January 07, 2013

Uneven Bars for American Girl doll

Overall dimensions 13 1/2" W x 19" H x 14" D

The uneven bars can be disassembled (into 9 pieces, see picture further down) so they can be stored easily e.g. in a little bag)

See my other free Gymnastic tutorials

What you need

  • glue and if available PVC primer and cement
  • Krylon Fusion (for plastic) spray paint
  • painters masking tape
  • 1/2" CPVC 8' long
  • 5/8" wooden dowel 24" long
  • 4x 90° elbow for 1/2" CPVC
  • 6x T for 1/2" CPVC
  • 4x end cap for 1/2" CPVC
  • fabric 12" x 20" (e.g. flannel) for storage bag
  • draw string for storage bag
  • white felt (3" x 7") for grips
  • small pieces of velcro for grips
  • 2x 1/2" CPVC pipe wall attachment for grips


How to make the uneven bars

1. Cut the following pieces (I used a chop saw, but you can use a hand saw too)
         2x  10 1/2"    (sides for low bar)
         2x  17"          (sides for high bar)
         4x  5"            (bottom stand)
         1x  12"          (across bottom stand)
         4x  1"            (to attach end caps)

     wooden dowel
         2x  12"          (bars)

2. Take two 5" pieces and a T connector and glue together (part A)

3. Take the other two 5" pieces and a T connector and glue together (part B)

4. Take a 1" piece and a T connector and glue it together

5. Take an end cap and glue it into the T connector with the 1" piece (part C)

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 three more times to get all 4 end caps used (parts C)

7. Take one of the wooden bars and glue a 90° elbow piece on either side, making sure they are both facing the same way and laying down level

8. Repeat step 7 for the other wooden bar

9. Let all the glue dry thoroughly before continuing

10. Now we are going to assemble it before we are gluing the last pieces in place

11. Take part A and add a part C on each end (A and the two Cs should be 90° to each other)

12. Take part B and add part C on each end (B and the two Cs should be 90° to each other,
       just like in step 11)

13. Take the 12" piece and connect it to parts A and B to form an H
14. Take the two 17" pieces and put them on the back of the H

15. Take the two 10 1/2" pieces and put them on the front of the H
16. Add the two bar pieces
17. Now that it is assembled and straight (plumb)!!! we can glue the last 4 pieces in place

18. Take one part C out and glue it pack into place making sure everything is still straight (plumb)

19. Repeat step 18 for the other three part Cs, each time making sure everything is still straight

20. Let the glue dry

21. Wrap the wooden bars in painters masking tape all around

22. Leave assembled and spray paint all of it and let dry

23. After the paint has dried completely (24h - 48h) remove the masking tape,
      You could seal the bars with a clear sealer if you want to

You are done !!!

How to make the grips

1. Cut 4 pieces of felt 3/4" x 1 3/4"

2. Top stitch 2 pieces together, repeat for the other 2 pieces

3. Take 1/2" double folded bias tape and cut 4 pieces 4 1/2" long (or make your own: 1 1/2" wide 18" long, fold long sides in 1/4" then fold in half)

4. Cut 4 small piece of Velcro (rough and soft side)

5. Sew soft end of Velcro on one side of the bias tape piece, turn bias tape piece over and sew rough end of Velcro on the opposite end. Now you will have Velcro on both ends but on opposite sides of the bias tape

6. Repeat step 5 for the other three bias tape pieces

7. Sew on bias tape pieces as shown

8. Take the CPVC 1/2" pipe holder and cut one side of and sand off all roughness

9. Hand sew CPVC holder onto fleece (see picture in step 7)

You are done !!!

How to make the bag

1. Cut a piece of fabric 12" x 20"
2. Zigzag all around
3. Fold long sides together (right sides together) that you will have 6" x 20"
4. Sew bottom short side and continue on to long side sewing up to 3" from the top
5. Fold over seams from long side then double hem the top side (3/4")
6. With safety pin thread draw string through double hem and knot both ends

You are done !!!

For more Gymnastics items see my blog


  1. Thank you for wonderful tutorial. Love the hand grips! - Liese

  2. Thank-you!! Your tutorials are wonderful. You are so generous to share your ideas.

  3. Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate it.

  4. cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool

  5. Where do you find the pvc pipe holders for the straps? I can only find metal ones, lowes did not have either kind. Thanks!

    1. I got mine at HomeDepot, they are called tube strap size 1/2". HomeDepot's SKU # 889318. Hope that helps.

  6. thank you for sharing!! what a genius mind you have! thoughtful! my girls are going to freak!

    1. I am blushing... Thank you very much. Have fun !

  7. how much does it cost

    1. I got my stuff at HomeDepot. I can't remember how much I paid but it should be less than $10.

  8. Great tutorial. Just made one for my granddaughters, now need to make mat. Can you please tell me what you used to make mat? Thanks

    1. I don't know what the fabric is exactly called. I got it at JoAnn Fabrics. It is a vinyl covered fabric, but quite soft, it could be used for a rain jacket. For the filling I used quilters batting, but I would recommend 1/2" foam (I just didn't have it at the time I made it). Hope that helps.

  9. i thought that was awesome i want to make it i want my dad to help me

  10. WOW!
    This is awesome! However, either I'm looking at the wrong items, or prices have gone up considerably since you made this, cause just ONE 90 degree elbow at HD is listed at $5.34!! (http://www.homedepot.com/p/KBI-1-2-in-CPVC-CTS-90-Degree-Elbow-RCE-0500-S/204186758#.UnKoQHbn85s ) Sigh

    1. I just went on HomeDepot's web site and there a 10 pack costs $1.97.
      Hope that helps

  11. Just curious. Why cpvc instead of regular.

    1. I was not able to find PVC in 1/2", only CPVC in 1/2".
      If you can find PVC in 1/2", by all means use it, if it is cheaper.

  12. what are the dimensions of the mat

    1. 12" x 24 1/2" x 1/2" , see my tutorial on the floor mat

  13. Do you mean plumb for straight or even? Just wondered since you said "plump"

    1. Ups, sorry. Yes I meant plumb. Thanks for pointing it out. I will fix it in my blog.

  14. Hello ! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful project. I am in the middle of making this for my daughter. So far the hardest part has been taking the lid off the glue. LOL I have a question. I do not understand how I am to glue a 5/8" dowel rod into a 1/2" elbow. The dowel rod is much smaller than the hole. Again, thank you! Lori**

    1. 1/2" CPVC has actually an outside diameter of 5/8". Hope that helps.

    2. AGDollFan, I bought CPVC 1/2", the 5/8" dowel and elbows and Ts for 1/2" cpvc. However, how can the two 12" long 5/8" dowels fit into the 1" long piece of 1/2 cpvc? The inside of the 1/2" cpvc is more like 3/8", not 5/8". I already bought and cut the pieces. I went to assemble them and it doesn't fit.

    3. Nevermind! I realized it was a different tutorial based off yours that gave instructions to cut 1" piece and put the dowels into those. I just can't understand how *she* doesn't understand that 5/8" dowel *cannot* fit inside a 1/2* cpvc pipe. The measurement of cpvc pipe is the inside and if the inside is 1/2", then 5/8 can't fit into it. I just messaged her. I think she must have bought either a 3/8" dowel or larger cpvc piping.

  15. Do you have to make it with pipes

    1. No, not necessarily but it is the easiest way.

  16. on a scale of one to ten how sturdy was this? also on a scale of one to ten how much did the kid (the one this was meant for...I'm not saying you're the one playing with it or that you're a kid) enjoy it? I'm considering doing this, but I'm not sure if it would get satisfactory results, if the person this was meant for didn't enjoy this (or, not as much as some).

    thank you!

    1. It is very sturdy, especially if you would glue all pieces (but then you can't take it apart for storage). My daughter loves playing with it. Hope that helps

  17. The whole supply list cost under $18.00 and it took less than 30 mins to assemble.

  18. The whole supply list cost under $18.00 and it took less than 30 mins to assemble.

  19. I just assembled the uneven bars. Soooo easy!!! And my granddaughter is gonna freak! Thanks so much!!!I got everything at Lowe's for like $10-$12. The grips look a little harder,but I'll get them a try. Just got back from AG Columbus where she paid $85 for the gym set.AAAAAAA+++++++

  20. I chose to replace the 5" pieces for 7" pieces. Adds 4" of clearence between the two bars. This allows for the doll's feet to clear the low bar when swinging around on the high bar. My 7yr old LOVES this bar set. Thank you for sharing your great (and creative) ideas!

  21. Love your awesome ideas. You are very creative. Works great.