For anyone who wants to practice ballet outside of time at the studio, building a personal ballet barre is a good option. However, installing one inside the home often requires the help of a professional carpenter and can be expensive. As a less expensive alternative, consider building a free-standing barre. PVC pipe is a good choice; it's significantly cheaper than other commonly used materials such as metal or wood, and the pieces can be attached to one another without the use of tools.
Consider the space where you'll practice. Use a tape measure to decide what length of barre would be appropriate. Remember to take into account areas where doors might swing open and shut. A barre between 4 and 8 feet should be sufficient for practice.
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Use this simple test to determine the appropriate height of the barre. Stand up straight with your arms at your side, palms facing forward. Next, bend your elbow until your forearm is horizontal, making a 90-degree angle with your upper arm. Ask another person to measure the distance between your elbow and the floor. This measurement is the best possible height for your barre.
Go to a home improvement store to select piping, connecting pieces and sandbags. The diameter of the pipe depends mainly on personal preference, but it should be thick enough that it feels comfortable to hold.
Ask a store employee to cut the pipe into whatever lengths you need. Remember to take into account any extra length or height added to the pipe by the fittings, elbow joints and end caps. Also, ask the employee to "thread" the piping so that all individual pieces can be easily screwed into one another.
To begin to assemble the barre, attach a 90-degree elbow joint to each end of the main barre pipe. The open ends of both elbow joints should point downward.
Identify the two pieces of pipe that were cut to equal the desired height of your barre. Attach one of these to each elbow joint. These pipes will stand upright once your barre is completed.
With one end of each upright pipe already attached to an elbow joint, attach their free ends to the T fittings. Each fitting should be attached in such a way that it looks like an upside-down letter "T." The T fittings should be parallel to each other but perpendicular to the barre pipe.
Attach the four 1-foot sections of pipe to all four open ends of the T fittings, then place end caps on these to cover the rough pipe edges and protect your flooring.
Place the sandbags in old pillowcases to prevent sand from spilling onto the floor, and then place the bags on each of the barre's four "feet" to increase stability.
Things You'll Need
PVC pipe the desired length of barre
2 PVC pipes the desired height of the barre
2 90-degree PVC elbow joints
2 PVC T fittings
4 1-foot lengths of PVC pipe
4 end caps
4 sandbags to serve as weights