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Ladder Bookshelf

12 Materials
2 Hours

Ok so I know we've all seen the bookshelves online that people have made from old painter's ladders. I've had my eye on them for years now and have wanted to make one so bad, so I finally did...with the help of Rob of course.  It really wasn't as bad as I had imagined in my mind and I think it came out so cute!
ladder bookshelf
ladder bookshelf
STEP 1: Prep ladder
First, I removed any stickers that were on the ladder. There were two stickers that were essentially baked on and I couldn't pull off--you can attempt to sand them off but I chose to just paint over them.

ladder bookshelf
Once the stickers were removed, I used a piece of sandpaper to knock off any loose paint and smooth out any splinters.
ladder bookshelf
Lastly, because I wasn't crazy about the stickers that wouldn't come off of the ladder, I decided to brush on a white wash on the ladder. I wanted the final look to be artsy and a bit whimsical, and not perfect, so I didn't care that the wood and some of the old paint showed through.
ladder bookshelf
STEP 2: Measure and cut common board for shelves
Next, I measured the piece of common board that I purchased. The dimensions will vary according to the size ladder you have but for my 6' ladder, I made my four shelf sizes as follows: two 18", one 24" and one 31".
ladder bookshelf
After I made the marks on my board with a pencil, I had Rob cut the shelves to size with a chop saw.
ladder bookshelf
STEP 3: Paint and sand shelves
I wanted a fun, pop of color for the shelves so I had Tapestry Red on hand and thought it was the perfect color to run with against the Cozy Cottage white of the ladder frame. I painted one coat on...
ladder bookshelf
...then, I lightly sanded the shelves--paying more attention to the edges--in order to rough the paint up a little so as to give them a worn look.
ladder bookshelf
STEP 4: Assemble shelves
After the shelves were all finished, I used a nail gun to nail down the very top shelf with no assistance. Then, for the remaining shelves, I clamped one side of the shelf down onto each ladder step.
ladder bookshelf
On the other side of the shelf, I took a 1x2 plank and marked it with a pencil on the edge of the ladder. Then, I used a chop saw to cut the mark.
ladder bookshelf
And finally, I used a nail gun to secure the 1x2 planks...
ladder bookshelf
... as well as the tops of the shelves on the edges.
ladder bookshelf
I love how this ladder bookshelf came out! It adds character to our already eclectic home and it ties together with our little china hutch in our kitchen that is also made out of old ladders.
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Suggested materials:

  • Old wooden ladder  (Craigslist)
  • <a href="" class="href-bb-tag" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">1x12-8' common board</a>  (Home Depot or Amazon)
  • <a href="" class="href-bb-tag" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Behr flat paint (Colors: Cozy Cottage & Tapestry Red)</a>  (on hand (from Home Depot/Amazon))
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3 of 49 comments
  • Audrey Hurtado Davis
    on Oct 2, 2017

    I LOVE LOVE this Ladder!! I would love to see the China shelf as well! Another post said there is a pic in comments but I am unable to locate it!

  • Lori Dumm
    on Jan 5, 2018

    Hello All so nice I justed wanted you all to know that Goo Goo Gone takes all stickers away You can find it at all Walmarts in the auto departments

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