Mikea – DIY Birthday Presents

My awesome daughter’s birthday is this week. She is into gymnastics and really wanted contortion bars and a balance beam for her birthday.

This was also a good reason to turn my basement into a workout room, with her exercise equipment. This meant cleaning the basement and the adjacent garage.

Not having $400 (estimate) to spend on such items, I made the decision to DIY them.

The balance beam seemed relatively straight forward. A 4×4, couple 2x4s and padding….

Contortion bars …. there seem to be a googleplex of DIY options. I went with copying this guy…. John Park.

Here is his blog with instructions: https://jedgarpark.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/making-handbalancing-canes/

Being 48 years old, I decided to stop borrowing my buddy’s tools. I bought a miter saw off facebook for $25.

I had some leftover memory foam in my basement. I figured that would be great padding. It was dirty from being in the basement for six years, so I put it in the washing machine on gentle cycle.

That was a mistake. It broke apart into many pieces. Cleaning the washing machine out was not fun. There was one large piece remaining that could be used for the padding for the beam.

Saturday morning I ran to Lowe’s and bought the supplies. $63. They cut the wood there for me πŸ™‚ .

I got home and decided that I needed to buy the 8′ beam instead of the 6′ beam. And I forgot two of the floor flanges for the bars. Another $16.

I decided to use duct tape to adhere the memory foam to the balance beam. I wrapped the whole thing in duct tape after going to Walmart and buying more of the thick Gorilla tape ($14). It was ugly and not very good “surface finish.”

Looking at a few DIY sites for balance beams, I saw that carpet padding worked best. My memory foam was a bad idea.

So I ran to Hobby Lobby in Janesville to buy material ($18) for the beam. I went with red flannel. While in Janesville I bought the carpet padding ($26) and a Dewalt staple gun ($25).

Saturday night I put everything together and it looked great. I decided to go with some spray paint for the finishing touches. Sunday morning, after church, I ran to Home Depot and bought gold and black metal-flaked spray paint. $11

Later in the day, I ran back to Home Depot for one more can of the black flaked paint ($6).

So on my daughter’s birthday…. when she wakes up, I will ask her to go down to the basement to grab some venison bacon out of the freezer. The basement will be decorated with her presents and our new workout room.


I am pretty excited about it.

Total cost = $25 + 63 + 16 + 14 + 26 + 25 + 11 + 6 + $10(gas) = $196

Knowing how excited my daughter will be about her dad building her these things … πŸ™‚ priceless πŸ™‚

One more thing … I have a used miter saw for sale … $50. Let me know.


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