Introduction: Invisible Baby Gate

About: Architect, Urban Designer, all-round tinkerer of odds and ends. Small solutions for big city living. Dreaming of lands faraway where garages are big enough to build a workshop in, or lakes are there for taking…

A gate for invisible babies? Or a safety gate for the overly design-conscious? You decide.

Here's how I made a transparent child safety gate using timber and acrylic.

(It's very VISIBLE when the gate is closed, i.e. 'in place', as there is a 2" grey timber frame all round. It basically becomes an extension of the steel railing. It's only meant to disappear when the gate is OPEN, by blending into the grey window frame.)

Tools list:
Mitre Saw (Chop Saw)
2 Drills (One for pilot holes and one to drive screws with)

Step 1: Don't Ruin the House!

I mean, I love my kid and all... but I'm not about to ruin my view for him. With openings on two sides and glass windows to the front, how on earth was I gonna fence in the little tot?

I wanted a child safety gate that would be unobtrusive, yet secure. And ultimately removable as well, without leaving any drilled holes in the aluminium window frames nor the stainless steel handrail.

Step 2: Build a Hinged Frame

I won't put any measurements here since this would vary to fit each individual house.

I just built two frames out of nominal 1"x2" lumber (Nyatoh, a local hardwood) with simple butt joints fixed with wood screws. Nothing fancy. These frames aren't super sturdy by themselves, but by adding a 3mm acrylic (perspex) sheet, the acrylic acts as a brace to keep everything square. I just screwed on the acrylic sheet all round to the timber frame at about 15cm(6") intervals.

The inner gate panel was hinged to the outer panel so that the two frames nested one within the other. And I added a magnetic catch so that the gate would stay put in the open position.

All the frames were spray painted a deep grey to match my existing window frames.

Step 3: Installing the Gate Frame

The bottom bar of the outer frame was screwed into the brick kerb at the bottom of the window. I used wall anchors to make sure it was well fastened.

The top of the frame was extended to hook around the edge of the aluminium window frame with a piece of cut-out timber. This held the frame rigidly without needing screws into the aluminium.

Step 4: Make a Latch Panel

The gate needed a latch, but there was no where to latch it to! I joined two 1"X2" pieces into a nominal 1"x4" panel. This was spray painted, then drilled to accommodate zip ties to attach it to the stainless steel railing post.

I put some felt padding between the timber pieces and all existing finishes to avoid scratching the finishes over time as the gate is used.

Finally I added a sliding bolt on the gate.

Step 5: Finished Gate

I'm quite happy with how this turned out! (And, most importantly, so is the wife)

The gate practically vanishes when it is not in use. There is no difference in the view or the amount of light coming through, and there are no cage bars turning our house into a prison.

I just need to add one more latch around mid-height for better security, and it should be pretty much ready for abuse!

Home Improvement Contest 2017

First Prize in the
Home Improvement Contest 2017