Are you trying to raise a baby without breaking the bank? You've probably seen several different baby play gym options at the local baby store ranging in price from $20 to $80. This instructable will show you how to make one out of readily available materials for about $5, not counting the toys you hang from it. You can make those too, of course!
Step 1: Materials
- 8 feet of 1/2 inch diameter PVC pipe
- 2 PVC "elbows" and 2 "T's"
- 2 foam "fun noodle" pool toys. The flower shaped ones are good, but the standard round ones are OK too. Make sure they are *hollow.*
- About a yard of ribbon
You will also need the following tools:
- Either a hacksaw and vice or strong assistant to hold the pipe
- special-purpose PVC pipe cutting tool like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Duty-Ratcheting-Pipe-Hose-Cutter/dp/B0002SQ6P8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1246075579&sr=8-3
- A serrated knife, such as a steak knife
Step 2: Cut the PVC Pipe and Foam
- 1 2 foot piece
- 2 18 inch pieces
- 4 9 inch pieces (if you are out of pipe, these could be 6 inches)
- 1 26 inch piece, with a 45 degree angle at each end such that the top of the piece is 26 inches and the bottom is 24.
- 2 19 inch pieces, with one end cut at a 45 degree angle such that the outside edge is 19 inch and the inside edge is 18 inches
- 4 10 inch pieces, with the bottom "petal" removed
For the "foot" coverings, you'll need to cut a 2 inch or so slit into the top of the foam on one end so it can slide around the T joint and under the foam on the 18 inch riser. Make sure this is on the side of the foam where you did Not remove the extra petal, and that the cut does not go all the way through.
Step 3: Assemble
- Slide the foam pieces onto the matching PVC pieces. This takes both some muscle and some finesse to avoid crushing your 45 degree angles.
- Attach the two elbow joints to either end of the 2 ft cross piece.
- Attach the 18 inch risers to each of the elbows
- Attach the T joints to the bottom of the risers
- Slide the four 9 inch "feet" into the ends of the T joints
- Adjust the foam covering as necessary.
- If desired, glue all joints and the foam. I didn't because I wanted to be able to disassemble the toy for storage.
- Tie 3 or 4 lengths of ribbon around the cross-piece. If you are using the flower-shaped foam noodles it will be difficult to get the ribbon too tight, but make sure there's about a finger-width of space in your loop
Step 4: Complete
- Hang several toys from the ribbon loops (using plastic links from the toy section at Target if the toys don't have clips built in.)
- After testing all joints for stability, place the whole contraption on the floor over a blanket and add a small child to the mix. Congratulate yourself for making something just as good as the toy store and saving at least $15 in the bargain.