How to Make a DIY Ballet Barre for Home Use
If you have ever wanted to create a ballet studio in your own home, you will want to install at least one ballet barre. Building a ballet barre at home allows aspiring ballerinas and the many fans of ballet-inspired exercises to work out and achieve a dancer's physique.
The good news is that with these tips and tricks, it is possible to have your very own at-home ballet studio up and running in no time at all.
You will need a few items to get started:
- A 2-inch wooden dowel
- A measuring tape
- A level
- Ballet barre brackets
- Power drill
Some other items you might need:
- A stud finder
- Anchor bolts
Here are six steps to help you make a ballet barre at home.
Step 1: Decide Where the Barre Is Going to Be Installed
Choosing which wall will be a personal choice and will most likely depend on how much room you have to spare.
The barre can be as short as two feet or as long as your workout room will allow. There should be enough room to move the leg forward and away from the wall. If you are building this for growing children, you may want to consider future use.
Once you have picked out the best location, it's time to measure.
Step 2: Measure the Length the Finished Barre Will Be
How long does a home ballet barre have to be? This is a common question, and it all depends on how much wall space you have. The longer the barre, the more brackets you will need to brace it.
Have this pre-measured number first. The reason why it’s often easier to have the barre pre-measured is so the hardware store can cut the wooden dowel to the size you need. I found this super handy; one less tool to have to buy or rent.
Tip: Call ahead to the hardware store to make sure they can cut the dowel for you. Almost all of the chain stores offer this feature, but it is best practice to check ahead of your visit.
Step 3: Prepare the Wooden Dowel
Don't skip this simple but effective process. Sand the dowel and remove any loose stickers.
I found out that sanding before installing with some inexpensive sandpaper, easily purchased at any local hardware store, was/is a necessary and simple step, often overlooked.
Sometimes additional sanding from time to time is needed as the barre is used, and you may find spots you missed smoothing with the initial sanding.
Finishing the wooden dowel for the barre can be done with stains or paint. It's a little tricky to dry, but one way to hold the dowel in place while you paint or stain it is to hammer a nail into each end. Then hang each nail on a chair. Be careful and tap the nail in the end. Go slowly so that you don't split the wood.
Tip: A good alternative to a wooden dowel is white PVC piping. It is lightweight, easy to cut, readily available, and not too expensive.
Step 4: Measure the Ballet Barre Height
Measure from the floor up the wall 36 inches. The 36-inch mark is the height of the barre. Measure about every foot down the length of your chosen wall.
Tip: If you are building this for a small child, you want the height lowered, maybe 24 inches. Use your best judgment.
Step 5: Measuring for Wall Brackets
Next, you will need to find the studs in the wall. The studs are going to support the brackets, which will support the barre. It's a good idea to have a bracket supporting the barre about every four to five feet.
Current construction in most areas requires a stud in the wall every 16 to 24 inches. One technique, locate an electrical box on the wall. Inside the wall, the electrical box is attached to a wooden stud. Tap on the wall on each side of the box, and you will notice a hollow sound on the side without a stud. From this point, you can measure along the wall 16 to 24 inches from where you found the stud holding the electrical box, tap around, and see if you can "hear" the next stud. Mark all of the studs with a pencil or pen along the wall where you are going to hang the barre.
If you cannot locate the studs, the next course of action is to use a stud finder. Use the stud finders as the manufacturer suggests, and mark the studs.
In the worst-case scenario, there are no studs. You will need to install anchor bolts first. The anchor bolts will act as studs and hold the dowel in place.
I did not have to do this, but I included this how-to video below in case you need to go this route.
Step 6: Installing the Ballet Barre Brackets
Now that you have located the studs, lay the wooden dowel on the floor below where it will be hanging on the wall.
Find the stud markings and locate the 36-inch high mark also. Take one bracket and grab your level.
Hold the bracket on the 36 inches mark from the floor mark and the stud. Take your level and make sure it is level with the floor. Mark the bracket screw holes with a pencil. It is beneficial to mark it in case you have to leave and come back to the project.
Using your power drill and the screws that came with the brackets, hold the bracket to your level spot on the wall and drill into the drywall through the stud. Use extreme caution, do not hit any electrical wiring, and stay on the studs.
An alternative to traditional ballet barre brackets is a set of closet rod brackets. I use the bracket that the dowels threaded through, like the Collared Ballet Barre Mounting Bracket. The collar made it sturdier and prevented any movement.
Complete all of the brackets necessary to hold up the barre.
Alternative Options to Consider
If you don’t have enough floor or wall space for a barre, there are some other options. There are freestanding barres for those who don’t have wall space. A third option is a handy, portable, collapsible barre, which is easy to transport. My favorite, the Portable Double Freestanding Ballet Barre, is great for breaking down when I needed the room for other purposes or when I wanted to move the workout area to a new room.
A freestanding ballet barre is manufactured of aluminum and comes in a kit that you put together at home. The base is sturdy and seems to do the trick for single users. It is a great option, but if you need even more options, like the ability to move the barre from room to room or house to house, the portable might be a better option.
Portable ballet barres are shorter, usually about four feet long, and the barre is removable. The barre is taken out, and then the two legs and barre are transported easily. Because of the shorter size and the collapsing features, it can fit in the back of a larger car, SUV, or a small pickup.
How to Make a DIY Portable Barre
It is relatively inexpensive to build a ballet barre. All of the components can be purchased at any hardware store. The only downside, I thought, was gluing the pieces together. Optionally, you can build it with one barre or two. Here are the instructions for making a single barre, but the video shows you a good example of a two-barre setup. You will need:
- Four 12-inch pieces of plastic PVC pipe
- Two pieces of PVC cut to the height you need. The corner joints will add about two inches, so factor that into the end cut.
- Six 90-degree elbow PVC joints
- Two T joints
- PVC glue
- Furniture floor protectors or foam
Dry fit the pieces together first to make sure they fit together correctly. If everything looks good, glue the finished product together. Stick on or glue the floor protectors to the bottom of the legs.
How to Install a Ballet Barre to a Cement Wall
This process is similar to attaching a barre to drywall, but it does require a special drill and bolts or screws.
Mark and measure the height for your barre. Then mark where you want the brackets to go. Hold the brackets up to the wall and mark the holes. Use a level to make sure the brackets will be level. Rent or buy a hammer drill. You will need a masonry drill bit. Drill the holes. You can use anchor bolts made specifically for concrete or cement screws to attach the brackets. Make sure they fit in the predrilled holes in the bracket. Attach the ballet barre brackets, insert the dowel, and you are done.
Watch a helpful video below.
Muhammad Abdullah on April 14, 2019:
Not a ballet fan but reading your article was fun ...