DIY Play Gym

This DIY play gym was so fun to make for my Little One. It was the perfect activity to engage him and provide him with a fun activity. This play gym is easy to make and in addition, the activities can be changed out and replaced to keep things interesting, making it very customizable. While I liked the look of the light wood, it can easily be painted to match your nursery or other colors for fun.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Gathering Supplies

To create this delightful play gym you need some wood and a couple of tools to create the basic structure. You will also need some items to hang on the gym. I will link some good options below but this is a great time to get really creative!

For the Gym
  • 4 – 1*2 pieces of pine at least 2’6″ in length.
  • 1 – 1″ dowel at least 2’6″ in length
  • Saw (either hand or electronic)
  • Drill with 1″ drill bit and a smaller bit (something like a 2/16″ but whatever is close will work)
  • Coconut oil
  • Sander and sand paper
For Activities


DIY play gym

Once you gather your supplies it’s time to start assembly. Take two pieces of 1″*2″ pine. Then line them up together to create a triangle shape. Have the pieces cross about 3 inches from the top. Find the angle that works for the pieces to create the height you would like for the gym. Use a straight edge to mark across the bottom at the desired angle. Transfer this line to the other 3 pieces. Cut along this line. This will allow the play gym to set more evenly along the floor.

Next, using the 1″ drill bit drill a hole 3″ down from the top in the center on each of the 4 pieces. This is where the dowel will be placed. Now drill a hole using the smaller drill bit 1’3″ from the top. This is where the string will go. The string will help hold things together and prevent the play gym from widening more than it should. I used a ribbon for this but you could use cording or twine. This is why I didn’t have a specific drill bit to use. Use one that will work for the type of ribbon or cording you choose to use.

The next step is to cut the dowel down to length. I chose to cut my top to 2’6″. This seemed like a good length so Little One had plenty of space to play underneath.

Sand all the pieces with a medium grit sand paper and then a finer grit sand paper. Wipe the dowels clean. Next, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a glass bowl. Using a rag, rub in the coconut oil to each of the four legs, the dowel, and any wooden rings/pieces/beads.

Putting it together

DIY play gym

This next task is the fun part -creating the activities for your Little One to play with! Test out the length each of the activities will need to hang down so it is within your Little One’s reach. Thread the wooden rings along the dowel and attach the cording or ribbon to them. Assemble the various activities using the beads, shapes and any other bits and bobs you have gathered. I even used some fabric with some animals, cut out and stuffed. This is a great way to get creative! You can also change out these activities once Little One tires of them.

To assemble the play gym lay out all the pieces. Make sure all the activities are threaded along the dowel. Insert the dowel through two pieces of the legs, ensuring the legs are situated so the angled pieces will lay flat on the floor. Next, thread the ribbon through the holes, fixing the length so that the play gym sits even.

I have found that the dowel sits tight enough that I haven’t been concerned about it shifting around. However, if it is loose you can also place a small screw through the legs into the dowel to ensure that it is steady.

DIY play gym

DIY Play Gym

The play gym is all finished! What fun for your Little One and mine! This has been a lot of fun and as my Little One has grown, I have some plans to turn it into a new fun play toy…so sit tight for that tutorial!

Have you tried making this or another DIY play gym? Let me know how it turned out in the comments below. This play gym was a great addition to our nursery, which you can check out here.

Harry Potter Growth Wall Ruler

Harry Potter Growth Wall Ruler

When planning the decorations for Little One’s nursery, I came across wall growth charts. I thought, “what a great idea!” Instead of using a door frame or the wall like I did when I was little, this ruler could be portable. My second thought was “I can make that!” Also, I wanted to include a Harry Potter element to the ruler. I found the quote “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be”, as stated by Albus Dumbledore in Goblet of Fire. So I made this Harry Potter Growth Wall Ruler.

This growth chart ruler was incredibly easy to make, so the tutorial below will be fairly quick…and the result turned out so cute! An idea I’ve been contemplating is putting heights on the ruler of some of my favorite Harry Potter characters. I may have to take to the internet to see if I could even find the heights of the characters, or at least the heights of the actors that play them. Do you think that would be a cute idea? Let me know in the comments below!

You can check out our full nursery post here.


1 piece of 1″ x 8″ x 6′ of pine. I got mine from Home Depot. When picking out the board check that it is straight and doesn’t have any large holes or gashes.

1 wood stain of your choice. I went with a lighter stain so it would be easier to see the height marks.

Sharpie marker or paint to write the quote and numbers

Sander (electric or hand) and sand paper

Screws 2″ in length

Ruler or measuring tape



Step One

Step one is measuring the piece of wood and making sure it is 6 feet in length. Trim the ends, if needed. Next, give the piece of wood a good sanding, starting with a high grit sand paper around 80 and working toward a low grit around 200. Once all the edges are smooth, dust it off to prepare for staining.

Step Two

Stain the wood using the wood stain of your choice. Use a paint brush or a clean rag to rub the stain on the the wood, going with the grain of the wood. Once complete, use another clean rag to wipe off any excess stain and allow it to dry completely.

Step Three

Using a ruler and a pencil, measure and lightly draw out on the left side of the growth chart the ticks at every inch from bottom to top on the board (6 feet in all). The 6th tick, which should be 12 inches from the floor, should be longer and a number 1 can be written next to it to indicate 1 foot. Keep measuring up every inch and then draw in the ticks with paint or a sharpie. (Keep in mind that because the growth chart will be secured into the wall 6 inches off the floor, and the bottom edge of the board will be the start, the first tick an inch up from the bottom edge will measure at 7 inches high). Continue marking ticks at inch intervals until you reach 6 feet at the top of the board.

Step Four

Using a pencil, lightly draw out the quote vertically on the right side of the board. Next, using paint or a sharpie go over the pencil. This writing part can be customized to your style. You could go with bold lettering, script lettering, or something completely different. For mine, I chose a book text that looks Harry Potter-esque.

Step Five

Drill pilot holes toward the top and bottom of the growth ruler in its center. Mount it to the wall using the 2″ screws and drywall anchors, if needed.

Finally, measure your little ones for years to come!

Let me know what you think of this Harry Potter Growth Wall Ruler in the comments below.

Harry Potter Nursery

With unlimited ideas available to us for our Little One’s nursery, we were originally set on Winnie the Pooh…wait, what? Yes, Winnie the Pooh, due to the fact that I have a giant Pooh from my childhood. We were both excited because we had a lot of ideas. Excited, that is, until my husband was standing in the future nursery and said (with a grin and magic in his eyes) “What about Harry Potter?”. Well it didn’t take much and I was sold! So I took to Pinterest to find ideas for a Harry Potter Nursery. I did’t want anything too over the top and preferred something that could fairly easily transition into different themes, if Little One chooses to do so.

In the end we went for a Harry Potter/owl/starry night direction. I’d like to share some of our favorite elements of Little One’s nursery, which we have since named the Owlery.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Projects for Nursery

Some of the projects for the Owlery were DIY efforts while other items were purchased…follow links and descriptions below if you find something you like!

Harry Potter Nursery

Craft Projects

Flying Key Mobile. Any Potterhead should be familiar with the flying keys from the end of Sorcerer’s Stone. Little One loves laying in his crib watching the keys fly around! See a tutorial here.

Hogwarts Painting. After believing we were all set with Little One’s Owlery, we noticed that it needed something more. For a solution, I created this painting of Hogwarts with extra canvas that I had.

Dumbledore quote. I love this Dumbledore quote – “In dreams we enter a world that’s entirely our own”. I’ve had this frame for many years and with some water colors, I created this image for the Owlery.

Quilt. I created this lap quilt with triangles channeling the design of the Deathly Hallows.

Harry Potter Nursery

Woodworking Projects

Growth Ruler. To track the height of our Little One as he grows up, we created this growth chart. We chose an inspirational quote by Albus Dumbledore that reads vertically – “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” See a tutorial here.

Toy Chest. This toy chest is an heirloom from my husband’s childhood. In order to keep its integrity, we just sanded it down and gave it a coat of stain.

Dresser. I have had this dresser for years. To freshen it up, we painted it white and put the changing pad on top of it.

Wall Decals/Pictures

You Are So Loved wall decal. We found this fantastic decal on Etsy. I love this quote from the books because this is a statement that Lily says to Harry when he is a baby, even though they were in a tragic situation. We both believe it is important for our Little One to have a constant reminder that we love him.

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good. We found this awesome decal on Target. This is a classic Harry Potter quote. I have a full review of the wall decal here.

House Animal Pictures. We found these prints on Etsy via Pinterest. Unfortunately, these prints are no longer available from this particular seller. Luckily, there are many other prints available elsewhere on Etsy that are very cute! We printed them on our home printer and put them in classic white frames from Michael’s.

Lumos/Nox Light Switch Cover. We found this light switch cover on Etsy, it adds a bit of whimsy to detail that might get over looked. You can find a similar one here.

Harry Potter Nursery

Decor Items

Crystal ball curtain rod. We purchased this one from Target. I thought the crystal balls on the ends of the rod were relevant nods to divination classes at Hogwarts.

Hufflepuff-themed rug. We found our striped, gray and yellow, 100% cotton rug on Wayfair. Although aesthetically I love this rug, I probably wouldn’t get it again if I had the chance. I found that it is difficult to clean, especially considering it stains easily (the instructions say to get it professionally cleaned, but who has the time for that?). Also, the instructions say to sweep debris off with a broom instead of vacuum, although we do use the vacuum cleaner without the brush roll. Overall, it’s an extra effort to keep clean.

Star sheets. You can purchase these adorable star sheets at Target.

Curtains. We found these simple black out white curtains at Wayfair.

Dobby socks. My co-workers created this as a gift at the Harry Potter-themed baby shower they hosted for me…thanks ladies!

Triwizard Tournament night light. When we found this night light at Target, we just had to have it! It gives a great low light, which is perfect for those midnight diaper changes.

We love the Owlery and spend a lot of time playing in it. Our design has created a calm environment with a hint of magic that will hopefully stay with Little One for years to come! What do you think of this Harry Potter nursery, comment below.

Harry Potter Nursery