I get a lot of questions about our girls’ “ballet barre.” To be honest, I often take it for granted since it’s been a part of our living room decor for a while. That is until it sneaks into the background of one of my pictures or videos (like this one), and you all remind me.
You see, the original intent was not a ballet barre but an infant coordination mirror, an essential element to the Montessori infant environment. An infant coordination mirror is great for a baby to see their own movements and learn about the world around them. It’s especially good for learning gross motor skills such as tummy time/ head control, rolling, sitting, crawling and, with the pull-up bar, standing. We were a little late to the game with the mirror adding around the time the girls learned to crawl. By then our main focus was on them learning to pull up at it.
If you search for an infant coordination mirror, they are over a hundred dollars! I wanted one for awhile, but couldn’t justify the price or find a deal anywhere else, so I decided to make one. I found the mirror on Facebook Marketplace (Facebook Marketplace is my jam!) for $20. Thrift stores are another good source for affordable nice, bulky mirrors.
The first hurdle was convincing hubby to let me hang this contraption on our wall. Our only option was the living room because there was no wall space in the teeny tiny nursery the girls shared, and I knew he wasn’t going to to let me hang it out in the open. So, I offered for us to hang it behind the front door. He conceded and got to work making my crazy idea a reality.
- 2″ Diameter Dowel rod
- 2 Handrail Brackets
- Pack of Command Strips
- Heavy-duty picture hanging nail
- Stud Finder <– Highly recommend this Black & Decker one, which also has a built-in laser level which makes hanging things up straight a breeze
- Tape Measure
The first thing we did was determine where the studs were on that wall and plan where to hang the brackets for the pull-up bar. Our goal was to have at least one on the handrail brackets in a stud so when we found it, it predetermined where everything was going to hang. The brackets were placed far enough apart to hang the mirror in between with a little wiggle room.
After figuring out where we were going to hang it, we measured the length for the dowel rod long enough to overhang the brackets a few inches on each side. We like to measure beforehand and have the hardware store make as many cuts as possible.
At the hardware store we bought a chunky dowel rod (cut to the right size), a heavy-duty picture nail and two handrail brackets.
Once at home, hubby drilled/screwed the handrail brackets into the wall (see previous comment about laser level for assisting with hanging evenly). We chose to hang the pull up bar at 16″ height, which was the lowest of recommended heights we saw when Googling the subject. The generally recommended height is somewhere between 16″ – 19″ with 17.5″ most often recommended.
Next, he hung the mirror using the heavy-duty picture hanging nail. We hung so that the bottom of the mirror started where the baseboard stopped. We also stuck doubled up command strips (we already had on hand) on each of the corners to secure them to the wall to keep it from moving.
Finally, he screwed the dowel rod (we stained it with espresso stain we had in hand) on to the brackets.
See the finished product below! We love how it turned out. The girls did end up using to learn to pull to a stand. They practiced their standing a lot there. They still use occasionally for making silly faces. And who knows, maybe one day they’ll use it to practice their ballet lessons.
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