Invisible Baby Gate

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Introduction: Invisible Baby Gate

Architect, Urban Designer, all-round tinkerer of odds and ends. Small solutions for big city livi...

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

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    57 Discussions

    I think this is a great construction project, and it's perfectly fine without being marred by decals or other nonsense. Glass railing with metal edging is a perfectly acceptable and visible handrail system in the United States in does often include gates very similar to the one you have built there. It's a great solution for integrating a practical feature into your home that looks like it belongs there. Thanks for sharing.

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    ucn

    11 months ago

    Wow, I never would have thought that this mini project would win a prize. Thanks to everyone who voted on it! Maybe the judges looked at my paltry collection of handheld tools and decided I needed some proper stuff!

    P.S. I could see a lot of pranks happening here. hahaha

    Great concept but re the ivisible side of thin gs that can create danger as well for a unknowing visitors to the residence I'd be looking foe a fosted glass or evenbetter perspex even a nice faux a stained glass decal effect....

    5 replies

    I was confused at first too. It's "invisible" when it's open in that it blends in with the already existing window. When it's closed it's pretty clearly there with the border. It's not at the top of the stairs, it's at the top and to the right, blocking off that room. there's no gate coming from the left of the stairs.

    yes but just my idea and few others also yo could add a frosted lines or dots as they do in public building to prevent visiting friends missing it and crashing into it ;)

    When the door is shut and in a position where it would be remotely possible to walk into it, it's *very* visible. I has a thick metal bar around it, it looks like there's no door and the wall just continues. Look at the 4th and 6th pictures in the final step. It's "invisible" when it's open because blends in with the window and at that point it would be impossible to walk into it. There's nothing to walk into...

    Yeah sorry for the confusion. Lemme see if I can make the text clearer.

    I think the text was pretty clear, but I know I don't always read these exhaustively and kinda skim through the pictures to get the gist. You blended the gate in with the window so well I honestly didn't see it and was trying to figure out if maybe it was some sort of "before/after" picture but then the gate wasn't invisible.. when I figured it out I felt pretty silly. Really cool work!

    Very nice! I do not see how being transparent is a risk. The normal barrier below the railing is transparent, and the closed gate looks like an extension to the top railing. The open gate is essentially invisible. Nice job.

    Nice till the stickers cover it all and then it's a family home! Nice new parents touch with the clear plate and design.

    I made a similar one to keep the puppy out of the basement. I made dado cuts in the frame to insert the plexi-glass (trying to drill holes in the plexi-glass may crack the plastic). It works great, and looks and works better than a store bought baby gate. Mine has a simple swinging latch made out of a piece of scrap wood and a bolt and nut to keep it closed. The latch swings onto one side of the banister post.

    This could also work as a gate for a small dog.

    I like the idea. As for the concerns of people for the acrylic, would it not be possible to etch a nice design on the acrylic, or even use glass paint to give a stained glass look too. Therefore it would not be perfectly clear and those who may not notice, will still see and it will also be a piece of artistic accomplishment as well.....I can see, depending on the location of the stairs, a stained glass unicorn/fish/plants or even a lovely lacey etched boarder around the glass leaving it still somewhat transparent (and leaving the original view 'framed')...

    1 reply

    Could even do a defused vinyl. Yes it will make it harder to see out the window when not in use but will not lessen the light coming in. But it will make it clearly visible to those only paying half attention due to maybe looking at a cell phone.

    Just an additional idea. If you wanted to extend the child's range of crawling, the gate could be made so it could have a dual use by making it fit both the way you have it and also make it useful for blocking the stairs, so that the child would have access to the opposite hall. However, I do not know what is down there, so I do not know if the child should be there. I love your gate idea and the fact it is wide and not narrow if you have a premade gate that allows a narrow opening. However, you need to put some decals or flowers on your gate to show it is being used or not for the safety of your baby before you let him down.

    1 reply

    Aw man, I was looking for a diy gate for an invisible baby... whatever, I ended up reading it through anyway and it's a really nice gate. I'm thinking a see-through gate with an invisible baby isn't gonna work, but it's cool.

    1 reply

    Babies'R'us were fresh out of invisible babies, I'm afraid.