DIY Barre–ballerinas can build too!

Before: giant pile of pipes and wood. After: beautiful ballet barre that matches my decor. Yippee!

 

I’m really excited for this post today because the project in it has changed my life. (A little dramatic, maybe, but you get the idea!) It has been so nice to be able to have a barre at home to practice my port de bras, tendus, pliés, etc. when I don’t really have time to go to a full class. I had been using my door frames and kitchen counter to balance previously and let me tell you- not so graceful looking! I had seen some Instagram posts of people using portable barres so I looked online to see where to buy one and was not super excited about price. I got to scouting for other solutions and found this lovely tutorial by Laughing Abi and I thought I’d give it a shot. As to not be horribly boring and repetitive, I’ll leave the step by step out and summarize the process and also include the little changes I made to my barre from the tutorial.

Here’s what you’ll need to replicate my barre:

  • Six 1 1/4 inch PVC cross joints
  • Four 1 1/4 inch PVC elbow joints
  •  Two  30 inch long 1 1/4 inch PVC  pipes (I made my barre at 43 inches because I’m tall. In order to change the height of the top barre, adjust the lengths of PVC that are 30 inches.)
  • Two 6 inch long 1 1/4 inch PVC pipes
  • Four 12 inch long 1 1/4 inch PVC pipes
  • Two closet rods or wooden dowels between 1 1/8 inches and 1 1/4 inches in diameter… these should be around 6 feet long in the store.
  • 8 screws
  • Spray paint (I used Valspar Perfect Finish Gloss in “Tropical Oasis”)
  • PVC glue (I used Christy’s Red Hot Blue Glue)

What you’ll want to do is assemble the 2 of the 12 inch pieces together with a cross in the center and an elbow on each end. Repeat for the other side. I glued all of those joints together for extra sturdiness. It’s optional but if you choose to do it, make sure you work fast because that glue dries in a heartbeat! From there stick the long pieces (mine were 30 inches) into the cross you just attached the 12 inch pieces to. You’ll then add a cross to the end of that. Repeat for the other side. Now you can slide in your first barre! Now insert the 6 inch pieces into the top cross joints. Add the final cross joints to the tops of those and now slide in your first barre. This is where I took mine apart again to paint it. After the paint was dry I put the barres back in where I wanted them and instead of using foam as suggested on the tutorial, I screwed through the cross joints into the wooden barre. This was my dad’s suggestion to help the whole thing from wobbling side to side. I did a screw on each side of the cross joints (8 total). I then carefully sprayed those teal as well. That’s more or less it! It was simple, sorta fun, and fast. I think I managed to finish the entire project in under two hours which isn’t bad for something I get so much use out of.

In progress.

 

Overall, I’m pretty pleased. It made practicing at home a lot easier. It also has come in handy for stretching! I must say, because of how lightweight it is it isn’t super sturdy. This means that you can’t really put much weight on it, it’s really only good for adding some balance to what you are doing. In the end, that’s really what a barre is for anyway so it is helpful not only to help you keep balanced but also to remind you not to use the barre to hold you up. Make that supporting leg do some work! 🙂 I also added a big piece of cardboard left over from when we had some bark delivered for our landscaping in order to keep my shoes from getting scuffed on the flooring. It also comes in handy for practicing in the bedroom, where we have carpet. The combo has become my own little studio that all tucks behind my dresser when I’m not using it which is perfect for how small our place is.

Using my barre for pliés and stretching in my kitchen which is right across from a full length mirror.

So there you have it! An easy, affordable, and portable ballet barre that you can make yourself. I honestly am glad that I made it. If you decide to give it a whirl, let me know how it works out! Do you have any other suggestions for ballet at home?

-Caysie

__________________________________________________
  • This is so cool!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!! I definitely want one! Do you mind if I ask how much the whole thing costs?

    • Caysie

      Not at all! Depending on materials you choose (for example if you opt to use PVC at the barre as well, if you decide to use the glue, if you skip painting it, etc) it costs between $40 and $60. I think out the door mine cost about $55 but I, according to my dad, picked out some random items that I could have gotten cheaper but I’m not a home depot expert. 😉 I wouldn’t necessarily call it “cheap” but if you look at portable barres on amazon they’re like $140! No thanks… haha.

    • Kristen

      Mine cost me around $35 since it was completely made out of PVC pipe and I had an expert with me as well (my dad) for my trip to the home store, otherwise I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to figure out the exact amount of pipe I need (my dad calculated exactly how much we needed haha and we didn’t have any extra). I’m pretty sure my dad already had the glue as well, so I saved on that.

      I’ve seen other people make their barres out of galvanized pipe, which ends up being more expensive but a lot sturdier. Plus, it’s still cheaper than portable barres online.

  • Very cool! I may just have to build one of those!

  • Ohhh my that looks awesome!! I’ve been searching on the internet for a barre but those things are expensive… May need to ask my BF to help me with this because I have two left hands, haha 😀

    • Caysie

      Let me know how it works out if you do try it! It’s shockingly not that hard. My dad helped me plan it but then took a nap so I was left alone for a few hours. I was too impatient to wait for him to wake up and did it on my own haha. I was surprised at just how simple it was!

  • So happy to see my daughter’s ballet barre was useful to you! Thank you so much for the shout out and giving credit to the source. I’m planning to show my husband your idea about the screws instead of foam. Also, love the color you used. Beautiful job!

    abi

    • Caysie

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It was a wonderful tutorial that you had and I couldn’t help but share! 🙂

  • MMM

    I just had my husband build me one very similar! We used a stair banister cut in half and only made a single barre. I’m so excited to start using it at home.

  • Fabulous idea, I’m definitely going to have to have a go at making this!! LOVE it. The gym I work at bought me harlequin barres for the studio, super expensive and not very portable!!! Plus I love the fact you can chose whatever colour you like

  • Mileyva Ortiz

    This idea is great! Thanks to you and Laughing Abi I can pursue ballet practice at home! This DIY barre looks easier to disassemble for when I decide to move too! I started and ultimately fell in love with ballet three months ago and have been scourging the internet for portable barres. What I ran into were overpriced wooden barres that didn’t look very sturdy or the assembly required so much work there was no point in taking it apart for when I moved. I can’t wait to build this barre!

  • stargirl

    Maybe it’s just me but I can’t see the pictures on this post anymore since the site update 🙁 This is a great idea though! I would love to try it.

    • Kristen Gillette

      That’s weird. I’ll look into that.

      • stargirl

        Oops, turns out I just had to delete cookies. I can see them now!

        • Kristen Gillette

          Hmmmm. I went in and updated the images, so I’m not sure if it’s that or cookies! Please let me know if it happens to you on any other post!

  • Alexia Alexander Wight

    Hey, you said you made your barre 43″ because you’re tall – I’m also quite tall (6’2″) and trying to work out exactly what height I should make my barre. I’m leaning towards going for 45″ height, partially because that’s what I see online as the high end of barre heights. How did you work out the height of your barre?

  • Natalia

    Caysie, thank you so much for your blog and this post – (I just started ballet at 40 y.o.! – always wanted to but never could, and I LOVE it, even as a part of me continues to wonder if it is “worth” it now” but I digress – I wanted to know what height of the bar I should create for my height which is 5’6′.’ Could you be as kind to respond? thank you

  • Jimena

    Hii!!
    just came across this and I’m getting ready to do one for myself!! I love it and always wanted to get a barre at home to have some extra practice!
    I have a couple questions though,
    instead of the cross joints, will it be better to use”T” joints or elbow ones (for the top) or is there a specific reason that you chose to use the cross joint?

    Also what did you put on the floor? anything that you can recommend that is not too expensive?
    Thanks,

  • Paylayale

    I just made this for my wife. To make it more stable the wood bars will fit inside the PVC pipe. Cut 1.25″ off the PVC and insert them into the cross pieces for the bars, then slide the bar into into it. It will fit more snuggly and can be adjusted with tape if needed.