The day your baby starts to crawl, a whole new chapter of parenthood starts.
Where you were once able to leave your little one to play on the rug with their toys, it now becomes a constant struggle to keep your eye on them and make sure they’re not going where they shouldn’t be.
Baby gates have always been one of the biggest child safety products out there, but for whatever reason, they might not work at your home.
Either the dimensions don’t fit, they’re hard to maneuver, or they don’t mesh well with the look and feel of your house. Whatever the reason, you’ve probably wondered if you could make a DIY baby gate that would be just as safe and tackle these problems.
How do you make a DIY baby gate?
Depending on what you need the gate for, you have two options for making your own. Firstly, you can make a durable fabric room divider to stop them from climbing up the stairs, and secondly, a more durable wooden baby gate that offers just as much protection as those you find in the store.
If you’ve found no baby gate products offer exactly what you need, we’re here to help.
We have two easy guides to making a DIY baby gate that suits just about any household, and they’re easy enough to put together in an afternoon, so you can relax and enjoy the time you have with your little ones.
- 1 The Importance of This Safety Feature
- 2 What Can I Use as a Baby Gate?
- 3 How to Build a Quality Wooden Baby Gate
- 4 A Fabric Baby Gate as a Room Divider
- 5 Why Safety Should Always Be First
- 6 Related Questions
The Importance of This Safety Feature
A baby gate is one of the most crucial safety features you need if you have small children or infants in the house. Even homes without staircases have areas that are off bounds or dangerous for little kids to be around, and this is where the baby gate can come in handy.
A quality baby gate is crucial for any home with young children but just as important as the gate itself, is how well it’s been installed.
According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, five children under the age of seven are treated every day in emergency departments in the US due to injuries related to baby gates.
When not installed correctly or if you choose a cheap and inferior product, they can be pulled down, knocked over, and even climbed on top of. If you’re handy with tools around the house, you can easily make a premium baby gate that you’ll feel safe about protecting your child with.
What Can I Use as a Baby Gate?
After doing some research on baby gates and seeing the cost of a quality brand, it can be overwhelming trying to find one that suits your budget.
For this reason, many families underestimate the importance of having a baby gate and think they can use other objects around the house, but it’s simply not as safe.
Some people have used things like boxes, rope, and discarded outdoor gates or parts of fencing placed up against doorways or at the entrance to stairs.
Although it might seem like a baby or toddler would find it hard to get through, you’d be surprised by their strength and tenacity, so this type of solution is very unsafe.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on something brand new but want to feel secure about your baby gate, there are a few ways to make one for yourself. We’ve got two options for baby gates depending on what you need, so you can save yourself hundreds of dollars but still make your home as safe as possible.
How to Build a Quality Wooden Baby Gate
A wooden baby gate is the most secure option and it’s ideal for staircases and blocking off areas that are dangerous and unsafe. To create this wooden baby gate, you’ll need to first assemble your supplies and have the wood cut to size.
Materials and Tools
- Circular saw
- Drill and impact driver
- Speed square
- Wood glue
- Wood stain
- Spray shellac
- 3 pieces 1 x 4 x 8 wood
- 1 ¼” wood screws
- Outdoor gate latch
- 2 x door hinges
Step by Step Guide
- Establish the size of the gate you’ll need, depending on the area you’re fitting it to. Calculate the higher, width, and which way the gate needs to swing. For the purpose of this guide, the gate will be 32 inches wide and 29 inches tall.
- Using your circular saw, cut two horizontal and six vertical boards, to create the width and depth you need. Cut two boards for attaching to the wall; these will eventually hold the hinges and lock.
- Lay the pieces down so you can see how the gate will be assembled before you begin. Space the vertical planks out so they’re even, measuring around 2.5 inches between them. Pre-drill the holes and use your 1 ¼ inch screws to attach them, using the speed square to stay level.
- With the gate assembled, now you have to make it smoother and more visually appealing. Use an orbital sander to smooth out any splinters and rough spots, then dust off.
- Apply your chosen color of stain to the wood and once dry, two coats of the spray shellac.
- Attach the extra boards you cut earlier to the wall by drilling them into place, leaving ¾ inch from the ground for room to swing. Attach the hinges to one side, depending on which way it will swing, then attach to the gate.
- With the gate hanging in place, position it so you can install the hatch on the other side. Test out the gate for safety and to make sure it opens and closes correctly.
A Fabric Baby Gate as a Room Divider
If you don’t need something as durable as a wooden gate, you might find some use from a fabric baby gate instead. These are helpful for areas where there’s no major threat if a kid manages to get inside, but rather to keep them in a safe space, like a playpen.
Materials and Tools
- Quilting fabric
- Bias tape
- Heat-activated adhesive (iron-on seams)
- 4 x cord bundlers with an adhesive strip
Step by Step Guide
- Measure the space where you intend of placing the gate to get an idea of how much quilting fabric you’ll need. Choose a fabric that you like the design of and something that goes well with your home’s décor. The bias tape you choose should also match the quilting fabric so they blend together.
- Lay the bias tape flat so it covers the long side of the fabric, then make a small loop in the corner. Using your iron and the heat-activated adhesive, hold it on for a while to seal the loop, checking to make sure it’s secured together.
- Smooth the tape across the long side of the fabric and repeat the previous step so you create a small loop in the other corner. Use the adhesive to over the bias tape and secure it over the top so that it stays in place.
- Repeat the previous steps on all four sides of the material until you have four loops.
- Mark where the four cord bundlers will be attached to the walls so that the material is pulled tightly and securely.
- Remove the adhesive backing of the cord bundlers and stick them to the wall, leaving them overnight to dry and become more secure.
- Attach each of the loops to its corresponding cord bundler to complete the baby gate.
Why Safety Should Always Be First
Babies and children are joys to have around the home, but they come with a lot of added worry.
Items and areas that were never thought to be unsafe suddenly become a hazard when there are little ones around, so you need to look at your home in a whole new light to see where the dangers might be lurking.
You should only attempt to make a DIY baby gate if you can be certain of your skills and ensure that it will be of the highest quality.
Otherwise, shopping for a child-safe baby gate manufactured by a reputable brand is the best thing you can do for your baby’s wellbeing and your own peace of mind.
A baby gate is a must-have accessory for a home with babies and small children, but knowing which one to buy and the necessary features can be hard to determine.
If you’re looking to upgrade your baby gate or have a little one on the way that needs protection, check out the answers to some commonly asked questions about these important safety devices.
Can You Use a Pet Gate as a Baby Gate?
Pet gates are designed to keep pets from entering into rooms or getting outdoors, and they’re usually freestanding devices or pressure mounted gates.
For a safe baby gate, the device needs to be physically attached to the wall to ensure its security. Therefore, you’re better shopping for a dedicated baby gate rather than opting for one made to keep pets away.
When Can You Stop Using Baby Gates?
Most households install baby gates as soon as their children are born, simply for their peace of mind. However, when a baby starts crawling this is when they must be fitted, as it becomes more of a danger.
You can keep a baby gate up until your child is age two or more, depending on how safe you feel with them using the stairs or entering into rooms you once thought dangerous.
At What Age Can Babies Climb Steps?
A baby gate is essential in households where there are stairs, as most babies can start climbing stairs from six months of age.
The issue with them climbing stairs at this young age as they’re not coordinated enough to do it without falling, so they should be protected from stairs at all times. As they start to walk confidently, from 16 months of age or so, they may be able to climb stairs safely.