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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Decorative Ladder - a tutorial

On one of our living room walls, we have our decent looking white thermostat, and some other super ugly 70's inspired brown box thing that I think is supposed to help control the moisture in the air. The thermostat is easy to ignore, but the other thing stands out like a sore thumb, and I hate it.

I've known for a couple of years, now, what I wanted to do to cover it, but had no luck. I would arrive at a garage/estate sale to see somebody walking out with "my" gorgeous old ladder. A few months ago, I gave up and decided to make my own.

I know I took some pictures while making this, but I can't seem to find them.  If/when I do find those, I'll add them to this post.  For now, I'll do my best to describe what I did.

(2) 8' long 2x4 studs - I looked for ones that weren't in the best shape, but also weren't falling apart
3" wood screws - I like the black ones
(2) dowels that are about 1.5"x4' - Hobby Lobby had 3' dowels, but Menard's had 4' dowels for the same price
Tape measure
Chisel or something to drill a hole about 1/2" deep and the same circumference as your dowels
Drill bit to pre-drill screw holes

1. Take your dowels and cut them into (6) 16" sticks. 
2. Along the 4" side on each of your 2x4 studs measure 1/2" from the bottom and mark.  Draw a line from that mark to the opposite bottom corner.  (Look at the image below)  Cut along your line.
3. Now it's time to mark where you want the holes for the dowels.  I found it was easiest to lay my studs (hehe!) side by side to make sure the slanted ends will be facing the same way when the ladder is assembled.  Measure 6" from the bottom and make your mark half way across the width at 6".  Measure 12" up from that mark and make another one.  Continue that way until you have a mark for each of the 6 dowels.  See diagram below:
4.  Chisel or drill holes that are about 1/2" deep and the same circumference as your dowels.  I used a chisel, so I used one of my dowels as a pattern to draw my circles first.
5. In the center of each of the holes, and in the center of each end of your dowels, drill a screw hole.  On the studs, your screw holes need to be drilled all the way through.  In the dowels, the holes should be about 1.5" deep.
6.  Insert the dowels into their spots and screw into place.
7.  Stain or paint your new decorative ladder, then place and decorate!

Linking up here and:


The DIY Show Off

Tute yourself tuesday red and white

Like the pillow in the photo? I'll be doing a tutorial soon...and I'll have a confession to make regarding that very pillow!


  1. Nice job! Looks like an old ladder to me! I would not have guessed you made it!

  2. Great idea to make one yourself. :) I think yours looks like the "real thing". Thanks for the tutorial as well!

  3. So cool, I would have never thought to make one myself! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Love it! They had a bunch at Anthro that I wanted. Maybe I will try this!

  5. good job in making this ladder! when I first saw this link, I thought it was going to be how to decorate the ladder,not how to build it. in the photo it totally looked like an old ladder rescued from someone's barn.....

  6. What an amazing job you did making this ladder to appear old. I love it!

  7. Wow ~ I'm impressed!! It looks awesome!!

  8. I have been searching Craigslist and Ebay for an old wooden ladder. I believe you may have just inspired me to make my own!! Thanks for the tute!!

    Hugs ~~ Suz

  9. Thank you all for your kind comments!


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