Ladder Display Shelves

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!
I mean, really? $299 for one unit!
When I saw this ladder at the Habitat ReStore for $15 I knew it had the potential to fulfill my ladder shelf dreams.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
To attach the strips to the back of the shelves, use some Gorilla Glue...
...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.)
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.
Use a drill to pre-drill three holes per ladder rung.
Turn your ladder upside down and set the screws inside the holes.
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.
Then flip the ladder back over and admire!
$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.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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