Phase 1 of my home studio!
Over the weekend, Boyfriend and I built me a ballet barre! Well, it was more like Boyfriend built it, but it was my idea, and I helped. I did such useful things as find the instructions online and hold on to the freshly-cemented pieces while they were fitted in with the other freshly-cemented pieces. Oh, and I tested it out!
For the longest time now I’d been wanting a ballet barre to practice with. I’ll just say right now that practicing with a barre is so much more fun than using a countertop or the wall (which is what I’d been using for the past 2.5 years)! Like, every single time I pass by it I can’t resist doing a whole bunch of plies and releves, or port de bras. I’m as excited as a kid with a new toy!
At home we took some rough measurements (I wanted the low barre to be at a good height for me to get my leg on to stretch, and the high barre to be a comfortable height for placing my hand without my shoulder riding up), and then headed to the hardware store. We’d already decided that we were going to make the whole thing out of PVC pipes, to keep it lightweight, portable and – most importantly – affordable. So, we get down to the hardware store, and I’m so excited, probably the most excited I’ve ever been at a hardward store. Though I’m sure the day we go get my mirrors I’ll be real excited too. The hardware store has nice floors to practice turns on, by the way, and I couldn’t resist doing a bunch of pique turns and soutenus. Fun!
We added up the measurements, and decided we needed to get 2 10ft long 1 1/4 pvc pipes. It just added up to 20 ft perfectly. We needed to get it cut though, so we asked the guy working there if he could cut it for us, since the store had already confirmed that they do offer the service of cutting. He gave us such a hard time! He asked us “What are you trying to make?” (Boyfriend hates it when they ask that, lol), and Boyfriend’s like “It’s called a ‘barre’.” and the guy looked lost, so he showed him a picture. The guy’s then asks “What are you going to hang from that?” and Boyfriend’s answers “Legs!”. I couldn’t help butting in and saying “No! If you’re hanging off the barre you’re doing it wrong! Go back and try something easier and build more strength first!” LOL. Anyway, Boyfriend just told the guy he was going to mark off the different sections at the various measured lengths, and then the guy could cut it. So without any further delays we bought or cut lengths of PVC pipe, the elbow and t-shape connectors and a small bottle of cement glue. Total came out to the very reasonable price of $30 and change – a fraction of what some pre-made barres online are going for.
Putting it together for a test fit went smoothly. Then we put it together with the cement glue. The fumes were so strong, even with two fans going at the same time. The instructions had said to do this in a well-ventilated area and he was not kidding! I think if we hadn’t had the windows open and the fans running we would have started hallucinating little ballet dancing hippos or something…
Anyway, I couldn’t wait to try out the barre the second it was assembled, but Boyfriend suggested that I wait until the glue had time to dry. It was one of those delayed gratification things…
But that was then! Been using it intermittently throughout the days since. I’ve only had one full-length practice session with it (I don’t like to go all out on the same days I have class), but as I mentioned earlier, I’ve done countless plies, releves, stretches and port de bras. So far it’s been working out great! Boyfriend mentioned wanting to add some non-slip thingies to the bottom of the feet to keep it in place, but so far it’s definitely not the flimsiest barre I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.
Some pics! Don’t mind my crappy turnout and unpointed feet…
For instructions, I searched “build your own ballet barre” and we mostly went off what I found at a blog called Leotards And The Buns In Them. If you’d like to make your own barre, you can find that here:
I don’t recall him giving the exact measurements though. We used 4 1ft pieces for the legs (where we attached the feet), held together by a T connector. The T connectors are attached to a 2ft 9in section (on opposite sides of the barre), then to another T connector for the lower barre to come out of. Between the low barre and the high barre we used a 6 in piece, which when added up to the extar length for the connectors gives about 8 in between top barre and high barre. For the length of the barre we went with almost 5 ft, which seemed a good length to get to stretch on, while keeping the barre prtable. Like I mentioned earlier, it added up to 20 ft of PVC (2 10 ft pipes), and we used 6 elbow connectors and 4 T connectors.
If you’re feeling fancy and PVC alone just isn’t cutting it for you, I also found some instructions that include wood as well as PVC. It looks nice, but just too much effort (and probably cash, lol) 🙂