DIY Baby Gate

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Ok…let’s get something out of the way. November kicked my butt. Big time. I took this break from blogging to get my stuff together, get organized, be more consistent. And, October was great! I posted consistently, I was happy with what I was posting. Then, November happened. Halloween (ok, that’s October, but still) and DIY Halloween costumes, Landon’s first birthday and a fun party to celebrate him (where I may or may not have gone a bit overboard with the theme and décor), a trip to California for a family wedding which included Landon’s first airplane ride, and was promptly followed by his first cold, and then Thanksgiving. It makes me tired just thinking about all of it. I certainly didn’t get any of my blog objectives accomplished this month. However, this weekend has been SUPER productive so far and I already feel good about December and what I’m going to bring your way, starting with…DUN DUN DUUUNNNN…a DIY Baby Gate! I am so pumped about how this gate turned out but that brings me to point #2 that we need to get out of the way…

The elephant in the room is that I put up a baby gate. And my child has been mobile for 5 months. (*insert face palm emoji here) Now, I started this project when he began to crawl. I had the gate completely built, within a day or two, sitting in my garage. And then…that’s it, it stayed in the garage. Even though all I had to do was paint it and put it up. I’m really unsure when this trait started, beginning a project and then not finishing it. Usually I don’t finish it because it turns out the project was much harder than I thought it would be (ugh eh…our deck) but I can’t use that excuse here, the gate was SO simple! I’ve always been such a procrastinator, wait until the last minute to get something done and then stress out about it not being perfect because I’m rushing to finish it. I’m not sure which is worse, procrastinating or starting a project and not finishing it. I think it has to be the latter, because that leaves me with 3,495,383 half done projects around the house! Anyway, this is my focus area, to make myself better, to stop starting projects and not finishing them. There’s about 5 major projects in the house right now that have been unfinished for sometime. My goal is to complete at least 1 per month (I know that doesn’t sound like much but they are BIG projects…deck, painting the kitchen cabinets, painting the downstairs, finally building benches to go with the dining room table and turning the carpet stairs to hardwood). So that would mean, all 5 of those projects 100% done by my birthday, at the latest. I’m writing it here so you all can hold me accountable, okay? (I know if I write it here, there is at least 1 person who will stay on my case about it, right mom?)

And now, what you all came here for…the baby gate! Like all my projects, this came about from my desire to find a cute baby gate with a barn door-esque look to it. Of course, I couldn’t find anything like it out there, so, I built it. And truly, you know it had to be easy because I didn’t follow a plan, I just made it up as I went. That part was a little scary and took some planning and measuring beforehand but it all turned out well.

Before I share the steps with you, you should know that the opening I built this gate for is not a standard door-size opening so it is a bit of a custom build. I used the width of the opening to determine what size boards I would use and also had to take into account needing 2 pieces of wood attached to the wall on either side for anchoring the gate and attaching the lock. If you are interested in doing this in your own home, please feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to help you determine the necessary measurements as well as what size boards to use.

The full space I had to work with is 46 1/2″ wide x 35 1/2″ tall. I needed a little space on each side of the gate for the support boards as well as a little room for the gate to swing open and closed. I calculated that if I used 1×6 boards, it would leave me just enough space. (If you do this, make sure you look up the true measurements on the board you’re using, i.e. a 1×6 board is only 5 1/2″ wide, not 6″, which could make a big difference to your overall project.)

Supplies
4 – 1x6x10 boards
1 – 1x6x8 board
1 – 1x4x8 board
1 – 1x3x8 board
jigsaw, table saw or miter saw (any will work, I used my jigsaw)
wood glue
nail gun
1 1/4″ brad nails
44″ grips (not necessary, but helpful for keeping boards lined up for step 1 & 2)
gate hardware (2 hinges, 1 handle, 1 lock)
paint or stain of your choice
drill with 7/32 drill bit
2″ wood screws

1. Use the 1x6x10 boards, on each board, cut 1 piece @ 44″ and 2 pieces @ 34″. You should have an 8″ piece of scrap wood left over from each board. Line your 34″ boards up side by side, making sure the top and bottom edges line up evenly. Use 44″ grips, across the middle of the boards, to hold the boards together and keep them from moving. If you don’t have grips, you can just hold each board in place as you nail it to ensure it doesn’t move.

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2. Once your grips are secure, use wood glue, the nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails to attach a 44″ board across the top and bottom of the 34″ boards. Once secure, remove the grips, turn the gate over to the other side, and attach the other 2 44″ pieces the same way.

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3. Use the 1x6x8 board, cut 4 pieces @ 23″. These pieces are going to lay along the right and left sides and you want them to fit snuggly between the 44″ pieces. I suggest measuring for each one individually before cutting, just to be sure of the exact length. Once cut, attach using wood glue, nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails to both the left and right edges of the gate, on the front and back sides.

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4. Use the 1x3x8 to cut 1 piece @ 44″. This is going to be your top trim board. I didn’t snap a picture of this in the construction process because it was actually an afterthought. I wasn’t going to add the trim to the top but decided to in the end because the top edge was a little rough and I thought it would just look more finished this way. Measure the width across the top of the gate before making the cut, it should be close to 44″. Attach using wood glue, nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails.

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5. Use the 1x4x8 board to cut your support post and block for the lock to attach to. Make sure you look for studs in the area you will be attaching the gate. This gate is a heavy beast so you definitely want to secure it through studs. Cut 1 piece @ 34 3/4″, this will be the side you attach your hinges to. Cut a 2nd piece @ 3 1/2″ long, this will be the block you attach the lock to. (Once I had those final two pieces cut, this is when I painted everything. Much easier to do before you install. I used white chalk paint on mine.) On the 34 3/4″ piece, use your drill and drill bit to make 3 small notches in the wood where you will secure it to the wall. You don’t want to drill all the way through the board, just a  slight indent, so the head of the screw will sit below the surface of the board. Then secure the board to the wall using 2″ wood screws and screw into a stud. Set the 3 1/2″ piece aside. I didn’t attach this one until the gate was installed, so that I could line it up with exactly where the edges of the gate would sit.

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6. Now you are going to attach the hardware to the gate. Be sure to pay attention to the top of the gate, and if there’s a certain side you want facing in or out of the room. The hinges I used are these National Hardware Steel Painted gate hinges from Lowes. You will attach the decorative end of the hinge to the gate, when figuring out placement, I held the hinge at a 90° angle up against the gate and then secured the decorative end with the screws it comes with. Attach the second hinge toward the bottom of the gate the same way. I also attached the handle before hanging the gate, you can do this now or later. I used the Gatehouse Black gate pull and placed it on the right edge of the gate on the same side as the hinges, halfway down the gate. Now you can hang the gate by securing the other side of the hinge to the anchor board that you attached to the wall. *Note: since the gate is so heavy, it is best to do this with 2 people. If you can’t do it with two people, I suggest using something sturdy underneath the gate to lift it up to the appropriate height for attaching. You WILL NOT be able to hold the gate up and attach it by yourself, please don’t try. I used pieces of 2x4s to raise the gate up to the proper height but please be careful if you’re using this method. Use the screws that accompany the hinge to attach the rectangular side of the hinge to the anchor board.

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7. Now that the gate is hung, you can determine the placement of the 3 1/2″ block. I just pushed the gate into the “closed” position to see where it naturally rested, then marked on the wall with a pencil where the block should sit. Use the drill and drill bit to make 2 notches into the block the way you did with the anchor board, then attach the block to the wall using 2″ wood screws. Line the gate up with the block, put the locking mechanism into locked position while you are attaching it. This way, you know the pieces are lined up properly. I used the Gatehouse 3-in steel bolt, mostly because of the small size. I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of space for a larger lock.

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Done and done! Lock that puppy and keep your little one contained to one room 🙂 I absolutely love how this project turned out and like I said before, if you are interested in doing this in your home and need help adjusting the measurements for a custom fit, I’d be happy to help. Just go to the contact page and send me a message!

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