How to Make a Deluxe Baby Gate

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Baby gates have been an integral part of everyday life in FishHouse for quite some time. To keep our littlest one corralled and out of trouble, we have them at the head and foot of our stairwell as well as one on the way into the kitchen. There’s only so much help unloading the dishwasher I can take! (My little one pictured is now able to open and close the gate herself, a true rite of passage.)

When we first married, our home was a 250-square foot studio. We lived there for three years before bringing home a baby. In such a small space, we didn’t need a lot of babyproofing. There was nowhere for FishBaby to go! Shortly after his first birthday, however, we increased our living space as well as the dangers our little toddler could get into. Babyproofing was necessary to his safety as well as my sanity.

Enter the baby gate.

Since FishPapa is a carpenter by trade, he performed the first of many parenting hacks when we purchased a baby gate with cheap plastic slides. It was the anchor-to-the-wall kind of gate, such as is necessary for stairwells. But, the mechanism for sliding the gate was blech.

I think that is the technical term.

So, he improved it by replacing the plastic slides with full-extension drawer slides.

Currently, these cost about $5 on Amazon. The original gate cost about $40. Sure, they increased the cost of the gate to $50, but they have been well worth it. Our baby gates have now lasted 12 years, six kids, and four moves. There’s no way that the original plastic slides would have lasted half this long. The deluxe sliders have more than paid for themselves. Since they’ve lasted us so long, I have been out of the market. My internet search showed that some of these fancier gates cost $100. I didn’t know how good I had it!

Disclaimer: I am not a home safety specialist, nor do I play one on TV. Please use good judgement and common sense. Proper installation of slides and gate hardware is imperative. Remember that childproofing is not a substitution for adult supervision.

That said, don’t be afraid to improve on a store-bought item.

What parenting hack have you performed?

For more DIY inspiration, visit A Soft Place to Land.

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  1. We had to improvise on a baby gate as well. The wall on our stairs comes all the way down on one side, but leaves the last 5 steps open on the other. So, hubby added some door stops to the side, allowing us to use the gate on the steps. A lifesaver for me!

  2. FishChick is too cute. Love the pig tails. Fish did an excellent job as usual!

  3. That is a great idea! So many of the baby gates now are super expensive! But doctoring up one of the simple wooden ones may be the way for us to go!

  4. Our first grandchild just turned 14 months old …Totally out of desperation we tried a store bought baby gate…it was useless..nor would it give our small dog passage through the home…So my husband being Mr. Handyman himself..took a regular door cut it in half hung it in the kitchen doorway high enough for our small dog to walk underneath…then he placed the door knob with a turn lock “on the kitchen side”…dog comes in and out…the is baby safely in the living room…and best of all
    it is so easy to open and close for us bigs…:)

  5. Hi, so glad I found this post. My sweetheart was not sure about allowing my 3 little dogs in his mostly beige carpeted house. Or how his cats would survive the onslaught. So, I became the queen of gate improvisation. I found an inexpensive crib at a resale shop. Cutting the legs off the head and foot boards gave me 2 stand alone gates. But I couldn’t figure out how to make the crib sides work in the dining room door. Then I found the drawer slide post. Will be doing some remodeling this morning! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

  6. Hi and thanks for this clever idea. what size are those slides. I am use to seeing the skinny kind, but those look nice and hefty.

    Kind Regards

    1. These are super strong. They are 16″ long and the skinniest side is 1-inch. The fat side (the one that slides over the other) is about 2-inches