Monday, December 22, 2014

DIY Baby Gate

The landing between the upstairs and our living room has a huge opening, and I was having a really hard time finding a baby gate that was wide enough.

Our temporary solution was to slide the coffee table in front of the stairs during my little bean's waking hours, but this was neither convenient nor safe since he started attempting to climb over it.

So I did what I always do when I can't find what I want or for the right price in stores--I built my own baby gate!

These are the materials I used for my 48" wide gate. I spent about $30 total, but I could have cut that in half if I went with furring strips as opposed to primed MDF. I totally splurged though!

3 8ft 1x2 primed MDF
1 8ft 1x4 primed MDF
2 gate hinges
1 gate latch

Ok. So here is the short and sweet version.

I started by cutting the 1x4 in half so that I had two 48" pieces.

I then cut each 1x2 at 32" so that I could get three bars from each piece. I laid one on each end of the 1x4s to create a square like so.

I then laid out the other bars as evenly spaced and straight as I could. I just eyeballed it but I'm pretty impressed with how perfect it looks.

Once they were all set, I took a piece of chalk and ran it along one side of each so that I would be able to place them back in the right spots.

I applied a small amount of liquid nails to the back of each 1x2 and placed them back down according to the chalk lines.

In this picture I tried applying the glue to the 1x4, but I found that it was a lot less messy to put it on the 1x2s instead.

I let it sit overnight and bam--our gate was ready to go!

Remember how I said that was the short and sweet version? What should have only took about 15 minutes to do, actually took me an hour or so.

My first problem is that I started with nails, which completely weren't holding. I also started by laying my first 1X2 at one end, the next one 3 inches down, and another one 3 inches down, and so on...

This caused two problems--first, I probably wasn't going to end up with an evenly spaced slat by the time I got to the end and I was also ending up with a very crooked rectangle.

It's a good thing the nails didn't really hold because I tore them out and that's when I started with a 1x2 on each end to make a perfect rectangle.

I tried to use screws instead of the nails, but they weren't getting my pieces to sit perfectly flush together.

That's when I decided, liquid nails all the way!

Anyways...let's get back on track! We used a stud finder and marked where the stud was.

The hubby then marked and drilled the gate hinges first to the gate, then to the wall.

Because of where the stud landed, our gate was just a teensy too far back from where our latch would be installed, so I cut out a small piece of the MDF and screwed it to the banister.

After two coats of paint we had a beautiful and safe gate up!

Here's what it looks like from the back.

I'm really glad I splurged on the MDF, I love how crisp and clean it looks. It also really blends with our staircase nicely.

The hinges and latch came in chrome and I spray painted them white. But when we got them installed I realized that the color was still quite different than the rest of the gate.

So when I was painting the gate I went over these too. Since they were already spray painted white, it only took two quick coats to make them blend nicely.

I'm so happy that we now have a much more convenient and aesthetically pleasing solution to keep the little bean from climbing the stairs.

Linking up to these awesome parties!

This post was featured on the Before and After Party and Winter Blues Wednesday! Click on the images below to take you to the feature posts.

Before and After Party

Winter Blues Wednesday


  1. Looks great Angela! I love custom ones.. so much better than the cheap looking plastic ones!

  2. What a great idea. I remember when we used a baby gate. Wish I had seen this back then. We lived with the ugly cheap ones. I will be featuring this tonight at my Winter Blues Wednesday party. Please stop by and pick up an I've Been Featured button. Thanks.

  3. It's definitely a blessing that the cheapo ones didn't come in a big enough size for me or else I may not have done this! Thanks for the feature--I am truly honored!!

  4. Well done! Inspires me to the possibility of building a doggie gate on our front porch.

  5. Thank you! I think this would work great as a doggie gate :)

  6. Oh man, I wish I had thought of building one back when we moved into our house. Ours is an eyesore! Awesome idea!

    1. Thanks Samantha! If I had found one in the store that fit I would never even have thought of this, but I'm glad I did :)

  7. I just finished building this beautiful gate at the top of our stairs. I used all your instructions and list of supplies. It turned out so well. Thank you! Thank you for sharing!!!!


I appreciate all of your wonderful comments :)