I don’t know about you, but I’m a big sucker for a Chinese Chippendale pattern. So when my hubby and I started discussing baby gates and realized none of our past gates were quite up to par, I started thinking of a stylish DIY. With our two older kids, we had used a pressure mounted step through baby gate, and I loved it but it didn’t work well with the banister on our stairs. We needed something that wouldn’t constantly be falling down against the railing and that would be simple for our seven-year-old daughter to use. So I turned to my resource for everything DIY, Pinterest. I found several great Chippendale railing tutorials, as well as a few DIY baby gates, so we combined what we learned to create our own DIY baby gate.
Editor’s Note: This is a DIY project, with room for human error, and should not be considered a baby safety gate. It should only be used in areas of the house where your little ones will be supervised. Think of it as a decorative way to slow kids down from going up the stairs without your permission. This gate should never be used at the top of stairs. Kids should not be allowed to stand, swing or climb on the gate.
Materials: measuring tape, miter saw, 2″ x 2″ wood boards (this is for the frame—we used about 13 feet), 1″ x 2″ wood boards (this is for the pattern—we used about 26 feet), nails, wood glue, sand paper, spray paint (we prefer one with primer included in it), hinges (2), lock, drill and screws (for installation)
Measuring the opening. Our stairwell is 39″ wide, so we designed our gate to be 1/4″ smaller in width at 38.75″ x 38.75″. Making the gate a square shape kept measuring simple. Note that an average doorway is only around 30″ wide—if your opening is on the skinnier side, you can always mount your gate slightly higher so it will be tall enough.
Building the frame. We cut the first two pieces of our 2″ x 2″ wood boards to the width of our opening minus 1/4″ and cut two more pieces to be 4″ shorter than than first two. The longer pieces were the top and bottom of the frame, and the shorter pieces stretched between them to create our square frame. Nail or screw them together.
Creating the Chippendale pattern. To begin the pattern, we placed two boards diagonally from the top corners of the frame to the opposite bottom corners to create an X, as shown below. The simplest way to get the perfect fit was to pre-cut our board a few inches longer than the place where the board was going to be used. We measured along one of the diagonal boards and marked the points where they overlap and cut away one of the boards where it crossed the other board at the midpoint. Holding the boards in place, we marked them to determine the angles and lengths. We cut and then installed the boards to create an X within our frame.
Making the spindles. We measured each half of the X we just created and divided to have even spacing between spindles. To make these spindles, we pre-cut the boards longer than we needed them to be and held them in place to measure and mark the fit, just like we did before. The length of each of these boards is correct when they are exactly parallel to the large X and evenly spaced out. We attached it with nails/screws where it’s possible and a generous amout of wood glue where it wasn’t. We repeated this process until each section was complete.
Looking at a photo of a Chippendale railing while we were working help us get the pattern right. Ours seemed to get a little off, but overall we were happy with it.
Finishing the gate. Once our pattern was complete and everything was nailed/screwed or glued together, we lightly sanded and spray painted our gate.
Installation. Once the paint was dry, we were ready to install! We installed the gate onto our wall with a drill and screws using simple hinges on one side and a gate lock on the opposite side, making sure the gate would swing open away from the stairs.
We ended up switching to a different lock style than we initially picked out, so we added a small piece of wood to our gate to accommodate it.
We spent less than $50 to build our DIY baby gate. In all honesty, our gate didn’t turn out perfect. Some of our spacing was off, so it’s not all evenly spaced for that perfect Chippendale pattern, but we’ve still gotten a ton of compliments on it. And most importantly, it does its job and keeps the little ones from charging up the stairs, all while looking stylish!