Pirate-Themed Stair Gate and Window Covers




Introduction: Pirate-Themed Stair Gate and Window Covers

About: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to learn …

Our home has windows that open at floor level, and accesible stairs. Adding a gate at the top of the stairs and covering the windows makes it kid-safe; designing it with Because We Can makes it cool.

Step 1: Before Pictures

Here are some before pictures. Not only are these before installing the covers and gate, they are before we ripped out the nasty carpet and cigarette-smoke-filled drapes.

Note how the windows open at floor level over a two-story drop -- perfect for crawling right out! Similarly, the spacing of the railing over the stairs is approximately 10% larger than a baby head.

Step 2: Gate Design

Functional design: Prevent a toddler from going down the stairs; make it easy for an adult to open and close.

Aesthetic design: We call our home the Isle of Tortuga, so wanted a nautical theme with pirate ships, wind, waves, sea life, and buried treasure.

The gate will be painted to match our walls (Benjamin Moore, Midnight Navy; the walls in that area are all flat, with about 3 thick coats for extra-dark, light-sucking fun; the upper walls are Lighthouse; trim is Milky Way), and the designs cut through the painted surface exposing the blonde wood underneath.

Some of the pirate ship images came from a scan of an old wood-cut project book.

Step 3: Window Cover Design

Functional design: Allow airflow from open windows. Survive a crash from a full-speed toddler. Discourage climbing.

Aesthetic design: We call our home the Isle of Tortuga, so wanted a nautical theme with pirate ships, wind, waves, sea life, and buried treasure.

After agreeing on the theme, we made the design "denser" to ensure toddler-impact resistance. Jeffery even made a model of a baby head, and placed it throughout the design to ensure no baby heads could get stuck anywhere!

The attached PDF is clean version of the design, should you want to use any of the imagery yourself.

Step 4: Making the Panels

The panels are europly from Columbia Forest Products. First they were painted, and then they were cut by a ShotBot.

The images show the ShopBot in action at Because We Can cutting some other panels.

Step 5: Finished Gate

Here's the finished gate, and Corvidae exploring the pirate ship. It is installed with bolts through the metal railing and screws to the post.

Note the octopus cruising around the corner.

Step 6: Finished Window Covers

Here are the finished window covers. They are installed with screws into the studs between the windows, which forms a gap between the covers and the windows. The shades can still be drawn all the way down between the windows and the covers.

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    I saw this, and thought of course these guys would do something way cool! Your sweet little jelly bean is getting tall. I still remember seeing pictures of her in a sling on mommys shoulders. Wish we were neighbours :0)


    Fellow ME here. First of all thanks for all the inspiring designs; I love all your fun projects. Second, I downloaded this PDF to make these panels with my CNC for our windows on Halloween. We are having a Pirate themed party this weekend. But the PDF seems to be the more intricate one, and we'd like the cleaner one. Would you be willing to send the vectors of the cleaner version to me? Thanks!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Oh, my word, hasn't she grown?

    That is a cool screen - I especially like the window section. You could carry the theme across other windows or mirrors with one of those glass-frosting sprays.

    (I'm still ahead, by the way...)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is so my style but I didn't know anything like this could really be done on such a sturdy scale. It's amazing and 'Because we can' looks amazing too - just a question though - why no tortugas?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    The light and shadows compliment the room flawlessly. Well done.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wow Eric, this is really cool! Like to see your design process.