DIY Portable Ballet Barre: Phase 1

Psst. Wanna see this room update from the beginning? Read this post first. Updating a teenage girl’s room.

DIY Portable Ballet Barre | laughingabi.com

If you’ve been following along you know we’re building a “dance wall” in Teen Queen’s bedroom. One of her demands requests was a hot pink ballet barre so she could practice after school. It didn’t take long to realize the challenge wasn’t going to be building the bar but finding a place to put it. Here are some of the things we had to consider.

1. Mirror placement: A lot of diy examples I found were built with the barre and mirrors on the same wall. In reality the mirrors should be on the opposite wall as the barre. This was a problem for us because there wasn’t space in the room for that kind of layout (unless Teen Queen developed x-ray vision and could see through the furniture).
2. Space: Room for a barre is not a big deal. Room to actually use it is another story. There needed to be adequate space to practice without taking over the entire room.

DIY Portable Ballet Barre | laughingabi.com

Eventually, we decided building a portable barre was the best option. This design can be stored flat along the same wall as the mirrors when not being used, and when it’s time for practice can be pulled out into the room, opposite the mirrors (or at least far enough from the mirrors to give the same effect).

We used 1.25″ PVC pipe to make it sturdy, lightweight, and paintable. We also added a lower barre for extra stability even though she is too big to use it any more. With all that decided it was finally time to get to work.

DIY Portable Ballet Barre | laughingabi.com

MATERIALS
(4) 1.25″ PVC crosses
(2) 1.25″ PVC tees
(4) 1.25″ PVC elbows
(2) pieces 1.25″ PVC pipe cut to 24″ long
(6) pieces 1.25″ PVC pipe cut to 12″ long
(2) closet rods cut to 57″ long
Craft foam sheets
Sandpaper
Spray paint

INSTRUCTIONS
I won’t bore you with step by step directions for putting this thing together. The photos are pretty self-explanatory. After you get the PVC pieces assembled there are a few last details.

1. Use the sandpaper to “erase” the black number and letter markings from your pieces.
2. Use the craft foam to fill the gaps where the closet rods fit into the tees and crosses.

  • Cut it the same width as the joint pieces (mine were 4.25″).
  • Roll it into a tube shape. Depending on the thickness of your foam you may have to overlap the ends so you create a double layer. I found it easiest to remove the PVC joint from the other pieces first so you’re working with one small piece instead of the whole barre.
  • Slide the rolled up tube into the PVC joint.
  • Wiggle and twist the barre into the center of the tube. This is a little tricky. I used my left hand to try and keep the foam from shooting out onto the floor but you can see it did slide out a good inch or so. You want it to be a tight fit so it’s stable but not so tight you can’t put it together.

DIY Portable Ballet Barre | laughingabi.com

Once I had everything together (and was sure it would work), I took it all apart and hit it with some hot pink spray paint. I’m always amazed how much paint changes things.

DIY Portable Ballet Barre | laughingabi.com

DIY Portable Ballet Barre | laughingabi.com

DIY Portable Ballet Barre | laughingabi.com

I want to point out that this is not as stable as a barre that attaches to the wall. My dancer is 13 years old uses it for balance and form. If your dancer is younger and will be leaning on the barre or putting a lot of weight on it, this may not be a good option for you.

So what unique features have you added to you kids’ rooms? A climbing wall? A race car? A trapeze bar? Hey, it could happen.

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Loft bed for a little girl’s room

Psst, to see this room update from the beginning, check out these posts:
Phase 1: Decorative storage update for a little girl’s room and no monsters in the closet
Phase 2:A modern tree mural update

Remember this post where I shared a cute way to display a little girl’s stuffed animal collection? Well forget all that. It’s gone. See, the problem with raising creative children is they get these ideas and the next thing you know you’re redoing things that were never even done yet. And yes, I realize I could have just old her “NO” but it was such a goooood idea. It had to be done.

Introducing Baby Girl’s new loft bed.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

I know loft beds are nothing new but the genius of this one is it was TOTALLY FREE. We drug the bunk beds down from the attic and put them together without the bottom bunk. The chair is a thrift store treasure that was sitting in the corner of our bedroom, holding piles of laundry. And the little table was her nightstand. $0!!!

Here are some shots of Baby Girl hard at work putting it all together with The Hubs.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

As for that Ugly Doll collection, it’s back next to the bed where it belongs – just a little higher.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Some of you may remember that the bed used to be under a recently updated tree mural. Obviously we moved things around to make it all fit. The tree is still there but it looks more like this now.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

I’ll admit I’m sad that Baby Girl isn’t sleeping under that tree every night. I designed the whole thing around her bed. But when I see her all snuggled up in that chair, reading a book, I can’t help but smile.

I still have a long list of finishing touches for the loft and the bedroom.

  • Paint dresser knobs
  • Touch up paint on bunks
  • Find something to hang on walls under loft
  • Create some storage solutions under the loft so things aren’t just laying around
  • Cover ugly support boards on loft “ceiling”
  • Paint ladder
  • “Tape” two small IKEA rugs together to make one patch of “grass” under loft
  • Sew curtains to create “walls” under loft

My biggest challenge? To get it all done before Baby Girl gets another great idea.

Have you ever decided to redo a project when you were only halfway done? Did it turn out better than the original idea? Please say yes. I really need to hear a yes.

A modern tree mural update

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

As part of the update to Baby Girl’s bedroom I needed to modify her tree mural so it was a home for birds and squirrels, not fairies. (See the original mural here.) I’ll admit I never loved the Pixie Hollow tree so I was pretty excited about the chance to do something more modern and contemporary with it. Something urban birds and squirrels would live in. Here are the changes, step by step.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.comWe started by painting over the pixie dust waterfalls so it looked like a plain tree.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

Then we decided we wanted to reshape the middle branches so we painted on the new color, making our branch shapes as we went, and primed the “old parts” that were still showing. If you look at the bottom of this picture you can tell we made some changes to the trunk too. It went on a little tree diet.

The next step was painting the blue wall color over the primed patches. I don’t have a picture of that stage because I was too busy spilling the bucket of blue paint all over the carpet.

!@#&*!

If you decide to try this project I would recommend skipping that part.

A couple vodka-tonics and a good night’s sleep later, it was finally time for the fun part – painting the wood grain/tree rings.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

tree trunk done 1 marked

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

I wish I could give you more direction for drawing these lines. It was mostly just trial and error but here are a few pointers.

  • I used an IKEA duvet cover for inspiration and tried to mimic their pattern in the beginning.
  • I sketched all my lines with chalk before I put anything permanent on the wall.
  • The longer I worked, the more natural it seemed.
  • I used a medium-point Elmer’s metallic gold paint pen

When I painted the original mural I added another set of branches on the wall next to the window. So of course I had to modernize those too.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

And because I’m a creative glutton (and Baby Girl asked with her sweet little puppy dog eyes), I added a branch to the closet doors too.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

Here’s how the two smaller sets of branches look together.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

I’m really happy with how it all turned out. The metallic paint makes it sparkle when the sun streams through the window. And every little girl’s room can use a little sparkle.

Have you ever updated one of your own DIY projects? Did you like the old or new version better?

I’m linking up with Tatertots & Jello this week. Make sure you go check out all the other amazing DIY ideas over there.

 

Decorative storage update for a little girl’s room and no monsters in the closet

A year or so ago I created a wall mural for Baby Girl’s bedroom. Back then she was all about a little fairy named Tinkerbell so I painted the Pixie Hollow tree over her bed. Now she’s nine and has informed me she still loves the tree but isn’t digging the fairies. (Insert mommy sniffle here.) And so another bedroom redo begins.

First things first. Fairy decals and fairy houses – you’re outta here.

Next, we wanted to fill the big blank space between the tree and bed. Not surprisingly, the Teen Queen is making some changes in her room too, so I went shopping in her “junk” pile and found a Collector’s Shelf I bought from Pottery Barn way back when. Score! It’s the perfect size for the space, the perfect color (matches her curtains) and the perfect storage solution for the pile, er collection, of Ugly Dolls that are spilling out of a basket in the corner.

Baby Girl wanted to help so The Hubs gave her a quick “How to put anchors in drywall” lesson and let her start poking holes in the wall while I went downstairs and made myself a drink.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

A few turns of the screws it was ready for action. (Every time I got out the camera she jumped under the covers.)

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Finally, she got to put all her little critters in their new home. And then we should be done, right?

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Unfortunately, her collection is bigger than I realized and they didn’t all fit. I thought about ordering another shelf but then we came up with some better ideas. Solution #1 – the little key chain Uglies went on cup hooks under the shelf.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Solution #2 – the biggest Uglies that were too um . . .  plump to fit in the shelf got a special place at the head of the bed.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

How stinking cute are they? They look like they’re sitting at the table waiting for breakfast. Now it’s done. And most importantly, Baby Girl is happy.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

I have to show you one more thing we added to her room over the long weekend. This adorable handmade linocut print from The Big Harumph. We received it as a late Christmas gift and decided it was perfect for Baby Girl’s room since she still refuses to sleep with the closet doors closed.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

So that wraps up Phase 1 of the latest bedroom redo. How do you handle it when your kids outgrow their decor? Do you start from scratch? Work with what’s already there? Tell them to suck it up and go to sleep? I’d love to know.

Love & laughs,
abi