My sweet baby girl just turned 4 but she has been begging for ballet lessons over the last year, at least. Sadly, all of the classes in my area are not friendly to the working mom folk and are all at like 3pm on Wednesdays??? Totally nuts, but whatever because we’re all stuck inside these days anyway! So my mom bought the babe some fresh new ballet slippers yesterday and she is LIVING for YouTube ballet lessons in our living room.
DIY in a day – a ballet bar for my little quarantine queen
Fortunately for her, I am a former ballerina of sorts ? and remember using those portable PVC barres in class. It’s the simplest little setup, and I’ve honestly been itching to do some PVC projects for a while now! It’s cheap and easy to handle, so I cooked up a “plan” in my head and added the materials to my Home Depot shopping cart. Sure enough it is going to cost less than $15 and we did curbside pickup.
This DIY was so out-of-the-blue, it wasn’t even on my home project list.
We ran over there on our lunch break and I put the whole thing together (with baby girl, of course) in less than 20 minutes. It is way easier than I ever imagined. And the online alternatives are going for $60+ online…!
Here are the materials I ordered:
2 10′ 3/4″ PVC pipes
2 3/4″ 90 degree elbows
4 3/4″ tee fittings
4 3/4″ knobs
**All together the pipes cost less than $13.
PVC Pipe Cutter – this was in our tool box, and I highly recommend having one with a metal blade like this
PVC Cement/glue (optional) – this was leftover from some various home improvement. Probably our water heater replacement. But super glue works fine too!
The 3/4″ pipe is a bit slim, but that dimension is for the interior space, so the width of the pipe is actually closer to 1″. It’s perfect for little hands.
I googled “ballet barre height for toddlers” this morning and found out it should be about 32-36″ high. I measured 32″ up against my girl, and it comes up about chin-height. 32″ it is and we won’t be outgrowing it too soon.
Here is the breakdown of what was cut:
don’t mind the hot pink marker on the wall. I’m willing to argue that toddlers are having a particularly rough go at quarantine!
2 at 40″
2 at 8.5″
2 at 19.5″
4 at 11.5″ (this is the most flexible of the dimensions. I had 23″ of scrap remaining and cut it in half for the first foot lol.)
1. Measure the cuts 1 at a time
Instead of measuring a dozen cuts at once, I like to measure one, cut one. This way you are measuring from true ends and not the ideal ones. Measuring is easy, but cutting leaves so much room for error. I still don’t know if I should cut ON the line, PAST it, or BEFORE it. No matter which way is proper, the tools have a mind of their own sometimes.
So I cut after the first measurement, and then measure again and make a new cut. And so on.
2. lay out the cuts to confirm desired dimensions
I knew 40″ was the perfect width, so I laid the freshly cut top & bottom bars on the ground and tried to determine the best width between the two of them. After accounting for the 1/2″ that goes into the fittings, 8.5″ was perfect.
Next we laid the tape measure next to the whole thing after those two cuts. to get to the long leg dimension that makes it the perfect 32″ Although I won’t lie, I was afraid that 32″ would be too short and my first draft was closer to 35″. The scrap after those cuts gave me my magical foot length of 11.5″ per side.
3. put it together and measure some more
We stuffed all the pieces together and stood it up which confirmed the 35″ height was too tall and I wanted to shave off those 3 inches.
It’s worth noting that I’m happy I had some slack to remove. You can always cut more off but you can’t add it back, so I’m always conservative with my cuts.
4. make any adjustments
The final leg height ended up at 19.5″ which gets us to about 33″ in total height.
5. glue the joints together
As of right now, I have not completed this step. It does the job just fine without glue, but it comes apart easily so consider yourself warned.
I started gluing the joints and was interrupted by a little ballerina so this will have to wait! Baby girl wants to give it a [spray] paint job and I’m hoping the paint has a glue effect.
the final result & total cost
It’s *precious* in front of my unfinished built-in bench and missing a cap on the front, but it stands all on it’s own and it is completely perfect.
What’s more? The babe approves!
How can I help you get started?
Let me know in the comments if there’s anything you think is standing in the way of you making your own. This is the easiest DIY I have done in a loooonnnnggg time and if you want one then you absolutely need to go for it.
If you liked this tutorial, please share it on Pinterest! Happy dancing!