Baby Gate

Our kids both LOVE going into the loft,  but it’s not safe with the long, wood steps and concrete at the bottom, not to mention the pipe railing that makes a perfect ladder.  So we needed something to keep them downstairs.  A baby gate would be the logical choice.  But I didn’t want to buy a plastic or cheap wood gate.  It would be neither aesthetically pleasing or worth the money.  So I set out to make one.  My challenge was to keep it cheap since I could have purchased a baby-gate on craigslist for $5-10; I didn’t want this to cost more.  Here is my process…


1. Search the junk/woodpile on the barn’s property and found a bunch of old (have probably been out there since 1994 when the barn was turned into a house) tongue and groove boards.

2. Scraped dirt off with a wire brush

4. Measure and cut to size using our electric miter saw. Help from 18 month-daughter with measuring.


5. Glue the boards together using weights, bins, and the side of the house to keep everything in place. (A Sawdust and Paper Scraps trick!!)


6. Husband helped me by zipping one board to size. (I would probably have done it myself it my dad hadn’t taken off all the safety parts to it)

7. Sanded the entire door to help prevent splinters and to get down to some of the “brownish” (as opposed to weathered grey) color of the wood.

8. Husband helped me screw the cross boards in. I held them, he screwed them in.

9. We bought a couple hinges, but then I found 2 packaged hinges and 1 latch in the “junk” drawer that I cleaned out of the new house.. WHAT LUCK!!!  (no cost!!) These hinges actually hold the door on. Not the same as the ones mentioned below.


10. Husband helped me install the gate since it was a two person job.  Again, I held it in place and he screwed it in. 

THE “OLD” HINGES:  This has to be my favorite part!  I wanted old rusty hinges to give the gate an “authentic” feel.  But they cost too much. (Starting at $10 apiece)  So again, I made my own. These are purely for looks.

1. Found some wooden paint stir sticks and used my exacto knife to cut them into a hinge-like shape.

2. Sanded

3. Hot glued on some plastic screw covers. I found these in the tool box.  I wasn’t sure if the metal or plastic thingies would work best.  I opted for plastic since they had more of a bolt look.  I actually broke one trying to hammer it in, but I glued it together and it just made it look more “rusty” and aged after I painted it.  Thankfully I had exactly 6 thingies.

4. Painted everything using a combination of black, gold, and brownish-red acrylic paints from craft store.  This was the only cost… about $.80 each bottle.


5. Hot glue the “old hinges” onto the gate.

For a cost of about $3; I love it! It’s a Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse success!


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8 Responses to Baby Gate

  1. Amy says:

    Fabulous job!

  2. Heather says:

    Great job! Isn’t it awesome when you can make something for just about free and love it more than a professional made and paid for thing? Is this your first post, or am I missing somthing? I was wanting to look at all you have done!

  3. Diane says:

    Using paint sticks for hinges was genius! Years ago I made fake hinges for my kitchen cabinets out of balsa wood, hammered lightly with the round end of a ball pein hammer and painted black. Nobody could believe they weren’t real.

  4. Pamela says:

    Too too cute!! Love this idea!

  5. Elaine says:

    Very very cool!! I wish I had a junk pile of treasures to hunt through like that. Love the hinges you made, what a clever idea, and they look so real. Great job.

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