Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Crib Gate Scandal

Once Gabe started crawling he could not sit still.  This boy of ours loved to explore, but nowhere near as much as he loved to climb.  I think he started cruising and climbing before he started crawling.  Before he was an accomplished climber, tall apple boxes did the trick of keeping him out of danger.

Total cost of project: less then $10!  We got the crib for free from Craigslist.

Boxes weren't cutting it anymore

In our attempts to stop him from getting into the kitchen where there are so many dangers, we looked around for child/dog gates at all the retail stores and online.  There seemed to be none for such a large opening.  We also considered wood and the alternative pvc gates.

This is from  
What we didn't like about the pvc gates was the look isn't quite right for us, and our son
 LOVED to chew on things, so we did not want him chipping off a bunch of chemicals into his little mouth.  After several weeks of fighting with him constantly getting into the kitchen, I came up with this idea: cribs hold babies, why couldn't a crib be turned into a gate?  Crib-gate was born!

Finished view from kitchen, notice the latch is unreachable by a child.
Though it is difficult carrying one and trying to open it.
Finished view from living room
Gabe was very helpful in construction, here I was removing all the hardware and laying out pieces.

Gabe was very helpful during deconstruction.
I began by screwing the "sides" of the crib into the walls with L brackets.  For stability, I used a cutoff from the crib side I didn't use to brace the sides against the kick plate of the cabinets.

Sides mounted, useless box blockers still in place
I measured the distance between the crib sides to make my gate width, then went to figuring out how I was going to turn the decorative back of the crib into a fancy gate.  I used a straight edge and a framing square to make sure the cuts were straight relative to the slats and bottom because the top of the crib was curved.  Then I used my miter saw after I had pulled apart all the pieces to cut the top and bottom to size.

A good view of what the gate will look like, excited at its potential! 

After I brought the top and bottom pieces back in, I realized that because I had cut off so much of the curve, the lengths no longer lined up.  I had to figure out how long the slats and sides would need to be so I assembled the gate's top and sides, and brought it over for some head scratching.  

Slats are longer then the sides boo hoo!
With the "bear's ears" at the top sections of the sides, I found that I needed to cut the sides as well so the bottom would fit.  Once that measurement was found, I could then start to work on the slats.

"Bears Ears" dilemma

I trimmed the slats down to size, and then I had to shave off a bit wood on each sides of the bottom for the tenons to fit.  I did all of this with the miter saw.  At the time I was pretty new into wood working, so if I had to do it over again I would use either my router in the router table or some chisels.  It was almost impossible to control the depth of cut, and moving the pieces under the blade with my left hand while holding the handle of the saw with my right was definitely not ideal, but it all worked out in the end and I still have all of my fingers so I'm satisfied.  

The baby gate has held up remarkably well.  It's gone through two years of Gabe standing on the bottoms of it and shaking it like crazy, the dog pawing it, and now my daughter hanging on it!  The only real damage it's received after all of this punishment is a few teeth marks.

On the few occasions where we have forgotten to lock the gate, or he's broken the kid locks off of his door knob, he's gotten into a ton of mischief

Sorry for the sideways video, anyone know how to solve this issue?

The baby gate's been a huge success, and it's a great conversation piece for guests.  It's been up for 3 years now, and still keeping the kids out of mischief!

If you have a baby gate you've created, or have any questions or comments about mine, please feel free to leave a comment.  I'd love to hear from you!


  1. This is such a great idea! I'd love to create something similar for our fireplace this winter. And it looks great, to boot.

    Thanks for stopping over to NewlyWoodwards. Great minds think (and create) alike.

    1. I'm always seeing used cribs on Craigslist for cheap or free. It's worked wonderfully to keep our kids out of the dangerous kitchen, it would definitely work for a fireplace with some modifications.

  2. Love it!! It looks awesome, and how clever!

    1. Thank you so much, it's great to see a creative idea come together for a practical use. And last so long too!

      It has dog scratches from our Australian shepherd/rottweiler mix, baby chew marks, been used to swing on by the kids and non stop rattling, jumping, and climbing on for 3 years and it's still going strong!

  3. What a great idea! Thanks for dropping by Covered in Mod Podge!

  4. I have the joy of baby proofing this weekend...stopped by doing my mommy research :) The idea of using a baby crib is genius! You are so right that the kiddos are going to want to chew on it at one point or another. What a fantastic idea share! laura |

    1. Thanks! I saw a lot of pvc gates and knowing my kids and how much they love to put their mouths on everything, hated the idea.

      Also, the name of your website is hilarious!

  5. I bought a bed a couple years ago second hand hoping to use it only to find it was missing pieces. gave it to my gma because she comes up with some odd uses but has yet to find one for it....going out today to do some measuring and cutting for my super long kitchen doorway! love this idea. hope I'm successful.

  6. We have our first son's crib in storage. He's 8, his younger brother is 5 and now their youngest brother is a year and a half and has his own crib. It's starting to get cold, so that means we'll be using the fireplace and will need to keep our little guy away from it. I've been looking for ideas to repurpose our old crib as a hearth fence. Your blog is going to come in handy with this project. Thank you!