I remember when Willow, my six years old daughter started crawling. It was scary because we live in a house with a cathedral entry. And at that point she was interested in the stairs. My wife was always complaining that she would fall or something, I didn’t pay attention till I saw her struggling with the stairs and I was scared that she would fall. At that point, I decided that it was time to get baby gates. I wanted to make one because the one my wife loved was more expensive, making mine just sounded better in my ears and well, it is also an excuse to make something. The gate I chose was very simple. You can tweak it however you want and customize it for your space. We only used few pieces of wood, screws, a couple hinges, and a latch and we were game. Installing the gate made me secure that my sweet little baby was safe. It also created a closed space where she could play and also learn.
You can keep scrolling to find out how I made it.
1 1/4″ wood screws
Outdoor Gate latch
2 black door hinges
Minwax Dark Walnut stain
Drill and impact driver
Measure The Space
First things first, I had to measure the space where the gate would stay. I also had to determine how tall I wanted it to be. I checked how wide the space was and I had to decide the direction I wanted it to swing. You see, you may not want the gate to swing towards the steps, especially with kids because if the gate swings open over the steps and it was a baby, it would be very bad. These are some of the decisions you have to make before you even think of cutting. This should help you with a plan to make your cuts.
Cut The Boards
The moment you have the size of your gate established, then everything is simpler. It would be very easy for you to cut your boards for this project. To do this, you need two horizontal boards and six vertical boards. The gate I made for Willow was 32” wide and 29” tall. For safety reasons, your gate should be at least three quarters of your child’s height.
For the repeat cuts, I used one of the boards as a template so that all the boards would be cut into the same size and I would not have to keep measuring each one of them.
Assemble the Gate
After you cut, you can lay down the gate for assembly. The width of your gate is a determining factor in how far apart you want it to be spaced. I spaced mine with about 2.5 inches. I found the spacing, by finding the centerline of the horizontal board, Then I measured out from each center way. That way, I could tell that it was even. After the spacing, the next step is to pre drill and add screws at the point where the boards overlap. Start screwing
from each side of the gate with 1 ¼ inch screws. Ensure that you are using squares so that your boards are still in mind with the measurement.
Sand, Stain, And Finish
After assembling the gate, check the measurement to see that they are aligned. If they are correctly aligned with what you have done, then it is time to sand. Sand to 220 grit with random orbital sander. After sanding, it is time to stain. I used a coat of dark walnut stain then I left it to dry. After it dried, I applied two coats of spray shellac. Oh! I forgot to mention this, I also cut and finished two extra boards to hand the gate with.
Install The Gate
Depending on where you want to fasten the gate, it could be different when installing a gate. I had to fasten the one I made for Willow on two extra boards which I had to attach to the wall. It was on these boards that I kept the hinges. I had to cut off the first board to allow for the trim. I just put the boards where I wanted it to be and marked the parts I didn’t need then I cut it off. After I hung the boards for he wall, I used a straight ruler to hang the hinges. I ensured that they were, they were level and spaced, just how I wanted them. I first attached the hinges to the wall then then added a board under the gate to lift it off the ground 3/4” and then attached the hinges to the gate.
Since the gate was hanging, I could install a latch to it. I added a small board to the gate where I wanted my latch to be. I did this so that my gate would be in the perfect position and so it would also close properly. I attached the other part of the latch to the corner post of the stair rail. Like I said earlier you have to consider where you want to fasten the gate on. After you are done with this the gate was done, there, the perfect baby gate for your child. Yes, it was perfect for Willow. When the twins came along, all I had to do was to check if it was still firm then work on maintaining it, see it is very cost effective.
For child security reasons, check that your gate is firm and study. Ensure that it does not float under a step as it could create enough space for a child to slip through. Subsequently, always check the gate for splinters, so they do not injure your child’s hand. Please note that baby gates do not automatically mean safety, do not leave your child unsupervised, especially in areas that could be dangerous to them.