Monday, March 10, 2014

D.I.Y. Play Gym

If you've ever had to shop for baby things then you have probably faced this all too common problem- baby stuff can be ugly and lame looking. I understand sometimes this is because babies love  to see colors and contrast, but there is a more design friendly way to achieve this! Pretty early on I decided a play gym would probably be pretty well enjoyed around here, but really didn't like most of the options out there or just couldn't afford the pretty ones. Seeing as how this item would probably end up on display around the house quite a bit, I didn't want to settle. So I made my own! This way I knew for sure it was fairly made (by me! With made in the USA parts!) and the best part? It came to a grand total of $12! I thought I would share just in case someone out there was on the same search I was.

Materials needed:

  • Three 4' long dowels cut in half ( I used 1/2" thick ones)
  • Two 1/2" 3-way elbow connector (like this guy)
  • Optional-
    • Spray paint for corner pieces 


I just asked the hardware store to cut the dowels in half. You will have one 2' piece leftover, maybe you can come up with a second project for that. Now just put the frame together, it's pretty self explanatory. You've got the bar across the top and two legs on each side. My dowels fit in the connector pieces a little bit loose, so I wrapped the ends in electrical tape for a tighter fit. The texture of the tape also ended up being good for gripping, everything is pretty well stuck (aka jammed) together! My connector pieces had a barcode printed on the outside, so I just took a little sandpaper to it and it came right off. 

Now I had grand plans for making toys to hang from the bar, but that didn't happen. So I thought why not pompoms! Now I realize the tinier ones shown are too small for babies. Since avoiding the whole choking hazard thing sounded good, I have sense removed the offenders. This was the best pompom making tutorial I've come across. But really the sky is the limit, so hang whatever your little heart desires. 

The verdict?

This is a pretty popular toy at our house. I am thinking I might switch it up and hang something new to keep things interesting. Thats the beauty of this project, you can change whats hanging as much as you want!


  1. What a cute idea! I totally agree with you- I feel like a lot of baby things are a little either very cheesy kid or generic. You can totally switch it up but the original is pretty awesome.

  2. I did something very similar, I hated everything I found. We got given a play gym and the material was so horrible and plastic I couldn't bear to touch it! I bought a frame and put toys on it from Etsy etc. that I really liked. Cheap and much more pleasing to the eye since it's on display in the living room 24/7.

  3. Do you know the blog If not, I think you would like it. That fine fellow makes many of his children's toys. I don't have any kids, but I find the simplicity and imagination of his designs inspiring.

  4. Great idea and lovely colours, that aren`t TOO colourful. Also sweet picture of your baby!
    Much greetings

  5. Oh man I wish I would have seen this when my daughter was born! We ended up getting one by Skip Hop... it's still pretty obnoxious but she loved it so I guess it served its purpose.

    (p.s. love that last shot of Remy, just chilling with her arms behind her head. Adorable.)

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