DIY Countertop Kitchen Tea Towel Ladder

16 Materials
2 Hours

Here I show you how to make an easy DIY tea towel ladder that sits on a kitchen countertop. This is a great affordable solution if you are renting and/or don’t want to screw a holder on the wall or kitchen end panel. You can move it anywhere, leaving no trace behind.

Shared from my blog here:

After installing my own utility kitchen, it lacked a few things, such as a home for tea towels.

And because I’m constantly moving things around, I thought this countertop tea towel ladder was the perfect solution. It's also great for renter's if you don't want to put holes in the wall or kitchen for a rack.

Here's the tools I used, but you can refer to the list.


First, cut your wood strips to length as above. For this, I used a clamped my pieces to a saw horse and used a hand saw. If you have a chop saw, then even better as this will give you straighter cuts. However, I carefully hand sanded mine to finish. Here's my measurements from my cutting list above.

  • 2 lengths of planed wood = 60cm long for sides
  • 3 lengths of planed wood = 25cm for ladder “steps”
  • 12 dowel pieces = 5cm long

To ensure the base of your tea towel ladder sits flush on your kitchen worktop, I held my two longest pieces against the wall on a slope to my taste.

I then used a bevel gauge to measure the angle I liked, then reversed it (see below), held it along the bottom as close as possible and drew along the bottom with a pencil.

Next, I masking taped my two longest pieces together to save time cutting time.

Then clamped it to my worktop and sawed off the angle with a hand saw before sanding again with sandpaper for them to match.

To scribe the top back to prevent marking the wall, I held a 1cm depth off cut and drew along it. You could use anything thick and straight.

Now saw this off too and sand so they both match. Both top and bottom pieces should now sit flat against the wall and worktop, making it more stable.


Next, I folded up a tea towel and held it again my side pieces to determine where my middle ladder step should go.

Now mark with a pencil where it lies.

I then marked 20cm above and below the middle step to locate the top of where my next steps should start.


Now draw straight lines where you pencil marks are using a speed square for each step.

Then hold one of your cut pieces, slimmest side facing down and draw along with a pencil too. This tells you where you can drill your holes through.

While the long sides are still taped together, drill two holes next to each other with a 6mm flat wood drill bit or drill within your pencil lines. But leave a few millimetre gaps between each other.

Also, don’t drill too close to the edges otherwise you could damage the wood.

Make sure you put a rag down, or in my case, an off cut of wood to catch glue drips.

Then line up your first step on top of it with the side panel’s top pencil marks and clamp together.

To ensure the step is square, hold a speed square at the top, either side while clamping.

Then tape up your flat wood drill bit with contrasting tape as to how far you want to drill. Make sure you don’t go deeper than their 5cm length.

Now drill through your two holes straight through to your step part, then dismantle to fill with wood glue, including the join.

Next, put back together and push in the 6mm dowel pins. Tap with a wooden mallet if needed and wipe off any excess glue.

Then repeat for the other steps and leave to dry for as long as your glue recommends.

Then repeat for the other steps and leave to dry for as long as your glue recommends.

Once dried, release the clamps and saw off the protruding dowel sections with a flush trim saw or hand saw.

I find it’s best to do this while clamped to a surface.

Then using a sanding block and sandpaper, smooth over the dowels and until the pencil marks have disappeared.

I also went all over of the joins and sharper edges to soften.

It’s best to do this outside, or wear a dust mask.

You could use a palm sander, but you’ll have more control this way.


As tea towels are used to dry pots, or you may store hand towels, it’s best to seal the wood with something non-toxic. After sanding everywhere with 120 grit sand paper, I dusted it down, ensuring it was clean.

Then using a brush, I gave my tea towel ladder a coat of Worktop Oil and left for 20 minutes. I found this is best indoors to prevent attracting bugs on your oil.

Now remove the excess with a clean lint free cloth. Note, it’s best to do this in temperatures of 20 degrees, which is about average of home.

To add more coats, according to WOCA Worktop oil, you can repeat every hour.

I loved how with it being a food grade oil, it’s not toxic to work with. But when you’re done with your rag, soak it in water as it is combustible.

It will need topping up occasionally, such as once a year to protect. And to clean, just wipe it with a damp cloth. Never submerge it in water.

You may also want to add some rubber dots or pads on the mitred corners to prevent movement.

For more information, you can find my original tutorial here:

Resources for this project:
1 x Planed Whitewood PSE Timber wood (18 x 28 x 2400mm)
Wickes 6mm light hardwood dowel (2.4m long)
Size 6 flatwood drill bit or 6mm wood drill
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
The Carpenter's Daughter
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Jennifer Jennifer on Oct 01, 2019

    Did You Attach It To The Wall ? Of Does The Mini Ladder Move Every Time You Grab The Towel ?

  • Jjqq Jjqq on Sep 24, 2020

    How many tea towels will this hold at one time?

  • AndradeTea AndradeTea on Sep 25, 2020

    THAT is cute! I wonder if you could secure it with tacky removable clay so it would stay in place if you grab a towel but movable if you need to relocate it?

Join the conversation
2 of 16 comments
  • Wendy Wendy on Oct 07, 2019

    Going to see if my son-in-law will make me one. Maybe a couple extra to use for gifts.

  • BG. (Bonus Grandmother) BG. (Bonus Grandmother) on Oct 23, 2020

    Love this!! Thanks for sharing! Has put my mind swirling on ways to modify and use in other places for other things!!!

    My thoughts on how to keep it from moving: there are a couple brands of spray on or paint on rubber sealer. It is generally used to coat tool handles and seal small leaks. It comes in a few colors and one brand I believe comes in clear. I have white on hand for sealing some air leaks around the bottom frame of windows where calk is too much and shows. I haven’t gotten to that project yet but have used the spray to coat some tool handles and work surfaces. Takes a bit to dry but works great for that. A couple of thin coats allowing to dry in between. I would think coating the ends of the towel ladder would be a great way to keep it from sliding around. Just remember to tape off the area to keep from getting on places you don’t want it. If u get a bit too much over onto the tape, just use a sharp knife to cut off the excess. Plan on trying soon.