach the Velcro. This was the way my daughter decided to do it and it worked quite well. Ties could also work but might not be as sturdy as the industrial Velcro. Another idea was Velcro-ed straps but she really didn't want the straps to show and she wanted to hide the piping as much as possible.

I think this was an ingenious plan and execution which proves again that you can do almost anything with a little determination. Now the baby will have to learn to climb on something else.


  1. Now this was a brilliant idea! And it's so much prettier than conventional baby gates, too!