Turn an Old Ladder Into Bookshelf

Edited by Shalom, Robbi, Lynn, Rafah Perlado and 4 others

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Lacking enough bookshelves but loaded with ladders and trying to lessen expenses? Why not wake your artistic persona up? Let's apply the 3R's of waste management into this artistic craft. Reduce your expenses. Reuse and Recycle your old ladder by giving it a use other than using it to reach high things and places.

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Ladders have a very versatile structure. You can turn this item into all kinds of interesting things. Aside from a ladder bookshelf, you may also use them as shoe racks, towel racks, kids clothes rack and even chandeliers! All you need to have is the creativity to execute such ideas.

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All you have to do is attach pieces of woods to the original structure, repaint or design it up and you're good to go!

If you're doing this for a child, you may want to involve them in the project. Aside from having fun, and connecting with your kid/s (arts and crafts is a wonderful form of bonding), you also want them to learn things outside of the academic subjects taught in school, don't you? In this situation, it is you get to be the teacher - and instill in them, the importance of reducing by recycling and reusing by making something wonderful from an old household item.

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How To Turn A Ladder Into a Bookshelf

Materials Needed

  • Old wooden ladder
  • Extra pieces of wood (either similar to the wooden ladder, or a direct contrast)
  • Shelf brackets and screws
  • Sand paper
  • Paintbrush
  • Wood finish or paint
  • Saw
  • Drill, bits and screws or hammer and nails
  • Steel tape measure
  • Level
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  1. 1
    Prepare the ladder
    You may first want to sand the ladder to smooth the surface and alleviate any nicks or rough patches. Do this with sandpaper, or using a palm sander. This procedure will bring up the natural look and color of the wood used in the ladder.
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  2. 2
    Measure the steps of the ladder
    Measure twice - so when you get to step 3 you only have to cut once. Be precise. This is done so you can extend the width of each step, allowing you to add more books.
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  3. 3
    Cut the wood using a saw and smooth the edges using sandpaper
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  4. 4
    Place the shelf brackets onto the opposite side of the ladder from where you will attach the extra piece of wood (shelf).
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  5. 5
    Attach the shelf using a drill and screw (the come with the brackets).
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  6. 6
    Finally, settle shelves on different sizes (height) as the ladder narrows - starting from the bottom to the top.
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  7. 7
    Decorate your old ladder to your liking
    You have all kinds of options for creating a real work of art from your ladder.  
    1. Paint designs on it.
    2. Paint it your favorite team colors.
    3. Leave it in its natural state - staining it, or just rubbing linseed oil into it.
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  8. 8
    Locate the perfect area for your bookshelf.
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  9. 9
    Using a level, mark a spot so that you know precisely where the bookshelf will go.
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  10. 10
    Nail the ladder onto the wall with the hammer and nails or alternatively, use drywall screws to attach the ladder to the wall.
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  11. 11
    You have the option to also nail the ladder up horizontally so that it hangs on the wall the long way.
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  12. 12
    Easiest - just leave it on the floor.
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  13. 13
    Step back and admire your handwork.
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  • Be very certain that the ladder is securely attached to the wall prior to adding heavy books to the ladder. This is particularly true if you choose to use the horizontal method of creating the bookshelf.
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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.


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Article Info

Categories : Repurposing Crafts

Recent edits by: Nuance, Jen M, Rebecca M.

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