DIY Baby Gate

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About: My name is Mitch. I make videos about the things I make and what I learn along the way. I have a Youtube Channel called Made by Mitch. I also love the coffee and the outdoors.

My son has just recently started to crawl. We have a split level entry home and he has started to find interest in the stairs. This means it was time to put up a baby gate. I wanted to make one instead of buy one for a few reasons. 1) It is cheaper 2) It looks way better 3) I love having an excuse to make something. The gate we chose to make was extremely simple. We only needed a few pieces of lumber, screws, a couple hinges, and a latch and we were in business. The purchase details and tools I used are all below. You can check out the exactly what I did to make this gate in my video on YouTube.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

MATERIALS

  • (3) 1x4x8
  • 1 1/4″ wood screws
  • Outdoor Gate latch 2 black door hinges
  • Minwax Dark Walnut stain
  • Spray Shellac

TOOLS

  • Circular Saw
  • Drill and impact driver
  • Level
  • Speed Square
  • Titebond ii wood glue

Step 2: Measure the Space and Cut the Boards

This is a simple gate that you could change and customize to work for your space. The first thing I needed to do was measure the space that the gate would be installed. I wanted it to fit a certain way. Determine how tall you want it, how wide the space is, and which way you want the gate to swing. I will say that if you have a gate at the top of a set of stairs, you may not want the gate to swing towards the steps, especially with kids. If the gate would swing open over the steps and it was a baby, it would be bad. Think through all of this and give yourself a bit of a plan to know how to make your cuts.

After you have the overall size of the gate established, you can cut all your boards. This is very easy for this project. You will just need two horizontal boards and six vertical boards. My gate was 32” wide and 29” tall. For the repeat cuts, I used one of the boards as a template so all the boards would be cut the same size and I didn't have to keep measuring each one.

Step 3: Assemble the Gate

You can now layout the gate for assembly. Depending on how wide your gate is will determine how far apart your boards need to be spaced. Mine were spaced roughly 2.5 inches apart. What i did to find the spacing is find the centerline of the horizontal board and measure out from the center each way so I knew it was even. After everything is spaced, pre drill and add screws at where the boards overlap. I screwed in from each side of the gate with 1 ¼ inch screws. Make sure when you do this you are using a square so your boards don’t start to get out of alignment.

Step 4: Sand, Stain, and Finish

Once the gate was assembled, I took it to the steps where I would be hanging it just to be sure all my measurements were correct, then I sanded the gate with a random orbital sander but to 220 grit. I then applied one coat of Dark Walnut stain from Minwax. After that dried I applied two coats of spray shellac.

One thing I did that I did not mention was I cut and finished two extra boards to hand the gate with.

Step 5: Install the Gate

I am sure each situation might be a little different when it comes to installing the gate. It depends on where, what you have to fasted to, and the size of your particular gate. For mine, I attached the two extra boards to the wall. On these boards I would attach the hinges to hang the gate. The first board I attached, I had to cut off to account for the trim. To do this I just set the board where it would be and marked what I needed to cut off.

After these boards were up, I used a straight edge to hang the hinges making sure they were level and spaced how I wanted them. I attached the hinges to the wall first. I then added a board under the gate to lift it off the ground ¾” and then attached the hinges to the gate.

Once the gate was hanging I could install the latch for the gate. I added a small piece of board to the gate where I attached part of the latch to. I did this so the gate would be in the correct position and close properly. Again, this is something you have to consider for your situation. I attached the other part of the latch to the corner post of the stair rail. After doing this the gate was complete.

Step 6: Finished!

Thank for checking this out. I hope it is useful for you. Check out the video to see me during this whole process of building this.

You can follow me around the web.

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You can also find me on YouTube along with many other projects.

My Website (madebymitch.net)

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    22 Discussions

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    MarkSindone

    24 days ago on Introduction

    You would think that it would be easy enough to keep the kids in one area of the house without having them wander everywhere getting into all sorts of mischief but hey, kids do the darnedest things! Anyway, after a little while, they'll devise some tricks and things to get over that baby gate, you just wait and see!

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    GLKcplpapa

    6 months ago

    Mitch, just when I needed a plan, I see yours!! Excellent. I need to make one for my lower level door to the garage so we can get in and out of the house without worrying about our 2 cats zooming past us to who-knows-where if the garage door should be open. Thank you.

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    mtieleman

    6 months ago

    Nice gate. One minor piece of constructive criticism though, just minor: The woodgrain on the scrap piece you used for the latch is going vertical, which won't stand up to a lot of shear force and has a risk of breaking. If you mount it with the grain going horizontal the grain will absorb those forces differently. There won't be shear forces acting on the scrap piece, but bending forces. It will be a lot stronger with a lot less chance of breaking when something heavy leans against it.

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    Madebymitchmtieleman

    Reply 6 months ago

    Hey mtieleman! I really appreciate you pointing that I because to be honest, I never really thought about it or knew it would come into play as an issue. It makes total sense. I will be on the lookout to consider grain direction in the future with projects for sure. Thanks again!

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    buildandsewandstuff

    7 months ago

    This is a great looking gate, and very functional. I would suggest that you get a latch that can't be opened by a child, because in just a little while, that baby will be able to stand and open it. Also expect him to climb onto it and hold the top and shake. So I would recommend 2 latches, one at the top and one at the bottom, to keep him safe. There are strict rules for commercially made gates intended for the top of stairs, so you want to be at least as safe as that. Bless your beautiful family!

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    Madebymitchbuildandsewandstuff

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thank you for the comment! Yes we have to put a pin in the latch so it wont open because he has figured out how to open it. It didn't take long. That is a great idea about adding a second latch. I have considered this in the past and may end up adding it soon. Thank you very much!

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    EnergyHandyman

    7 months ago

    Great job on this instructible! I really don’t like the hardware used for the latch. Mainly because you could poke somebody’s eye out, but the rule with stairwell gates is “all gates swing downstairs”. This gate, with this setup is in the way unless it is latched, right? What you need is an extension for the newel post, that makes it so that you can use a barrel-bolt but it’s on the stairway side, invisible to your son. Most importantly, when the door flings open there’s not there’s plenty metal thing sticking out.

    2 replies
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    EnergyHandymanEnergyHandyman

    Reply 7 months ago

    *pointy.

    The barrel bolt allows it to swing both ways improving the flow of traffic.

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    MadebymitchEnergyHandyman

    Reply 7 months ago

    Hey EnergyHandyman! Great thoughts. Thanks for your input on the gate. Yes the latch is a bit hefty it does work well though. I intentionally tried to get the gate to not swing towards the stairs mainly because I didn't want anyone to fall into the gate down the steps. It would have been nice to have the gate swing both ways if the latch had been hidden. Thanks for the feedback! I appreciate the comment.

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    LadyPP

    Question 7 months ago on Step 6

    As I saw your project, I was wondering if that could be used in making a dog gate, so one's dog doesn't go from place to another and get injured for one reason or another? Thanks.

    2 more answers
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    MadebymitchLadyPP

    Answer 7 months ago

    Hey LadyPP. We have a small dog and this gate works great for her also. When ever someone comes in our front door, the gate keeps her back from the stairs so our guests can come inside without a small dog attack. :) Friendly attack that is.. hope this helps.

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    spark master

    7 months ago on Step 6

    Amazing, finally a baby gate that does not look ugly! While not good enough for the front door to the manor it certainly looks good enough and solid enough to keep the heirs to estate from a lethal tumble, and scruffy dogs as well! And as another mentioned one might wish to use the spacing found on commercial units so as NOT to have a kid strangle themselves whilste trying to fall down the stairs, eeaakk!

    Still a great job and swankier then the plastic devices sold at a store near you!

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    Madebymitchspark master

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thank you spark master! We enjoy it more than the plastic ones for sure!

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    jatkins729

    7 months ago

    Nice project and needed, too, for a growing family. I made two dog gates out of standard lumber and later combined them into a dog “jail” for when we are out or at night. He likes it — his own place. Also, no problem with your design, but you might emphasize that all openings, including around the perimeter must be smaller than a baby’s (or dog’s) head. Strangulation danger, as with old cribs. Good job!

    IMG_1538.jpg
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    Madebymitchjatkins729

    Reply 7 months ago

    I'm loving the dog jail. haha. Great work. And yes, that is a great thought with emphasizing the openings. Thank you for the comment!

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    aCuriousCreator

    8 months ago

    Thats really cool! Looks way better than those plastic ones you buy. Great job :)

    1 reply