How To Build a Deck Gate In 5 Steps


Hey Again!

Summer is almost here, well I’m hoping it will come quick anyway, and outside is where everyone will want to hang out. However, with two dogs we need to be able to have separation between them and us when we just want to relax (and maybe so they won’t chew through every cushion on our patio furniture  😛 ).

Our deck did not have a gate on it.  So for a while the dogs were able to run up to the house and scratch on the door which was not ideal.  And like I said, it makes any outdoor moments also dog at your feet moments.  So today I will show step by step how I built the gate that will give us some space this summer!

Let’s get started!

Materials Needed:

  • 2- 1in x4in x10ft treated wood (need 5 cut pieces the width of your gate, for my deck I needed 5-37.75 inch pieces)
  • 10 deck straight end (not angled) balusters (cut to the height you need for your deck, I needed 34 inches)
  • 1 package 2.5 inch deck screws
  • 1 gate latch kit
  • Screwdriver, preferably with drill bits to pre-drill holes

Materials: cost less than $50 

Time: less than 1 hour from assembling to completed attached gate

What to do

Picture 1. Materials needed.

Step 1: Measure.  The opening of the stairwell is 38 inches.  I need to adjust this number for room for my gate to open.  So, I took off 1/4 inch.  This would make the widest piece of wood 37.75 inches.  The height from the flooring of the deck to the top of the deck handrail is 36 inches.  I don’t want the gate to touch the floor so I wanted to take off 1 inch bringing the height to 35 inches tall.  *The first thing with any project involving cutting wood, is MEASURE.  So keep in mind, any height or width numbers I have used for my project may need to be adjusted to the width and height that you need for your gate.  Even an inch can make it so your gate does not fit in the stair opening.

Picture 2. Opening for gate.


Step 2: Cut.  I got all my materials from Lowe’s.  Here they will do cuts for you.  I think only a couple are supposed to be free but I had a nice employee who made all the necessary cuts for me at no extra charge.  You will need 5 pieces of the 1×4 inch boards cut to the width you measured your gate to be.  Since my gate is 37.75  inches wide,  I could get only 3 full cuts off of one 10 foot board.  So, I needed two 1inch x4inch x10foot boards to get all 5 pieces.  These are for a front and back header and footer on the gate as well as a ‘handrail’ piece for on top of the gate.   I wanted my gate to be 35 inches tall.  Since ~1 inch will be taken up by the top ‘handrail’ on the gate the balusters height will be 34 inches.  Lowe’s made all of these cuts for me as well.  10 balusters was more than enough spacing for my gate to have, ~3 inches.  If you have a more narrow gate and 10 balusters, the spacing will be smaller. 

Step 3:  Assemble the gate.  Line everything up.  You want all the corners to be square so your gate will fit in the opening (Picture 3).  You also want all your balusters to be evenly spaced out (Picture 4).  I did this quick and dirty so I did not measure where ‘exact’ spacing would be.  I just eyeballed it.   🙂 


Picture 3. Square up the edges.
Picture 4. Evenly space balusters.
Picture 5. Add front for header and footer of gate.

Step 4:  Screw, screw screw.  The deck screws have a drill head that will be included in the pack since they are a funny shape.  Also, if you have a drill bit that can pre-drill the holes it would be best to use it (Picture 6).  Without it, screwing a screw on the edges of the wood  runs the risk of splitting the wood. 

For the balusters on the ends of the gate I screwed in two screws for the top and the bottom to make sure it was secured.  Then I screwed one row of screws in the balusters on the header and footer of the gate (Picture 7).  Lastly, I attached the handrail to the top of the gate by screwing the deck screws into the top center of 4 balusters (Picture 8).

Picture 6. Screwing in the row for the footer. You can (kind of) see the pre-drill hole for the next screw.
Picture 7. All screws in for the sides.
Picture 8. Screw on the top board.
Picture 9. Side of gate not showing screws.

Step 5: Attaching the gate to the deck.  I was so excited getting to this step because it meant I was almost done!  I started with the top hinge and first attached it to the gate then the deck and did the same with the bottom hinge.  Lastly, I attached the latch to the gate first and then to the deck side.  And viola I have a gate! 

Picture 10. Attached gate.

This was one of the simplest wood projects I have ever done!  It didn’t cost much, it was easy to do and it will help out so much in privacy and safety.  I also think it looks pretty good too! I hope you will be able to use this as a guide to help build your own deck gate.  I know I’ll enjoy mine! 

Thanks for stopping by!

DIY Pantry Spice Rack

Hey there again!

Today we are building a DIY Spice Rack.  It is just a little cheap DIY organization for spices.  I’ve have seen different ways people have tried to organize their spices and I don’t think there is a wrong way to do it!  At my house we have containers of all sizes; short, tall, glass, square you name it. Our pantry is fairly small and it is prime real estate for ‘food’ food.  We don’t have extra space to allow all these loose spice containers rolling around.

I love the idea that some have the tools necessary for building a rack out of wood and the gumption to drill it into their door.  Perhaps someday I’ll put the time and energy into something like that but I would need the tools and the patience!  This however, is super cheap, super simple and super quick.  It took me all of 5-10 minutes to put this together and it has held up for months now.  (I know, I’m a little late in posting this 😛 ). 

This was so simple that when I was in the dollar store, I saw these small plastic tub/baskets and just thought of trying out the idea of a pantry door attached spice rack.  (I’m only sharing this because it actually worked for me  😉  ).   They were the perfect size and they came in packs of 2.  I got 2 bundles.  Had they been a little longer maybe just the one package would have been fine.  While out and about I looked for a way to attach these bad boys and found Command hook and loop Picture Hangers.  They looked like they would work perfectly, and they have!

DIY Pantry Spice Rack 

Cost: <$10

Time: < 10 minutes

Materials needed include:

  • Small plastic baskets
  • Command hook and loop picture hanging strips

What to do!

  • Decide where you’d like your little baskets to go.  You can mark the spot so it is easier in a minute to line everything up.
  • Determine Weight. On the box of the Command strips, it will tell you how much weight each strip can hold.  So without under doing it, estimate between the weight of your basket and the spices it will be holding. This is how much weight will be held by the strips, so use them accordingly. 
  • Attach the strips on basket. Attach as many as needed, for the weight that needs to be held, to the basket using the adhesive side on the basket.  For mine I did one at the top lip of the basket and one at the bottom for a sure support.
  • Attach the strips on the door. Line up the location of the corresponding strips on the baskets to match where the strips should go on the door and attach the strips adhesive side on the door.
  • Attach the basket to the door. Make sure that all the ‘hook and loops’ are engaged and secure. So make sure you keep pressing until you don’t hear them catching anymore.
  • Fill your baskets with spices!

I hope you find this to be a super simple project that is actually useful!  This has worked for me in clearing up much needed shelf space in my pantry and the best part is that there are no tools required to do this!

Stop by again soon!


Dining Table Makeover

Dining Table Makeover

Hey Guys!  So a dining table makeover isn’t what I expected my first post to look like but since it is very much in my wheelhouse of favorite things to do, it makes sense 🙂 .  So here goes!

One thing that I enjoy doing is bringing new life to old furniture.  I will paint, stain or glaze the heck out of some old wood that’s ugly or all chipped and scratched up.  I make the colors more neutral so the piece can fit in just about anywhere. I love doing this because it takes a piece of furniture that someone didn’t want and turns it into something beautiful that many can see owning as a statement piece.  I myself end up wanting to keep every piece at the end of every transformation because the end results truly bring it to life.  But sometimes in life, you’ve got to share!

So, in this post I will share from start to finish (with hopefully pictures if I thought about capturing them along the way) a Dining Table Makeover so you know what it takes to go from this;                                                    

Table and chairs before Dining Table Makeover.

To this,

Table and chairs after dining Table Makeover. 

The chairs and the table were purchased separately  from each other so they are not the exact style of chair that was made for the table.  However, when I saw these chairs I knew they would pair well with this table.  I knew what kind of an end game I had for this project and I made it work all along the way.  Some things I learned as I went  and others things were old habit (if even not the best way to perform the habit). This project has it all from painting and glazing to upholstery and hot glue guns, time to hone your skills! 

Tools Needed for Dining Table Makeover:

  • Primer and/or paint ( if you want white you can put a few coats of primer on and leave it or add color on top of the primer if you want color but primer is ALWAYS a base coat)
  • Glaze (if you want to add a ‘depth’ to the paint color)
  • Sealer (Whichever you prefer such as polycrylic, polyurethane or wax. This will be the top coat.)
  • Paint brushes or paint sprayer (I used a paint sprayer but I have done this with brushes and rollers)
  • Sand paper/blocks
  • Drop cloths (self-explanatory)
  • Staple gun with many staples (for the attaching desired fabric)
  • Staple remover (you will need this as there will be MANY staples)
  • Pliers (for stubborn staples)
  • Fabric (heavy duty fabric such as upholstery fabric, heavy curtains, duck cloth, etc.)
  • Glue gun with lots of hot glue sticks
  • Roping (to cover edges of stapled fabric)

Dining Table Makeover: Getting Started

Since I am using a paint sprayer I have put drop cloths (which I got for $1/drop cloth at the dollar store) not only on the floor but also on the walls.  I will paint my walls eventually but if I get paint on them now, the accidental haphazard look will be on the walls for about 3 months until I get around to painting over it! Not the best look 😛 .

After the drop cloths are in place, making sure that to the best of my ability I am painting only what I want to paint, I moved the table into location.  This was the first time I really got to use my paint sprayer and I LOVE it.  I love furniture that has little nooks and crannies in them because they are so visually appealing.  One of the great things about the paint sprayer is that it can get in those nooks and crannies saving me what would be a bunch of dabbing with a brush. 

*I will be honest here; I am not one for messing around with stripping off previous layers of whatever else is on the furniture pieces besides wood.  You should probably go ahead and degrease it, sand it, and whatever else to get down to the wood.  That would be ideal but I have never had an issue with paint chipping or such as long as I have sealed the piece with a top coat.  However, my pieces are lightly distressed anyway so if a chip did end up happening, it would most likely look intentional.

I will break this project down into steps like a recipe since that is how I work best.  I am a scientist after all, I need procedures 😛 . 

Dining Table Makeover: The Table

Step 1:   Clean the table.  Sand or strip away any glossiness from the table if wanted but do make sure it is clean and dry to work with.

Step 2:  Prime the table.  Paint the primer on the table and let it dry completely.  This is when I was really able to get loose and use the paint sprayer! 

Step 3:  Paint your color.  If you want the color to be white, do a second coat of primer or find a shade of white you like. If you want a specific paint color, now is the time to paint it!  I want my glaze to look grey and not black (as it does on white paint).  So, I used a light blue/grey as the base color for the glaze.  I wanted the white legs to have more depth so after they were primed and painted light blue I went back over just the legs with the primer again.

Step 4:  Glaze.  The glaze can look a few different ways.  I opted for the ‘brushed’ look.  You can also have a rubbed look that looks very nice too.  I use a regular bristle brush to apply the glaze.  I let it set and do not wipe it off.  But like I said, another way you can apply it is to brush it on and wipe it off.  Play around and see how dark you like it and how much you want brushstrokes visible.  This is all about how you want it to look. 

This is the glazed I used. It is inexpensive at around $10-$12 and a little goes a long way.

Step 5:  Apply the sealer.  For this table I used Polycrylic, mostly because this is what I still had available at my house so I didn’t have to go out and buy anything new.

This is the sealant I used for this project as it is what I had around the house.

Step 6:  Enjoy your finished table!

The table is primed, painted, glazed and sealed. Don’t mind the Dexter type of drop cloths to protect my walls 😛  . The lighting isn’t the best either, oh well it was late and you get the idea!

Dining Table Makeover: The Chairs

Step 1:  Remove dust cover.  Break out the upholstery staple remover and remove the staples from the dust cover on the bottom of the seat of the chair.

Step 2:  Unscrew the seat.  Unscrew the seat from the base of the chair to remove it.  

Step 3:  Remove piping.  On my chairs they hid the staples that attached the fabric for the back rest with fabric piping so this needed to be removed so that I could attach my own fabric.

Step 4: Clean the chair.  Make sure you have cleaned the chair.  The ones I worked on had a lot of food and crusty bits in between the seat and the sides.  It was pretty gross.  I’d recommend perhaps removing the seat and cleaning it over something you can throw away.  Wipe down with a damp cloth if necessary and dry the chair. 

Step 5:  Prime the chair.  Once clean, apply the primer paint. After the primer is dry sand down any rough spots or drips.  

Step 6: Paint the chair.  After the primer is lightly sanded go ahead and paint it the color you have picked out.  In my case I wanted white.  *If you want a distressed look like my chairs have, here is where you use the sanding block to sand down until you barely see the wood peeking through.  The key to it looking like a good distress job is to only sand what would have naturally over time rubbed away.  Think edges or corners, not flat surfaces. 

Step 7: Seal the chair.  Using your choice of sealer, once all is dry, apply using the products directions for the number of coats needed.  If you have chosen lighter colors, make sure you use a sealer that won’t yellow.  Most oil based sealers will yellow. 

Step 8:  Re-upholster.  So here is where you can do 1 of 2 ways.  The first way is to remove all the existing fabric staple by staple so you are working from scratch.  This way you won’t have too much fabric being layered on top of one another possibly making things a little bulky.  The second way, which is what I did, staple the new fabric right over the old fabric and call it a day.  I will say, I have not noticed a difference in how the overall end piece looks.  Physically it could be bulkier though so if that matters you may want to remove the existing fabric.  But I am lazy and made it work by saving me HOURS of staple removal.  

Re-upholstering chair seats. Staple fabric to bottom of seat being sure to pull as tight as possible.

For the fabric, whether it’s for the seats or the back rests, the fabric should be pulled as tight as it can get it.  For the seats, I tend to start in the middle of a side then staple the fabric to the chair.  Next, on the opposite side of where I just stapled I pull the fabric as tight as I can and staple it.  Then I do the same thing on the two remaining sides so I have a staple in the middle of every side of the seat.  From there I just pull and staple making sure the fabric is pulled tightly.  I use this same ‘technique’ on the chair’s backrest. Once you have successfully stapled around the back rest cushion, cut off the excess fabric. 

Stapling the fabric to back of chair.  Cut excess fabric from chair. 

For the fabric on my chairs I chose dark grey fabric for my two head chairs and a light grey fabric for my four ‘normal?’ (non head) chairs.  The dark grey fabric was from a room darkening curtain that I found at a discount store.  For the light grey I went to a fabric store and purchased this as duck cloth.  Duck cloth is a very nice heavy duty upholstery fabric that will hold up on chairs so it was perfect. 

Step 9: Apply rope piping.  The back rest is where you will be applying the piping over the visible staples.  Now is when you get to break out your hot glue gun! See all those horrendous staples staring back at you? Cover them up!  I hoped you tried to the best of your ability to staple in a straight line because the piping needs to cover them up and if one is off being all wonky and it will all look funny.  If there is a stray staple go ahead and remove it and re-staple in a less conspicuous position.  Because I want to make sure that my hot glue doesn’t dry before I have applied the piping, I work one edge at a time.  Also for my chairs I noticed that one row didn’t cover up everything I needed to cover up, so I added another round of piping to safely hide all my staples 😛 . 

First picture is the start of hot gluing roping around the edges of fabric. Second picture is the finished product.

Step 10:  Reassemble chair.  Reattach your chair seat to the base and your chair is completed!

Finished chair.

Dining Table Makeover:  Finished Product

Overall this project cost me about $100 in materials including the table and chairs.  I think the price it cost was worth it being exactly how I want it to look.  I don’t think I’d come close to spending just $100 if I bought something similar in a store.  This was an inexpensive project with results that make it look much more valuable.  This project took me longer than it should have because my attention span was limited during the month of December; but this was a fun project to do.  It was by far the biggest project I have done and I learned a few things along the way.  The main thing is you will find things don’t work out the same way every time and nothing will ever be perfect.  With that said, I think this project turned out greater than I expected it to and I hope you like it as well.  Perhaps this post will inspire you to update your own furniture and make you feel more comfortable about taking on such a task.  I will leave you with some finished pictures of my 3 week project!  

Finished project of Dining Table Makeover.