Shiplap Dog/Baby Gate

5 Materials
4 Hours

Create a functional gate that ties into your modern farmhouse decor that is easy to make and friendly toward your budget!

Materials and supplies

You have a few options as far as your materials. For the frame, I used 1''x4'' pine boards. For my panels, I used MDF as I already had a large sheet on hand (this was a quarantine project!), and I did not want my gate to be heavy. You could also use 1/4'' plywood, or even additional 1x4"s depending on how heavy duty you needed your gate to be.


  • 2 - 1x4" pine boards at 8 foot length
  • 1 sheet of 1/4'' MDF or Plywood
  • 2 - National Hardware 8/25-in Black Gate Hinges (Lowes)
  • 1 - National Hardware Steel-painted Gate Latch (Lowes)
  • Liquid nails or wood glue
  • Paint and primer ( I prefer BIN oil based primer)
  • Paint brush
  • Foam roller (optional)
  • Sand paper or sanding block (I used 80 grit and 120 grit)
  • 1.5'' pocket hole screws
  • Drywall screws
  • 1'' brad nails.
  • Heavy duty drywall anchors


  • Table saw or circular saw with guide
  • Miter saw (optional)
  • Brad nail gun
  • Drill
  • Pocket hole system
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
Measure and cut your frame

The measurements of your frame will depend on the opening width. My gate is for the bottom of my landing, which is a bit wider than a standard door. I also have a very tall German Shepherd, so I made mine a bit taller at 40.5" so he could not jump it, but so that it sat right under the hand rail. My cuts were 43" for the horizontal pieces, and 32.5" for the vertical pieces (40.5 minus 4" each for the top/bottom vertical pieces).

*remember to account for the 4" width of each top and bottom horizontal piece of your frame when determining how tall to make your vertical pieces.

TIP - Make sure to take into account any handrails, trim pieces, etc. I had first made my gate a true square, but realized that in doing so, it would hit my hand rail. Therefore I made it a bit shorter to account for this.

Drill pocket holes in the vertical pieces

Use a pocket hole system to drill two pocket holes on each end of both vertical pieces. I used my Kreg Jig as shown here.

Attach your frame pieces

Use wood glue and pocket hole screws to attach the vertical frame pieces to the horizontal frame pieces. Double check that it is square by measuring opposite corners. The measurements should be the same.

Measure and cut the "shiplap" panel strips

Decide how wide each panel strip should be by taking the height of the vertical frame piece and dividing by 5.

My vertical frame pieces are 32.5', so my panels came to be 6.5'' each. I cut these JUST under that (thickness of a nickle or saw blade) to account for the spacing we need to get the shiplap look once we assemble the gate.

Use a table saw (or circular saw with a guide) to cut your panels down to size.

TIP* - if your gate is much taller, you could do 6 panels so that they do not look too wide and take away from that "shiplap" look.

Sand the edges

The saw will make the edges of your MDF (or plywood) rough. Use a sanding block or sandpaper to smooth them down. A fine grit is better for MDF.

Lay out the panels to fit

Do a test run of your panels to be sure no tweaks are needed to the cuts. Lay them on the back side of your frame.

TIP* You could paint your boards before you attach them. I did not do this, but I think if I would have, it would have been easier to paint the edges of each board. Be sure to read through the next few steps for important tips on painting MDF!

Space your pieces

Use a nickle to space out your panel pieces. Then attach with liquid nails, and your brad nailer once the panels are spaced properly.

Optional top trim piece

I had a 1x1 trim piece laying around, so I cut to size and attached to the top. I think this gave it more of a finished look and made for a nice grab bar when opening the gate.

Sand and paint

Give the gate a final once over with sand paper to get rid of any remaining rough spots.

Now it's time to paint!


When using MDF, you do not want to use a water based paint or primer. This will cause the MDF to swell, especially on the cut edges. Be sure to use an oil based primer like Zinsser BIN if using MDF.

If you used plywood, you can use the paint of your choice, however I still recommend using the BIN primer as it gives great adhesion, and will help hide any knots in the wood.

Attach hinges

Use heavy duty drywall anchors (or drill into stud if available) to attach the hinges to the wall, then attached to the back of the gate.

Be sure to pre-drill your holes as to not split the wood.

Attach the latch and hook

Use drywall anchors to attach the latch hook to the wall. Be sure to test out placement first! You want to be able to comfortably and safely open the gate with one hand when your arms are full (such as when you're carrying a baby or puppy up the stairs!)

Pre-drill the holes for the latch into the wood and attach with screws.

Check for swing and level - then enjoy!

Once your gate is attached, make sure it swings smoothly, is nice and level, and then you are all done! Now you have a functional gate that ties in nicely with your farmhouse home decor.

TIP* With where my gate was attached, the corner could hit the wall if swung too far open. I did not want to add a chain or tension bar, so I simply added two bumper guards made for cabinets to the top and bottom edges on the hinged side to prevent any damage to my wall. You can't even see them, and they'll help out if the gate is accidentally swung too hard when opened.

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2 of 17 comments
  • Silviastar Silviastar on Jun 26, 2022

    Wow, thank you a lot for this helpful dog/baby gate guide! It's perfect for our baby and will surely make it safer for the baby to roam around the house without harming our Emotional Support Animal. We got an Emotional Support Animal Letter not long ago on, and we always worried about how the baby and the dog will behave towards each other. Now that we read your DIY guide on dog/baby gate, we will try and recreate it ourselves, and it will also make a great decoration and will fit our house's theme!

  • Donna Donna on May 27, 2023

    Great job, but the latch should not be where the kid can reach it 🤦🏻‍♀️ kind of defeats the purpose.