How to Make a Modern Ladder Shelf

6 Materials
3 Hours

Ladder shelves became popular in recent years and I just love the simplicity of it.

It took me about 3 hours to build it, but it’s mainly because I didn’t use plywood for shelves and had to figure out how to make a 16″ bottom shelf from wood. After some manipulation with wood glue, I turn to Kreg jig for help and wish I did it from the beginning. You can see full tutorial how to make it here.

Make shelves

Determine the height of your ladder shelf and sizes of the shelves that will go on top of it. I just found a nice shelf online that I liked, measured my space and I took their dimensions.

At first, I thought I could get away with just glue, but when it didn’t work out I used a Kreg jig to secure the two boards together. It wasn’t a perfect job so I had to fix a little crack in between, which I successfully did by using a wood filler.Make a base

Cut sides for the baseDetermine how tall you want the shelf to be. Mine is 6 feet.Take 2 boards 1x2x72″ and cut them on one side at a 10-degree angle. This will go on the bottom and ensure the balance of the DIY leaning shelf, so it can actually lean onto the wall.Cut (2) 1×2″ boards at 24″ to go on top and the bottom of the base.Attach them to the sideboards using glue and 2″ screws.Assembling the shelf

Make spacers.Even if you have a helping hand, spacers are so important for a faster assembly. I bet you wouldn’t want to spend time measuring the distance between every shelf.

Make pilot holes with a drill (to prevent wood splitting) and use 2″ screws to attach shelves to the sides of the base.

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


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Beverly
    on Oct 26, 2020

    Absolutely awesome work! I just sent this to my husband. We’ll definitely be doing this project. Thank you for the step by step simple instructions! 😊

    • April
      on Oct 26, 2020

      Thank you so much, Beverly! I'm really happy that you like it AND that you will be making it ;) Tag me on Instagram so I could feature you :)

  • Debbie
    on Oct 27, 2020

    It looks from the picture that there is a support board for the 2-3 bottom shelves? Is that part of it?

    • April
      on Oct 27, 2020

      Hi Debbie!

      Books that I put on the bottom shelf for styling purposes are super heavy so the bottom shelf was flipping down. That’s why I put a plank there for support for the photo :)

      I’m planning to use glue for the bottom shelf on the sides, not only screws. This will fix the problem and it won’t flip anymore. This shelf is more for decorative purposes so I wouldn’t put anything super heavy on it.

      I hope this helps!

Join the conversation

3 of 7 comments
  • Lynne
    on Oct 27, 2020

    awesome job!!

  • Lisa West
    Lisa West
    on Nov 2, 2020

    Just show we d my fiance this. He says its really easy to make. And that he really likes it. Well I need shelves for my plants that go in the window. So guess what he is doing lol. Yup project for him some time this week hopefully. Love this. Thanks for sharing.

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