DIY Home Decor Lifestyle

DIY: Wooden Puppy Gate

August 19, 2013


We finally did it! We completed our first DIY project for the Alaska house!IMG_3064As you know, we have two dogs that are both wonderful and terrible at the same time. Since the Alaska house has carpet and someone (Sasha) keeps mistaking carpet for grass, the dogs have been limited to the first floor of the home, where the floor is laminate hardwood, and much easier to clean.

To sequester them, we were using a baby gate. It looked terrible and I hated it from the moment we purchased it.


Not only was it unsightly, it was tough to climb over, difficult to put up, and half the time Moose just knocked it over anyways. Since it was in the entryway, it’s also the first thing we saw when we got home, and the first thing our guests would see when they walk in the door.  I looked at several stores for alternatives – everything from garden gates to dutch doors to find something that I would want in my house.

We couldn’t find anything we liked, so we decided to build.

Matt went to the Home Depot and purchased lumber and woodstain to make our my dream gate. Our materials:

  • (2) 1″x6″x8′ pine boards
  • (1) 1″x3″x4′ pine board
  • (6) 1″x4″x8′ pine boards
  • 6) 1″x4″x4′ pine boards
  • (1) box of 1 1/4″ drywall screws
  • (1) Wood Stain – Minwax Interior wood stain (we used the color Charcoal Gray)
  • (2) Gate hinges
  • (1) gate latch
  • (1) door strike plate (we modified this to create a secure place for the gate latch to lock into)

The woodstain came out a much bluer colour than we wanted – we were hoping for a grey-blue to make it more neutral. But, oh well, we like the new colour just fine.

We took a few weeks to do this project, working in the garage after work when we had free time. To make our cuts, we used a handsaw. Next thing on my list to buy is a miter saw: getting a perfect cut by hand is hard and timely and lead to a few Matt Freak Outs over slightly off cuts.

Below is our cut list: all of our cuts were made to fit our hallway. You will need to measure the width of your hall and customize this to your own if you chose to replicate our gate.

  • (1) – 35″x2 1/2″x3/4″  – for top rail
  • (2) – 24 3/16″x5 1/2″x3/4″ – for small vertical front braces
  • (1) 1″x3 1/2″x3/4″ – for wall hinge mount – you will need to measure this board (probably 35 3/4″ long)
  • (2) 35″x5 1/2″x3/4″ for large front rails
  • (10) 35″x3 1/2″x3/4″ – for back stiles (probably have to rip the last one to fix properly)

Once assembled, it was time to stain. We did two coats, wiping with a paper towel after each coat to give it a more rustic look. (We all know how I love rustic) Packing paper from our move helped make a clean surface to lay the door down on, without worrying about it getting on the garage floor.

Staining like a champ

Staining like a champ

Once it was stained, it was time to mount! Using our stud finder, we found the strongest part of the wall, since we knew this door would get some abuse from the ever lovable Moose.


a stud, drilling into a stud

We decided to mount a stained wood piece onto the wall, instead of mounting the door directly. This gave it more support, and helped lower the amount of holes we were putting into the wall.

IMG_3060Once we had it mounted, it was time to see how it looked! But, when we went to close it, we ran into an issue: our walls bowed a little bit and we couldn’t get the door to close at a 90 degree angle!

damn you bowed walls

damn you bowed walls

After attempting to sand by hand (for like, 30 seconds), I went to a place familiar to me and got a tool that I know and love.


Isn’t it just the most lovely place?

I’m a big fan of Ryobi for several reasons, so I went out and picked up their Corner Cat Sander for only $30. I chose the corner cat over the other styles (square, detailed) because I felt it was the most versatile for future projects.

So excited!!

So excited!!

After putting on a sanding pad and plugging it in, it was sooo much easier to slim down the door to accommodate the wall.

action shot!

action shot!

After a few minutes, we got the door to where it closed at the point we wanted it too. For securing the door, we used a basic outdoor hinge, and modified a metal plate to slide the hinge

We also added felt bumpers onto the back of the door, to protect the wall when we open the door.


These are Matt’s exact mounting instructions:

  1. Mount hinges in gate
  2. Mount wall hing mount board to wall in a stud
  3. Mount gate/hinges to wall hinge mount using a square to make sure everything is lined up perfectly
  4. Mount latch
  5. Drill hole in center of strike plate large enough for the gate latch
  6. Mount strike plate and drill hole in wall to accept gate latch

Overall, I feel it is a great looking door. It took a little time to build, but with each project it gets easier: it’s just about building up our tool box.

We’ve got several projects planned out, including: a bed frame for our guest bedroom, a table to go behind our sofa, and shelving in the master bathroom.

I can’t wait to share the next project with you! What home updates have you been working on? Where do you find ideas for what you build? What brands do you love to build with?






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1 Comment

  • Reply DIY: Behind The Sofa Table | Emily In Alaska September 26, 2013 at 10:23

    […] No worries though, because Alaskan Stewarts love to build everything to fit our needs (see our puppy gate adventure) […]

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