I have always admired homes that have a rustic blanket ladder in their living room or family room areas. My mother-in-law used an old wooden ladder to display irish wool blankets in her shop for years. I always admired the look of blankets hanging on a ladder. However, frugal me could never justify the cost of purchasing a wooden ladder for $50-$150, just to display blankets. Especially when you can easily build one yourself for much less. When you are working your way to becoming debt but you still want to decorate your home, DIY projects have become a fun norm for us.
So I began the google searching of blanket ladder designs. I wanted an all wooden ladder, some have metal pipes or other attributes that were not what I was looking for. I also wanted to build a ladder that looked functional, versus a mini one that was for decoration only. I found a few websites and used their ideas and combined them to make my very own blanket ladder.
I started with 2 – 8 foot 2×4’s and a few sections of 1.5 inch diameter dowel rods. I decided to make my ladder 7 feet tall and with a total of 5 rungs.
To complete the ladder I started by using a miter saw to trim the 2×4’s to 7 feet each. I also used the miter saw to trim one end of each 2×4 with a 15 degree angle (see pictures) to allow the ladder to sit nicely against the wall. I then sanded down each 2×4 with an orbital sander and 60 grit paper, but left a roughed out texture for a rustic look (you can always sand more or with finer paper to get a smoother look/texture).
I used a forstner bit (1.5 inch) on the inside of each 2×4 spaced centered every 18 inches to make areas for my 5 dowel rods to attach to both sides. You MUST make sure both sides of 2×4’s are the same dimensions and have drilled out openings in the exact same spacings for the ladder to be straight and square. I only drilled half with through each 2×4 with the forstner bits. I then attached the dowel rods to the 2×4’s using wood glue and a rubber mallet (Make sure that you wipe off ALL glue with a damp rag, because stain will not penetrate through the wood glue in later steps). I attached all rods to one 2×4 first and then attached the second 2×4. Once all dowel rods were in place and I double checked that all parts were attached in a manner I was happy with and then ran 3 inch screws in from the outside of the 2×4 into each dowel rod to hold all parts in place.
I finished the ladder off with a stain, Ash by Varathane. I opted not to add polyurethane, knowing that this item would not be used much in an area that may have spills or damage. I also applied two small felt pads on the areas at the top of the ladder that would be leaning on the wall to avoid the paint being damaged from the ladder being accidentally pushed by say the dog walking by.
I love the final outcome. My husband kids that we definitely “needed” the blanket ladder… I think it goes well with the rustic theme that we are slowly but surely trying to achieve one step at a time in our home.