Headboard Made From Recycled Wood Ladder

4 Materials
$100
8 Hours
Advanced
I had an old wooden ladder that my dad had given me many, many years ago. The ladder had gotten old and wobbly, but I couldn't throw it away, because it held many childhood memories of my dad doing projects around the house. When my daughter asked me to make her a headboard to match her new nautical themed bedroom, I knew this was my chance to use the ladder!
Here is my father's ladder that was covered with the many different shades of green that he painted our house with over the years. I knew that there was something I could make with it and I was so excited to make the headboard for my daughter. I took the ladder apart, which was not easy, even though it was old, it had been put together well. I saved all of the wood and even the hardware.
I created the frame using 2X4s.
I created a ledge all the way around using plywood, so I wood have a recessed edge to attach my backing to. I also put in a cross brace in the middle.
I attached 1/4 inch plywood to the frame to use as a backing for my wood pieces.
I cut two holes for lights and two holes for switches and stained the frame and backing.
I laid all of my wood pieces out, but did not attach them until I had them all the way I wanted them. I did have to use some other wood I that I had in addition to the wood that I removed from the ladder. Once I had everything the way I liked it, I used glue and finishing nails to attach the pieces to the backing.
I then stained the whole thing using Minwax Espresso stain. The different types of wood stained differently which was exactly what I wanted. My daughter wanted it to look like it came from an old ship to match her nautical theme. I then applied two coats of Tung oil.
I found these lights at Home Depot that were called "bulkhead", perfect for the nautical theme. I wired them to the switches that also had a plug, so my daughter could charge her phone, or laptop. Please consult an electrician for wiring, I am lucky to have a son that is an electrician.
I used the old hinges from the ladder and cut them to use for switch plates.
I reattached all of the old rivets and hardware pieces from the ladder. I left all of the old paint that was on the ladder and you can still see it through the stain.
Here is the finished piece. My daughter loves it and it was a great way to help me to keep all of those "handyman" memories of my father on the ladder.

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  • Mary Russell Mary Russell on Jun 06, 2021

    It will be especially nice for your daughter if she had a loving relationship with her grandfather.

  • Bry Bry on Jun 07, 2021

    What a great repurpose project! Absolutely terrific!!!

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