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Ladder Display Shelves

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I know you've seen them, those adorable book shelves that look like ladders. I really wanted one. But, the price tags were enough to send me running from the store with my purse gripped tightly in my hands. I mean, really? $299 for one unit!
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
I mean, really? $299 for one unit!
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
When I saw this ladder at the Habitat ReStore for $15 I knew it had the potential to fulfill my ladder shelf dreams.
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
The skeptical cashier tried to persuade me not to buy the ladder, warning me not to climb on it because it was too rickety.
Who cares about rickety, I was in love with the paint splashes all over it!
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
Start by measuring the width of each step (and subtract 1/8 to account for the slant of the ladder.) Use 1x10 pine boards (or any depth you choose.) Lucky for me, I had some leftover shelves from my coat rack and shoe bench.
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
Cut them down to size on a miter saw or ask the lumber store to cut them for you. Yes, it was a total coincidence that my boards were covered in paint splotches too!
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
Dry fit the boards to make sure they fit your ladder. My heart was thumping now because I could really see the project taking shape!
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
Next cut some 1 x 2 strips the same width as each shelf. These are for the backs of your shelves. If necessary stain your shelves or paint them to match your ladder.
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
To attach the strips to the back of the shelves, use some Gorilla Glue...
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
...and then screw or nail the 1x2 pieces securely to the shelves. I chose to use a pneumatic nailer (but who wouldn't if they have one lying around.)
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
Choose the depth you want your shelves to extend beyond your ladder. Then using a carpenter square or ruler, mark a line on all the shelves. I chose a 3 overlapping depth.
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
Use a drill to pre-drill three holes per ladder rung.
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
Turn your ladder upside down and set the screws inside the holes.
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
Using one hand to support the shelf (or better yet get a helper to hold it), drive the screws into the bottom of each shelf.
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
Then flip the ladder back over and admire!
  • ladder display shelves, home decor, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas
$15 for the ladder and no cost for the materials I had on hand. Much better than $299 and the best part is mine is charmingly rustic.
It looks great on my beach inspired screen porch. But, this beauty would look good anywhere in your home.

To see more: http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/2011/05/posts-2.html

Got a question about this project?

  • Janet
    Janet Perryville, KY

    YAY! Great idea, as I just bought a ladder like yours from Restore as well. (Mine was a $10 deal).

  • PeggyT
    PeggyT Centre, AL

    so pretty, love your beachy look ideas!

  • Beth Nelson
    Beth Nelson Springfield, IL

    Just found a ladder like this in the bin!! I was going to lay it on the ground to make a raised bed for herbs....not anymore!

  • Marie
    Marie Canada

    Wow really nice

  • Rosibel Flores Solera

    Genial!!

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!