Cage the Beast (or, “make your own baby gate tutorial”)

Lately 2.0 has garnered the new nickname of “beast”. Perhaps “Juggernaut” would be more appropriate, but “beast” is easier to say, and it rolls off the tongue more quickly when calling out to a child who scales wide open stairs with reckless abandon. He’s unstoppable. Last week Captain Laser Pants and I were standing in the kitchen while he played by our feet. We talked over coffee, saw him walk off, and thought nothing of it. Ten seconds later we heard an unmistakable rattle of the baby gate at the top of the stairs. He went from kitchen to playroom in less than twenty seconds.

The gate at the top of the stairs is built to withstand some shaking, kicking, and general toddler/ child interaction. It has a lock/ lift mechanism that requires some mental faculties that a baby doesn’t typically possess. It’s between two walls of sheet rock at the top of the stairs, and it works well for its place. However, at the base of the stairs, it would destroy the wood balusters.  Enter the PVC and fabric baby gate idea.

A few years ago I saw this idea on Sew Many Ways but I never had need to make one of my own with Mini Gwinn. Then 2.0, excuse me, the beast, came along, and he is nigh unstoppable, and something had to be done.

PVC measured and cut with 4 90 degree elbows

PVC measured and cut with 4 90 degree elbows

I went to Home Depot and gathered supplies I didn’t already have on hand. I bought two 10 foot PVC pipes, 3/4 in, and asked a nice employee to cut them in half for me. I also bought 4 90 degree elbows and 4 small carabiner clips. The total cost was something like $11.46.

Once 2.0 went down for a nap, I measured the height and width of our staircase and cut the pipe down with a mitre saw in a mitre box. The pipes aren’t perfectly identical, which is ok, because the elbows add some safety in the measurement. I ended up with a gate size that’s just about equal in width as the staircase.

Hot gluing fabric to the pipe

Hot gluing fabric to the pipe

For this there are two options, one is making a slip cover or envelope style of fabric, and the other is what I did, which is just gluing the fabric directly to the PVC piping. On the Sew Many Ways tutorial, she sews a slip cover. Since I don’t sew, my way worked just fine for me and didn’t require an insane amount of accuracy. The fabric I used here was a torn bed sheet that I was saving for a project (always finding a way to re-purpose stuff to save cash, heh) like this one. I covered both sides to give it a bit more substance (because I forgot a middle bar and a T joint, oops).

Basic gate finished

Basic gate finished

At this point I could have been done with a basic gate. I probably should have ironed the sheet. Whatever. Mini Gwinn is demonstrating the height, which I like a lot. But, because complexity is one of my seventeen middle names, I added a few more steps to jazz it up a bit and to add more security in case the beast figures out he can slide it out the side of the iron spindles.

The clips and grosgrain ribbon, with key rings

The clips and grosgrain ribbon, with key rings

clever, eh?

clever, eh?

On the back of the four corners I attached grosgrain ribbon with a key ring. The key rings attach to the carabiner clips, which in turn attach to the iron spindles for some extra insurance.

Bad quality, idea comes across though

Bad quality, idea comes across though

So to make this just a little prettier than an old bed sheet, I used some left over fabric I had from making our kitchen curtain. Gambit decided he needed to take a nap on it while I was gluing the edges. Thanks, bud.

Gambit isn't bright.

Gambit isn’t bright.

He was super into helping me. And by helping I mean asking me why he couldn't sit on my lap while using a hot glue gun.

He was super into helping me. And by helping I mean asking me why he couldn’t sit on my lap while using a hot glue gun.

I’m pleased enough with the end result, considering it took about an hour and fifteen minutes from start to finish. Let’s see how 2.0/ beastie handles it when he wakes up from his nap and gets veto-ed when he tries to go upstairs solo!

finished product, ta da!

finished product, ta da!

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About mombieconfessions

I am a sarcastic mom, tried and true INTJ, my DISC profile has a high D and C with low I and S, and I'm a quirky geek (love me some Star Wars, BSG, Firefly, Dr, Who and comic books!). When I grow up I want to be an Amazon warrior with super powers and an awesome costume. Music and literature are passions, cooking and baking are hobbies, and writing a blog (such as this one) is both a cathartic release and documentation of the growth of my family and myself. View all posts by mombieconfessions

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