Dollar Tree DIY: Ladder Wall Shelf

4 Materials
$10
30 Minutes
Easy

Dollar tree DIYs are one of my favorite projects to do and when I saw an expensive farmhouse style ladder wall shelf I knew that I could shop for supplies and find ways to build the same look for less. I had a collection of little wall plaques that I was saving to use for a project and decided that they would be perfect for creating my shelf. All I needed was some glue, rope and paint to create the perfect accent piece for my bathroom wall. It really was that easy! The next time you are looking at your empty walls and wondering how you can decorate them in the style you love without spending a fortune, try to find inexpensive items you can repurpose to create designer decor items yourself.

The next time you are looking at your empty walls and wondering how you can decorate them in the style you love without spending a fortune, try to find inexpensive items you can repurpose to create designer decor items yourself.

Dollar Tree DIY: Ladder Wall Shelf

You Will Need

  • Five Dollar Tree Signs or Plaques (Made of MDF or wood)
  • Drill
  • Wood Glue
  • Craft Adhesive
  • Rope ( I used inexpensive jute cord )
  • Sandpaper
  • Craft Paint ( I used a white and gray shade for distressed look)
  • Paintbrush (I use a sponge tip)


Step 1: Drill Holes for Rope Supports

I gathered a collection of small plaques from Dollar Tree and used them to build the ladder wall shelf frame. I used a drill to create holes in two of my plaques that would act as the sides of the ladder shelf in order to thread a rope through my shelves to hang it from.


Drill Holes for Rope Supports

Step 2: Remove Stickers and Prepare for Painting

My wooden plaques had stickers on the back and I used a butter knife to scrape the sticker and all of the residue they left behind from the surface of the wood in order to prepare it for painting. After I removed the stickers, I used sandpaper to gently sand away the spot where the sticker left adhesive on the boards. 

Remove Stickers and Prepare for Painting

Step 3: Assemble Wood to Create Shelf

I started with the bottom board of my shelf and used a combination of wood glue and craft adhesive to glue the ladder rung style boards to the two side rails. Apply glue to the sides of the boards and place them snugly in between the two side pieces. I used three horizontal boards in between my two vertical sides. If you want to make a stronger bond than the glue alone provides, you can add screws to reinforce the structure. 


Assemble Wood to Create Shelf

Step 4: Paint the Ladder Wall Shelf

Once the glue dried completely, I painted the shelf. I used my favorite inexpensive white craft paint and coated the shelf three times with a sponge tip brush for adequate coverage. Because the plaques I used were dark in color and the paint was white, three coats were needed but if you paint light color plaques or use a dark shade of paint you may need fewer coats. Alternatively, you can use spray paint to save time but I like to use what I have on hand to save on cost.


Paint the Ladder Wall Shelf

Step 5: Add Distressed Finish with Lighter Shade of Paint

I chose a lighter gray shade of craft paint and applied it over the white paint with a stiff-bristled paintbrush. This brush is great for distressing and I brushed it back and forth to achieve the desired look. Place dots of the paint along the surface and then drag the brush to connect them, using light and wispy strokes for a weathered look. The layer of lighter paint and distressed finish helped to conceal any of the dark colors from the plaques still visible underneath the white paint.


Add Distressed Finish with Lighter Shade of Paint

Step 6: Add Rope to Shelves

I threaded the rope through the pre-drilled holes I created previously and knotted them firmly on each side to make sure the rope would not slip through while supporting the shelves. After knotting one side in place, stretch the rope upward into a triangle shape to determine how much rope to use for the desired height of your hanging display and then cut and thread the other side through. I tied three times to make the knot large enough to hold and then trimmed off the excess. You can also add a bit of hot glue to the end of your rope to make sure it doesn’t fray or slip through the shelf. Some ladder style wall shelves have chicken wire on the back of them and you can choose to add some at this point or simply leave it as is.


Add Rope to Shelves

Step 7: Hang and Accessorize Shelves

I hung the ladder wall shelf above the toilet in the bathroom. I hung the rope from a nail and then styled the shelves with a candle, succulents, two lightweight signs, and a ceramic owl. I knew my shelves would have small farmhouse-style knick-knacks on it but you can adjust the hanging method based on the look you want and on what you plan to display on the shelves. 


Hang and Accessorize Shelves

I am so thrilled with how adorable my DIY ladder wall shelf turned out and can’t believe how much it improved the empty wall in my bathroom. I love to challenge myself to try to make the decor items I see in stores instead of buying them and this project did not disappoint. It was so easy to recreate this look and I spent less than $10 to do it. Don’t hesitate to take inspiration for DIY projects from items you love but might not be able to purchase.


You might be surprised how easy it is to do!Have you created a home decor look for less using dollar store items or items you have on hand that you can’t wait to show your guests? Share your best home decor projects and tips or find inspiration and ideas for how to achieve high-end style for less at Hometalk! 

Suggested materials:

  • 5 Wood decor signs   (Dollar Tree)
  • Craft Rope   (Dollar Tree or Walmart)
  • Craft paint   (Walmart)
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