How To Make Tension Rod Baby Gates (DIY Project For Careful Parents)

  • Tension rod baby gates are awesome no-drill options for homes 
  • They may not be as sturdy as mounted gates, but they do work 
  • Let us teach you how to make a customized tension rod baby gate 
  • We list all the materials you need, and step by step directions

Are you looking for a way to provide a unique alternative to a baby gate in your home?

Have you heard of tension rod baby gates and wondered about making one for yourself?

Are tension rod baby gates really safe?

In this article, we’ll give you a quick introduction to the tension rod and fabric style of DIY baby gate. You’ll be able to see how this type of product is made, what you need to purchase to make one yourself, and how to complete the task if you choose to give it a try.

You can also use this information to determine whether or not this type of baby gate is safe and right for your needs. This project may not be ideal for everyone, so take your time and consider your baby as well as any animals that may be in your home. If your child (or dog) is strong enough to potentially push over a fabric gate or move the fabric and crawl beneath it, then this project may not be right for you.

Also, if the space you’re looking to close off is an area of high foot traffic, you may soon be frustrated with having to take down or step over this baby gate every time you need to go to the next room. There are some situations in which this type of gate may not work well, so take stock of your home’s layout as well as your baby’s abilities before you choose.

If you do decide to make a baby gate like this for your own home, read on to learn how!


  • Or, fabric that is slightly larger than the height and width you need for the space where you’ll be putting your baby gate
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread to match your sheet or fabric
  • Two tension rods wide enough for the space where you’ll be putting your baby gate


  • 1
    First, you’ll need to measure the space where you plan to use your DIY baby gate. This is a crucial first step because it will help you make sure you’re getting the right fit when you make your project. Measure the width as well as the height, and add about two inches on all sides when you choose your old sheet or fabric.
  • 2
    Pick out your fabric. Go with something that’s woven enough to be sturdy—don’t pick something flimsy or sheer like tulle, for example. You want to choose a cotton or even upholstery fabric that will hold up to your child as well as your pets climbing and jumping on it over time.
  • 3
    Begin by hemming the short sides of the fabric. Fold the fabric down by about a half an inch on the short sides and pin it.
  • 4
    With your sewing machine, hem the sides so that there is no loose thread or fraying edges showing. Go slowly to make sure your hem is nice and even. If you’re worried about it, you can turn the fabric and stitch backward over the hem to reinforce it. However, for the sides of the gate, this is not as necessary as it will be for the top and bottom.
  • 5
    Fold down your fabric and pin it so that there is a wide enough pocket on both long ends for your tension rods to slide through. Make sure there is enough space for the rods to fit without pulling on the seams, but also do not make the pockets so deep that the fabric will just slide around on the rods like a curtain. This could make it too easy for your child to push the fabric aside.
  • 6
    This is also going to serve as the hem on your fabric. Using your sewing machine, sew with a slight seam allowance to secure the pockets for your tension rods on both long sides of your fabric. Remove the pins, turn, and sew back along the same seam once more to reinforce it.
  • Note: If your fabric frays out very badly, there’s a chance you’ll need to hem it first before you make your pocket. If this is the case, you’ll need to add a little bit more to the measurements to ensure you have enough to work with. Don’t hem it too deeply or you may run out of fabric to get the job done.
  • 7
    Repeat the pocket process on the other long side of your fabric. Don’t forget to reinforce the seams here too. You may want to backstitch in order to triple-reinforce the seams just in case.
  • 8
    Now you’re ready to thread the baby gate fabric onto the tension rods. Make sure your tension rods will work for the space you need them for before you continue. Take time to do a test run without the fabric to make it easier to see how the baby gate will work when it’s all completed.
  • 9
    Thread the tension rods through the pockets you made. Take care not to let the fabric get too bunched up in one spot or get caught on the ridges of the tension rods as you pull it across, too.
  • 10
    The fabric should be stretched all the way out to the edges of the tension rods. Put them up in the doorway or hallway where you need your baby gate and adjust the tension until they are holding the fabric very taut.
  • Your baby should not be able to crawl under the fabric or push it from the sides of the tension rods. If your child leans on the fabric, he or she should not be heavy enough to push the gate over, either. This is also true of any pets in your home!
  • 11
    Congratulations! You’ve just made DIY baby gate with tension rods.


Do you feel confident in your ability to complete this project? It’s a quick and easy option that works well for many households, and if your baby is still young enough to not be able to push over a fabric gate, it may be perfect for you, too.

Can you use a DIY tension rod baby gate the same way you would use a store-bought gate? Or are there places where you shouldn’t put it? Generally speaking, in a door or hallway, you can use this type of gate in the same way as a store-bought one. However, if you want something to use for your stairs, you should go with a product that is store-bought and designed specifically for stair use. Putting a fabric gate near stairs may cause your baby to crawl under the fabric and risk injury.

Keep this in mind and you’ll be able to make the right call on your DIY baby gate project in no time!



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