Balance Beam DIY - Laura Sosa

Balance Beam DIY

Have you noticed how incredibly expensive some outdoor toys are? I always think, "Holy moly! Who can afford these?". I browse online quite often looking for inexpensive toys for my boys to play with outside so they can have fun and be adventurous, but trying to find inexpensive toys that they won't outgrown within a year for our backyard seems impossible sometimes.

Insert Pinterest here!

Pinterest is my go-to for anything homemade related (especially on the cheap). I'm sure it's yours too. I might have a problem and be slightly addicted, but that's chatter for another blog post...

Anyway, I was determined to find something on that amazing social media site to make for my boys without spending a ton of money or needing a ton of tools. We don't have a huge tool collection yet, so our creating abilities are somewhat limited. Luckily, I was able to find several tutorials and sort of mesh them together with my amazing husband to come up with our own version of a multi-level balance beam DIY style.

Here are the simple instructions. I'll start with what you need first, then move on to the how to.

Supplies you'll need:
•4x4 Wood Beams
•Outdoor Carpet
•Staple Gun
•L-brackets + Straight brackets + screws
•Fabric Scissors
•Bright colored marker

First, you need to find some 4x4 beams at your local hardware store. The length is completely up to you, and with these instructions you can make it a single level beam or do the multi level like we did. Determine the length you want and also make sure you get enough 4x4 beams for the feet too. If you're like us and don't have large tools, you can request for free at your local hardware store to have them cut the beams to your desired length.

Next, you will need to wrap the beams in the outdoor carpet. We got an unlined outdoor rug for $17 at Home Depot and used the fabric scissors to cut it.

We rolled out the carpet and laid the largest beam down first, lining it up with the very edge of the carpet. We then rolled the beam over while still holding onto the carpet so it would wrap around the beam perfectly. The carpet was not attached to the beam, we just held on to it as we rolled the beam as a form of measuring how much we would need to wrap around. Once we rolled it over twice, and the carpet was around all 4 sides of the beam, we took the market and drew a line down the last side of the beam so we knew were to cut.

We then sliced it with the fabric scissors and it fit perfectly!

Next, we had to staple the carpet to the beam. The easiest way we found to do this was to place the beam in the MIDDLE of the carpet we just measured and cut so that the two ends would meet in the middle of the beam and we could staple them down at the same time. See picture below for a visual reference.

After we shot the staples in, my husband went over them with a hammer to ensure they were pushed down all the way. We repeated this step for each beam the kids were going to be balancing on.

On a side note, while you're doing the carpet step your kids will have a ball playing with the wood remaining to be used!

The next thing we did was lay out how we wanted the balance beam to sit before we put any of the brackets on. The was important to ensure everything lined up and we were putting the beams in the direction we wanted them to go. You could lay them out zig-zag, in a straight line, or in a "U" shape like we did.

The last thing to do is put the L-brackets in and drill them in! You can use long nails to hold the beams in place before you put the brackets on, but again that's a personal call. Once you put the L-brackets on it's time to put on the straight brackets. Make sure the beams are lined up evenly BEFORE you put these on.

After the beam is complete, your kids will have a ball walking on it, crawling on it, playing with toys on it, and so many more activities. Have fun with this weekend project and let me know how yours turned out!

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