You guys. I got a chop saw! It was my Valentine’s Day present (ha!), & I LOVE IT. I used to saw my wood by hand (not fun) or go to Lowe’s with my meticulous cut list, hoping I wouldn’t need to make any adjustments along the way. Now that I have my own way to cut wood I have soooo many projects in mind! But first things first. Today we’re talking about how to build a baby gate. I love, love, LOVE how our custom baby gates came out, & anyone with small kiddos knows the importance of a good baby gate.
I love how you can make these for any space & customize them to match your home. We have a really wide hallway & a normal baby gate won’t fit, so this was the perfect option for us. I made a total of 4 gates for our house– 2 for the stairs (top & bottom), and 2 to block off our family room. Any mama knows, sometimes you just gotta block the babies in one area, haha! This project is relatively easy (especially if you have a little experience building) it just takes a little patience. Read on to see how I made these gates all by my little ole self :)
Your measurements will be contingent on your space– Since I made 4 gates for my house, I’m listing the measurements I used for one of the gates & you can adjust for your space accordingly. Be sure to make your gate 2 inches less than the width of where you want your gate to go. So if your hallway is 42″, your gate should be 40″. This is so you have enough space for the latch, hinge, and anchoring wood if you aren’t drilling directly into the stud of the wall. If there’s no stud where you want to put your gate, it’s a good idea to anchor a 1×4″ into the wall first, then attach the gate to that.
3″ Gate Hinges
1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
Cut your wood to size– here’s a sample cut list from our measurements. Our hall is 42″, the width of the gate is 40″ & the height of the gate is just under 27″. The slats (1×2’s) are spaced about 2.75″ apart, & I based that spacing on a standard baby gate.
7- 1×2’s at 20″ (these are the slats)
2- 1×4’s at 20″ (the wider slats on either side)
2 1×4’s at 40″ (the top & bottom of the gate)
1 1x4x27″ (the wall anchor if there’s no stud to drill into)
It’s really important all the measurements are as EXACT as you can get them, otherwise you’ll have gaps where the slats meet the top/bottom of your gate.
3. Add Pocket Holes
Before creating pocket holes with your Kreg Jig, line up all your wood pieces as if you’re going to assemble your gate, just to make sure everything fits together nicely. You’re going to add pocket holes to all the pieces that go vertically– so the 7 1×2″ slats & the 2 1×4″ sides.
To add pocket holes on your 1×2’s, line up your Kreg Jig at the ends of the 1×2 (The KJ and the 1×2 are the same width, so it fits perfectly), clamp it & drill your holes using the provided attachment. Since the 1×4’s are wider, you’ll have to do things a little bit differently. For the 1×4’s, line up the Kreg Jig on either side of the wood & drill into the hole that is closest to the edge. So in the photo below, you’d drill into the RIGHT hole to create your pocket hole.
Once all your vertical pieces have pocket holes, you are ready to put them together. Drill in your 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws to assemble your pieces together.
For some of the slats, I needed to stack some cards under the slats to make sure they lined up exactly right– I’m not sure if my wood was a little warped in places, or if they weren’t exactly the same width but having that extra lift in places helped me get them in straight.
5. Sand & Paint
If you’re going to paint or stain your wood, now’s the time to do that. I was impatient & wanted these babies up STAT (so I did this after the gate was installed) but it’s easier to do BEFORE you put the hinges on. I took my hand sander & made sure they were nice & smooth– using an electric sander is SO MUCH EASIER & faster than doing it by hand. But do whatcha gotta do. Just make sure it’s smooth & wiped clean before you go ahead & paint.
I had some leftover paint from when we painted our kitchen cabinets (be sure to check out that DIY post!) so I used the same primer & cabinet paint from that. You can also leave them natural or stain them, depending on what look you’re going for. That’s the beauty of these gates– they’re totally customizable.
6. Install Hinges
7. Anchor to the Wall
If you don’t have studs where the gate is going to go, you’ll need to drill a 1×4″ in the wall so you can anchor your gate to that. I like using these easy-to-use wall anchors. First, I place my 1×4″ where I want it to go & use a drill bit to put holes through the wood into the wall. I put a hole in the top, middle and bottom of the wood, so 3 holes total. Then, remove the wood & place the anchors in the holes. Screw in the anchor with a screw driver until it’s flush with the wall. Then, place the 1×4″ back on the wall & screw into the wood & anchor.
Now it’s time to attach the gate to the anchoring wood/wall. It’s easier if you have a second person to hold the gate up while you drill it in.
Also, be sure you’re attaching the hinge so that you can open the gate entirely. The hinge should close in the direction you want the gate to open. NOT like how I did it the first time, where the gate couldn’t even open, lol. See how the gate is hitting the wood when I tried to swing it open (to the right) in the photo below? Yeah, don’t do that. Haha. To fix it, I unscrewed the hinge from the anchor wood & flipped my gate upside down.
8. install the latch
Once you’ve installed your gate, you can now put on your latch. First, just hold up your latch to get an idea where you need to position your pieces. Go ahead and drill the latch into the wall at the level you want it to go. The nice thing about this latch system is you have some wiggle room so the arm doesn’t have to be 100% precise, which means you don’t have to meticulously measure. Also, when it comes to the latch arm, the screws that it comes with ended up being too long, going through the other side of the gate. I had 2 leftover screws from the hinges (the two small black ones in the photo below), so I just used those instead.
Here’s what it looks like when it’s installed.
Guess what? You’re done! Sit back & admire your beautiful work :)
I still have yet to paint the second floor walls, hence the bare wood– that will be painted the same color as the walls :) I hope you guys enjoyed this post & you learned a thing or two. Please, please, PLEASE share your photos with me if you decide to make them, I’d love to see how yours turned out!! & feel free to leave your questions or comments below, I’d be happy to answer them & chat with you.
If you’re looking for more DIY projects, be sure to check out the DIY tab at the top of the page :) Here are some of my favorite DIY projects I’ve done:
Thanks for stopping by!