My love of all things old continues, my latest obsession being vintage wooden ladders! I find old, worn, loved-up ladders so charming – they transport me to a realm of nostalgia in the same way that teapots do. When I look at them I think about all the excited feet that could have stood on them before… young couples painting their first home together, an excited daddy-to-be preparing a nursery or the father that is always there to help out his kids (now adults) with any renovations. Maybe this pregnancy is making me more emotional than I first thought but either way it is a symbol that warms the cockles of me heart and I wanted to use a ladder in my home. All the better that it is an old unloved material that completely cancels out the need to chop down a new tree. Check vintage stores, gumtree, Ebay, opshops, the local tip and roadside collections. And remember… the more paint stains the better!
What You’ll Need
- An old ladder
- Spirit level
- Brackets – the amount will depend on the ladder size. For one this size I used two along the bottom and one to stabilise at the top.
- Wall plugs
- Extra pair of hands is useful in this project… maybe two if you have a longer ladder!
1) After you have found your ladder you need to pick the perfect spot for it!
2) If your ladder is a step ladder then you will need to take the two rails apart. Once apart choose which part of the ladder you will use… you may even want to use both!
3) Hold your ladder up against the wall to measure whereabouts you want your shelf.
4) Measure with spirit level to ensure the ladder is level.
5) Borrow the spare set of hands and slide the brackets into place (where they will need to be to hold the ladder up) behind the ladder and quickly pencil in the holes. You want the brackets to be as hidden as possible which means the outside/underside of your ladder will sit on the bracket like a shelf, rather than being supported like a perch. If that doesn’t make sense just look at the third picture in the below sequence.
6) Drill the holes into the walls. Hammer in the wall plugs and then screw in your brackets.
7) Once your brackets are drilled in, rest your ladder upon them. Put a bracket on the top of your ladder to secure and stabilize it and repeat the bracket drilling process.
8) Once all your brackets are drilled in and your ladder feels securely ‘wedged’ you will need to screw the brackets into the ladder. Very gently drill screws into the ladder… you must be careful so as not to split the ladder.
9) The amount of brackets you need and the way in which you organise them will vary depending on what size and shape ladder you find. Just make sure it is secure and supported. Then, the fun bit…
10) Time to decorate! I had so much fun choosing what goodies to put on my ladder. Bobert (my leaf-tailed Gekko made from scrap metal) has pride of place and every time I look over at him walking up his little hill it makes me smile. Then I have the champagne glasses that Mark and I left our wedding venue still holding (completely accidental theft, I promise!) and I filled them with pebbles and shells that I collected the day after I met him. It is so lovely to be able to honor those little things that make your heart sing every time you look at them!
And here it is from one more angle… just because pride is bursting out my eyes like little sunbeams…
If you like this sort of quirky shelving you may also like my DIY Tutorial for “Book Shelves” wink wink. See that here.
I will leave you with this beautiful quote about… what else?… ladders!
One only gets to the top rung of the ladder by steadily climbing up one at a time, and suddenly all sorts of powers, all sorts of abilities which you thought never belonged to you — suddenly become within your own possibility and you think, “Well, I’ll have a go, too.”
~ Margaret Thatcher