DIY Pikler Climbing Arch for Toddlers
Time: 2 hours-ish
Materials: Wood, paint or stain, jigsaw, kreg jig, drill, pocket screws, wood glue
Leo has been climbing on EVERYTHING lately. I've seen these floating around the internet and thought Leo would love it, but they're so expensive! So I thought I'd give it a try on my own.
Normally when I start a project I find some plans online to help, but in this case there just weren't any! I found a couple but they wanted me to pay $10 for them and let's be honest, I'm not doing that.
So I looked at some general vague instructions (what they give you so you'll want to buy the real plans haha) and a bunch of pictures and went for it!
Get your wood.
I used two pieces of plywood (2' x 4' x .75") for the arch and three pieces of 1x4x6 pine for the rungs.
Cut your rungs.
This is super easy for the rungs (I did mine about 22 inches each- make sure they're all the exact same size though- this is super important).
Trace your arch.
I wanted to make an actual arc, not just poorly drawn half circle. So I attached a pencil to some string, attached the strong to the wood and drew myself a nice arc. I'm sure there's a name for this but I don't know what it is.
I moved the string back about 4 inches and then did the same thing again for the inside of the arch (so the width is about 4 inches).
For the feet I made a little template out of cardboard and traced them on.
Cut your arch.
I used a jigsaw to cut the arch out.
Full disclosure, it is NOT smooth. I'm not great with a jigsaw to begin with and this had a lot of tricky curves. But it's good enough for what we need, so I'm going with it!
To cut out the inside of the feet I drilled a hole and then was able to fit my jigsaw inside of it to cut the hole out!
Use your first cut arch as a stencil to create your second arch and then do it all again!
Be sure to sand the edges down well!
I did shades of gray on mine, but you can do any colors you want, or leave it plain. I would suggest doing a polyurethane coat in case you have a chewer. If you're going to leave it outside, be sure to use an outdoor sealant!
Drill the pocket holes.
Use your kreg jig to make two pocket holes on each side of the inside of each slat. So each board will have four pocket holes, 2 on each side.
Attach the slats to the arch.
Using wood glue and pocket screws, attach the rungs to the arch.
I did all one side first, but looking back I should have attached them to both arches simultaneously.
By doing all one side first it made the other side kind of wonky. But it still works so whatever way you do it will probably be fine!
Once you have your slats attached you're done!
I would suggest sanding down the rungs to make them smoother. I didn't do that at first and I think the sharp-ish edges hurt Leo's feet.
As you can see, it's not perfect. The rungs aren't evenly spaced (I eyeballed it) and the arches are definitely not smooth. But it's sturdy and it works, and that's all we really needed!
You can also turn it over and use it as a rocker, which is super fun!
This project's imperfections: Too many to count. The arches aren't straight or even. The boards were too sharp. I did a pretty terrible job with the stain. The rungs aren't evenly spaced. The rungs are all leaning a little bit. And there's glue everywhere!