How to DIY an affordable Pikler Triangle: An IKEA Hack

I can see why climbing triangles or better known as Pikler Triangles are so popular. They are a whole lot of fun. And with multiple climbers, you can set up mini obstacle courses right at home. While they play on the set, kids learn to move, build balance and confidence. Can’t beat that. 

What Is A Pikler Triangle?

The Pikler Triangle was invented by Emmi Pikler, a Hungarian pediatrician, some 100 years ago. Her idea behind it was a child must be allowed freedom of movement to promote development of gross motor skills. 

Like all good things that last, her concept of a toddler climbing toy has remained largely unchanged. In fact, in the last few years, it has gain popularity and is probably on the wishlist of many new parents. Especially if you’re into creating a Montessori style environment.

There are many for sale on Amazon and there’s this beautiful transformable one on Etsy for almost $400.

Yes, they are amazing, but not every parent has a few hundred dollars to spend on one.

Blaire showed a Pikler Triangle to her husband and he designed this IKEA hack version for their kids — from a $79 IKEA crib. 

DIY Pikler Triangle from IKEA SNIGLAR crib
Photo: Blaire Wilson / The Sereveries

Materials and tools:

IKEA item used: 

1 SNIGLAR crib

Other materials:

Piano hinges 
Screws
Sandpaper
Carabiners
Rope

Tools: 

Jigsaw
Set square
Measuring tape
Miter box
Drill and Drill bit
Orbital sander

Steps for a DIY Pikler Triangle

A summary of the steps Blaire used to make a short and a tall climbing frame plus bridge.

Firstly, lay out the pieces of the SNIGLAR crib. The tall and short triangle pieces are hacked from the side panels of the crib. The bridge from the crib base. 

diy pikler triangle from IKEA SNIGLAR crib
Photo: Blaire Wilson / The Sereveries
The triangle climbers

Saw off the legs of the two short panels to make the short climber. Then, join the frames together with a piano hinge. And you’re done for the short one.

Left picture shows crib legs sawn off with handsaw. Right picture of piano hinge joining the frames
Photo: Blaire Wilson / The Sereveries

Next, get the two long side panels for the taller climbing triangle. You’ll need to reinforce the open ends with the plank for the crib front. Shorten the plank to fit between the frame. Join these two new ends with a piano hinge.

Reinforcing the DIY pikler triangle, taller climbing triangle
Photo: Blaire Wilson / The Sereveries

One thing to note is the dowel spacing which is great for a crib but too close as a ladder. Saw every other rod off for greater climbing ease. 

The bridge

Lastly, grab the crib base which forms the climbing ramp or bridge. Remove the mesh if you want or keep it on if your kid is a beginner climber.

DIY Pikler triangle with a tall and short triangle and bridge between
Photo: Blaire Wilson / The Sereveries

Remember to sand down all cut and rough areas.

Holding options

As for adjusting and holding the panels together, the Wilson’s opted for rope, with the ends held together with a carabiner. This way, they can remove the ropes easily and adjust the angles of the climbers quickly.

rope and carabiners used to secure the climbers in position
Photo: Blaire Wilson / The Sereveries

If you’re unsure of how to tie safe knots, it may be better to use other holding options like chains or notched pieces of wood planks.   

Head over to The Sereveries for a detailed step-by-step guide.

diy pikler climbing triangle
Photo: Blaire Wilson / The Sereveries

Safety notes for this DIY Pikler triangle

“Are the rungs strong enough?” one of her Instagram followers asked, “I have a big kid and I’m worried they may not be able to use this.” 

The rungs do bend a little, but not much, as seen here with her 50 pound 8-year old using the climber in real life. Blaire explains, “I’m sure if my 8 year old were to jump up and down with all his might on one rung, it could crack over time. But we wouldn’t do that with an official climber either.”

“People still need to be smart. And people still need to supervise their kids if they don’t feel comfortable with it. But I have a 2 and 5 and 8 year old who use it constantly and have been using it over the last year. No injuries or concerns. I untie the knots every time I put it away and retie them. But I also tie safe knots,” she adds.

Replicating this DIY Pikler or Climbing Triangle is at your own risk. While kids are encouraged to climb independently, it doesn’t mean without adult supervision. Stay close, but far enough for a little risky play.