Repurposed Ladder Into Shelf

Amanda C, Hometalk Team
by Amanda C, Hometalk Team
6 Materials
1 Hour

I had this old ladder sitting around and thought I would repurpose it somehow. Now ladders can be used for loads of things, but I thought I would make a back-of-the-door storage unit this time around. This shelf is quick and easy and makes for a great catch all! Adding a bit of hardware cloth to the ladder makes this shelf a quick and easy project, too!

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Paint your brackets (if you wish) before getting started. Then screw them into the bottom of the top rung of the ladder.

Place your shelf where you want to hang it, making sure it is level and drill pilot holes into the door or wall you are wishing to hang it on. Then screw through the brackets and into the pilot holes securing it in place.

Take a step back and make sure that the shelf is centered and level.

Take your hardware cloth and hold it over one of the spaces on the ladder. Cut the cloth so that is the height you are looking for plus 3/4" or so to fold over on the bottom. Cut the width so that there is an extra 3/4" on either side of the ladder. Basically you are cutting the cloth so that it has extra on the sides and the bottom for a future step.

If you wish, you can paint the cloth to match the brackets at this time.

Once the paint has dried, place the cloth against the rung of the ladder and fold over the bottom so that the edge is nice and smooth and also in a straight line. I folded mine over 3 squares of the grid all the way across.

Fold the sides around the ladder creating a 90° corner making sure the bottom is lined up with the rung.

Grab your staple gun and secure the hardware cloth in place on the sides by stapling it into the wood.

You can just staple the front of the hardware cloth into the rung of the ladder, but I had some copper tacks on hand and thought I would use them to add a nice touch. Simply secure them in place with a mallet.

Now just fill your shelves with the items of your choice!

Look at all that new storage space! I love how rustic this looks in my home. The ladder totally makes this unique from other shelves. I might buy another one from Amazon, because I love it so much.

You could use a piece of wood in the front of the shelf, but the hardware cloth really helps hold tiny items in place...

This thing has a lot going for it! It's repurposed, it is a storage solution, AND it looks pretty great and can be used as decor too!

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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 11 questions
  • Mrs Calabash Mrs Calabash on Oct 01, 2021

    The steps on a ladder are at an angle, not perpendicular to the sides as your finished product. How did you get the shelves at 90 degrees?

  • KLI122 KLI122 on Oct 02, 2021

    Interesting idea but don’t the screws stick out on the back of that thin door panel?

  • Super Super on Nov 22, 2023

    Interesting idea. But what else can be used instead of ‘hardware cloth’? I’m afraid of hands getting cut or scrape on the hardware cloth, every time you pick up and put back things from the shelf.

Join the conversation
3 of 193 comments
  • Great idea for a tiny bathroom!

  • Ticia Ticia on Oct 03, 2021

    I'm not familiar with 'hardware' cloth - is it sharp where it can cause an injury like a cut or scrape, or is is a coated plastic or other substance? Thanks in advance. This is a great idea for a small space.