balance beam for home

How to Build a Padded Balance Beam for Gymnastics at Home

Balance beams are an important aspect of gymnastics and require a great amount of skill and rehearsal. The best way to hone in your skills, is to own a balance beam at home.

If you’re short on cash or feeling creative, why not make a balance beam to practice at home?

There are three main types of balance beams…

On-Ground, which are usually made from a foam type fabric and are best used for beginners.

Off-ground balance beams are made from wood they can either be low down to the floor, or raised in the air around 15”.

This is the type of balance beam we’ll be looking at today, as they’re the professional-grade beams.

How to Build a Balance Beam at Home

1. Purchase the materials

To make the 8ft beam, you can glue 6 x pieces of 8ft wood together, using very adhesive wood glue.

If you’re concerned about the strength of this beam, you can also purchase a solid piece of wood, 4” wide and 5” thick.

(In this article we will be using 6 pieces of 8ft pinewood but you can also use plywood, glued together with extra strong adhesive)

Any DIY supply store should have everything else that you’ll need, including:

(6) 8ft pieces of 1-by-6 pine beams

(4) 24” pieces of 2-by-4 wooden planks

(4) 12” pieces of 2-by-4 wooden planks

Waterproof, industrial-strength wood glue

Heavy weights

Sanding paper or belt

Galvanized angle holder and screws

Screwdriver

(32) Wood screws

Synthetic suede padding with adhesive reverse

Thin layer of foam (optional)

2. Wash the surface of the wood

Wash all of the purchased wood with soap and a sponge, this ensures that all of the glue and paint will attach to the wood more securely.

be sure the wood is completely dry before beginning the next step. 

3. Glue the (6) 8ft pieces vertically together

When applying the glue, apply it very generously as this is the core of the beam, which must be extremely sturdy.

This is now your main balance beam, which will be held up by a stand.

Lay the beam down and apply heavy weights the whole length of the wood. To be sure that the glue has dried and the beam is sturdy, leave to dry for at 1 day.

 

4. Use Sandpaper to smooth the surface of the wood

Run sandpaper over each surface of the newly glued beam, the beam should feel smooth and splinter-free.

Complete this step for the remaining wooden planks used for the base.

5. Cover the beam

Cover the beam using the adhesive foam, this foam should be trimmed down first so there is little-to-no excess fabric (this would make the beam an unusual shape and risk injury).

The mats should be properly glued down on the newly sanded surface, and then reinforced with a long roofing nail or staple gun.

Once the foam is down, use the sticky suede material to cover the foam. This gives the beam a professional feel.

6. Attach the legs to the balance beam

On the underside of beam – mark out where the steel galvanized angle holders will attach. Measure 12” in from the end of each side.

Mount the angle holders.

Fasten the (4) 12” pieces of 2-by-4 into the angle holders to create the legs.

balance beam

Photo – by WikiHow

7. Attach the base

Using the (4) 24” 2-by-4 wooden planks, attach them as a base for a balanced and sturdy surface.

Attach (2) to each leg using more angle holders and screws.

8. Decorate the balance beam

Once all the screws have been fastened and the beam feels secure, use a spray paint of any color to paint the wooden legs.

For the best results, look for paints that are formulated specifically to bond to galvanized steel. This way the legs will be one syncronized color, with no metal on show. 

PLEASE TAKE CARE WHEN PRACTICING HEAVY DUTY ROUTINES ON THE BALANCE BEAM, TO AVOID INJURY USE WITH CAUTION AT FIRST.

This balance beam made by Honey Do Carpenter, goes into more detail when making a sturdy base for their balance beam. It’s a very informative video when used alongside our simple instructions.

There are plenty of  other instructions out there for the best way to make a balance beam, we hope you enjoyed/ got some inspiration from ours!

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