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There are a few things that I am simply obsessed with collecting. Vintage birdcages, fabric, plants, and blankets all fall under this category. I can't quite explain my attraction to these items, but whenever I see one in a shop (especially if it's in a thrift shop!), I find it difficult to resist purchasing. Recently, for our wedding, I wound up purchasing quite a few of one particular item in hopes that our guests might find them useful: Blankets.
Granted, I didn't go on a HUGE shopping spree, picking up loads and loads of blankets. I just expanded upon our already growing blanket basket collection. It was supposed to be both cold AND rainy on our wedding day, and I thought it would be nice to provide our guests with additional warmth if they so required! Of course, with all the hubbub going on that day, we completely forgot to bring any of our blankets outside. Whoops! But that doesn't mean we aren't going to get our full use from the extra blankets I purchased either.
Some might become gifts while others will make there way into our guest room for the occasional drop in. However, they ALL need to find a new home within our home as our current blanket basket is overflowing!
Enter: The blanket ladder DIY!
I have had my eye on making one of these blanket ladders for years. I just absolutely love the look of them and really enjoy seeing layers of knit textures all hung neatly over each of the rungs. I had been keeping my eye out for an affordable, thrifted version prior to making my own, but one never seemed to materialize. Which is totally fine because this DIY version wound up costing me less than $5 to make! Seriously!
Are you ready to see how I put this ladder together in the course of an afternoon?
I wound up basing my DIY off of this $5 Blanket Ladder tutorial I found on Pinterest. I changed a few of the measurements to suit my needs / utilize more of the material with less waste as well as used different tools based on what I already had available to me. I also fixed a major fail I had with my first ladder which you will read more about below!
I don't own a fancy Kreg pocket hole jig (yet!), so I made do with my basic tools, and I think it came out great!
- 3 – 1" x 3" x 8' ( 2,5 cm x 7,6 cm x 2,4 m) (I used furring strip board as it was only $1.98 per board)
- 24 – 1 1/4" (3.175 cm)
nailsscrews (or longer)
HammerScrew Driver or Drill
- Wood glue
- Sander (optional) + Sand Paper
- Paint or Stain (I used items I already had in my garage from previous projects)
- Jigsaw, circular saw, or handsaw (whichever you have at your disposal)
- Tape Measure
- Speed Square (or other straight edge)
You might have noticed that I struck out nails and a hammer and replaced those with screws and a screwdriver or drill. There is a VERY good reason for that which I will explain below. So just pretend that hammer and nails are actually a screwdriver and screws!
Side note: When looking for wood, I always try to steer clear of pressure treated boards. I know that the process for treating these boards has gotten better over the years, but I still prefer being extra cautious and using heat treated boards, especially if they aren't being exposed to the elements as regularly.
Let's Get Started!
The very first thing we will want to do is give our boards a quick sanding.
I used an 80 grit sandpaper because that is what I had on hand AND it happens to be a rather coarse sandpaper.
I like to sand at the start of a project because it is 1) easier to sand a long board than it is to sand a bunch of tiny boards and 2) ensures that I get rid of any potentially dangerous bits that might try to splinter off while working on them. There will, of course, be sanding throughout the project. This initial once over simply allows for the remaining sanding to be on a touch up basis.
Once we have finished sanding we can go ahead and make all of our initial cuts.
Cut List + Diagram
- Cut 2 : 1" x 3" x 80" ( 2,5 cm x 7,6 cm x 203,2 cm) boards
- Cut 6: 16" (40,6 cm) long boards
I originally wanted to leave two of my boards uncut so that I would have less less boards to cut down, and so that I could utilize every piece of wood I had without having weirdly small bits left over! However, if you do a lot of woodworking projects, you will quickly realize that not all boards are created equal and many will be slightly shorter than what the displays at the hardware store advertise. I've purchased boards that were a few inches shorter than all the others in a bundle without realizing it, so it's always a good idea to measure everything before you start cutting.
You should wind up with a total of eight 16" (40,6 cm) long boards, or thereabouts. Choose the 6 best pieces as these will make up the rungs of your ladder!
Once everything is all cut, give your ladder steps a quick sanding if they are in need. I generally need to do this when I use a jigsaw as it gives me a rougher edge that I like to smooth out.
Next, we need to mark where our ladder steps are going to go. Below is where I placed my steps on either of the two ladder legs.
Note that the measurements of the width and height of the boards are slightly less than 1" x 3" (2,5 cm x 7,6 cm). Again, this is because boards are typically smaller in measurement than what is advertised when purchasing. I am not entirely sure why this is, but it's one of the first things I learned when building stuff.
It's best to use a pencil for this part in case any of it shows later (as mine did!), but I didn't have one on hand so I had to sand away the excess pen marks. I am telling you, I had a terrible first go round, but the second and third ladders were a piece of cake to complete!
Now that everything is cut and marked, it is a good time to take a quick break. Stretch, walk around a bit, and grab a drink of water. If you have someone who can help you, feel free to grab them for this next part. If you are doing this project solo, no worries! There is an easy way to set up your station so that you can properly nail everything into place without getting flustered!
First, lie one of your 1x3x80" (2,5 cm x 7,6 cm x 203,2 cm) boards flat on the floor so that the widest bit is flush against the ground.
Next, set your second 1x3x80" (2,5 cm x 7,6 cm x 203,2 cm) board perpendicular to the floor so that the thinnest bit is flush against the ground. Make sure that your two boards are roughly 1' (30,5 cm) away from one another.
Working with one ladder step at a time, put wood glue along one of the shorter edges of the ladder step as well as the marking on your ladder leg.
Line it up with the previously marked area on the inside of the 1x3x80" (2,5 cm x 7,6 cm x 203,2 cm) board that is sitting perpendicular to the floor.
Allow the unglued edge of your ladder step to rest on the second board that is flat against the floor.
hammer + nails (or staple gun + nails) screws and screw driver (or drill) and secure the ladder step to the outside of your ladder leg.
Pretend that this is a screwdriver and some screws as that's what I wound up changing to in the end!
So a little story on why I changed out the hammer + nails part to screws + a screwdriver. At the start of this project, I had purchased enough wood to make 3 ladders: one for myself and two as gifts for friends. Whenever I start a project, I always like to start working on mine just in case something goes wrong. And oh WOW did things go wrong with those nails.
I don't have any photographic proof of how bad my ladder was when put together with nails, but trust me... it was really bad. I mean, I had this gut feeling that nails wouldn't be sturdy enough to hold this ladder together (especially since I used twisted boards for my version) as nails don't grip the wood they are being driven in to. They are wonderful for hanging frames on a wall, but create terribly crooked ladders.
Anywho, as soon as I switched to using screws, all of those issues vanished and the three ladders came together so quickly and nicely!
Continue this process until you have all 6 steps attached the one of your ladder legs.
Give yourself a high five for making it through the first half of your ladder assembly -- woot woot! Are you ready for the second half? I promise it will go much more quickly now that you are on a roll!
Repeat the above steps until all of your ladder rungs are secured to the second ladder leg. Make sure you have the top and bottom bits in the right place as the first rung is a slightly different measurement from each.
Lie your ladder flat against the floor and clean up any excess glue around each of the ladder steps.
Finally, you can finish off your ladder by painting or staining it, then allowing it time to dry!
Et voila! You have successfully completed your very own DIY Blanket Ladder! How cool is that?
Do you feel super proud? I know I do (especially after having to basically take my entire first ladder apart and redo it, hehe)! I hope you enjoyed this DIY as much as I did.