Close-up of DIY ladder decor project

Close-up of DIY ladder decor project

The finished DIY ladder decor project

The finished DIY ladder decor project

Inspiration for this unique indoor/outdoor décor came from a recent visit to a national retail/catalog store. A display such as pictured here was hanging over a dining table in the store, and with the right dining room you could put it there too.

But I don’t have a dining room suitable (or large enough) for a decorator item like this, so I chose to put my version outside on the patio. I think it worked out wonderfully.

The entire project took less than two hours not including shopping for the materials and adornments.

The adornments can be changed with each season such as colorful leaf garland for the Fall as featured in this posting or evergreen and pine cone garland for the Christmas holidays . . . you get the idea.

Here is a list of the items you will need to complete this project.

1. Hand or power saw
2. Power drill (Every house should have a cordless drill)
3. 1” hole saw drill bit adaptable for a power drill
4. One 8 foot 2”X4” piece of lumber which will be cut in half to create two 4 foot pieces. (A piece with knot holes will allow the burnt umber paint to add character to your project. Don’t use spruce outside but rather treated pine.)
5. Five one inch dowel rods each cut 16” in length which can be purchased at any home improvement or craft store. (Home improvement stores offer both 48” and 36” pieces, so you will need one 48” and one 36” piece and don’t forget, measure twice cut once.)
6. One bottle of burnt umber which you can purchase at any craft store and a clean rag for applying the paint.
7. Wood glue
8. Package of ¼” Sisal rope
9. 4 Screw hooks #6
10. Heavy duty jute twine
11. 3 lanterns & greenery

Approximate cost for the materials excluding lanterns and greenery:
1” hole saw $ 5.00
8 foot 2”X4” 3.00
Dowel rods 8.00
Burnt umber 1.00
Wood glue 1.00
Sisal rope 5.00
Screw hooks 5.00
Jute twine 3.00

Total $31.00

First start with two 4’ 2X4 pieces of lumber and use your drill to make the 1 inch round holes in the center of each piece every 8 inches for a total of 5 holes in which to insert the dowel rods. Find the center of the lumber and make a mark every 8 inches. Use that mark to position the point of the drill bit to begin drilling the holes. I drilled each hole ½ inch deep. This will leave 8” at each end to hang the ladder. I placed the rope 4 inches from each end.

When all of the holes are drilled, lay one piece of lumber on the floor and pour glue into each hole. Then insert the 5 dowel rods into each hole and let the glue set for about 30 minutes. Wipe off any excess glue which may have oozed out.

Then lay the second piece of lumber on the floor and pour glue into each hole. This time you will insert the ends of the dowel rods now affixed to the other half of the ladder and wipe off any excess glue.
The pressure of a bar clamp or vice would ensure a stronger bond but if you don’t have either, you can place something heavy on the top of the ladder standing on its side which will have the same affect. Let the glue set overnight.

Score the lumber to give it a weathered look and the paint will highlight the imperfections in the lumber giving it more of an aged look. Apply the paint with a clean cloth or sponge. The amount of paint you apply is a personal choice.

You are now ready to hang and decorate your ladder.

Ensure at least two of the #6 hooks are screwed into joists or that you use toggle bolts in the ceiling as the ladder is a little heavy.

Determine how far from the ceiling you want to hang the ladder and add enough length to tie a double knot at the end. The sisal rope should be doubled for support. Hold the two ends of the rope that are tied together bringing it through the looped end to create a circle, slide and pull tight around one end of the ladder. Repeat the process for the other three supports.

Hang your ladder from the screw hooks, affix the lanterns with the jute twill at the desired length and decorate to your heart’s content.

I know you will be excited about the end result and smile at the compliments from family and friends on a job well-done!