I never throw away cut-offs and wood scraps! They have a special place in my small backyard, where they often prove to be little treasure troves of pain, especially when feet find them. But they are treasures nonetheless; throw-away scraps are perfect for odd jobs, and their size and shape largely dictate what you can do with them; which is how this ladder came into the world.
This ladder is not the most original DIY, but it is practical and pretty. Initially, I left it unpainted, but when I saw this West Elm version, I was convinced white paint had to be part of my ladder.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN DIY DECORATIVE LADDER
Time: 1 hour without drying between paint coats
YOU WILL NEED:
- 2 x 35mmx35mmx3.0m timber battens
- 16 wood screws
- Cold wood glue like Alcolin, or a strong wood bonding glue
- white water-based paint
- Painter’s tape or masking tape
TOOLS FOR THE JOB:
- A piece of sandpaper (or electric sander)
- Carpenter’s square
- Measuring tape
Measure and cut battens to 2x 1.5m pieces for the legs and 4x 0.5m pieces for the rungs.
Pro tip: Use a carpenter’s square to ensure the pieces are cut perfectly square. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a wonky ladder.
Sand down the pieces to the desired smoothness. I only sanded the edges, because I wanted a rougher texture.
Mark the positions of the rungs on the sides of the legs: I spaced mine 300mm apart. Remember that the rung will sit in the middle of the measurement. Drill two pilot holes for each rung, one a little higher than the other. This will prevent the wood from splitting and will ensure a stronger hold.
Put a drop of cold glue on the edges of a rung, wait a few seconds, and press it against the inside of the leg where you drilled the pilot holes. Move the wood against each other until you feel the hold securing. Use your carpenter’s square to ensure a 90-degree angle.
Fix the two screws in place for each rung and then allow the cold glue to dry.
Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each rung until your ladder is complete.
(If you want a smoother finish, now would be the time to sand!) Use painters tape to demarcate the areas the be painted. I measured 20cm from the outside leg.
Paint the sectioned area of the ladder. Allow to dry between coats until you’re happy with the finish. Lightly sand in between coats if you want a smooth modern appearance.
Pro tip: Brush away from the painter’s tape, to avoid the paint bleeding. And don’t use too much paint.😉
Remove masking tape. I love this part – it’s stressful and exciting!
Optional: Apply a clear sealant or treat the exposed wood. Wait to dry…and you’re done!
Congratulations! You are now the owner of a self-made Nordic-style ladder ready to hang your towels or blankets! Well done!