Introduction: DIY Ladder Shelf

About: I love coming up with cool ways of using wood! Furniture is my specialty. Getting ideas from all my fellow wood lovers out there. Wood is Good!

My friend asked for a "Ladder Shelf". I had never made one before so I whipped this up. It's very easy to make and it cost less than $15! 2x4's and pallet wood is all it took.

I would recommend securing it to the wall with an "L bracket" on the top shelf to keep it from falling down. Feel free to put some pads on the ladder to keep it from scratching your floor.

All you need is:

  • Three 2x4's
  • One Pallet
  • White Paint
  • Danish Oil
  • Screws/Glue/Nailgun

Costs around $15 and can sell for $500 ;)

Step 1: Cut Ladder Uprights

  • Get two straight 2x4's
  • I cut my first one to 80" to make it more manageable while finding the angle I wanted
  • Lean it up against a flat wall/surface to decide what kind of angle you want
  • I decided on 10 degrees
  • Cut both top and bottom at same angle so they are parallel with each other
  • Stencil your cut 2x4 to the other 2x4 so they match
  • Square off your 2x4's lengthwise (optional) on the table saw

Step 2: Prepare Shelf Supports

  • Measure out your ladder uprights and decide on how many shelves you'd like
  • Square off another 2x4 on either edge
  • Cut the same 2x4 right down the middle
  • These two pieces will be cut up into your shelf supports


  • I went with 5 shelves
  • The bottom shelf is 8" from the bottom
  • The rest of the shelves are spaced out 16" from one another

Step 3: Cut Shelf Supports

  • Measure out your desired shelf depths
  • You want all the shelves to touch the wall to provide maximum strength and support
  • I started with the bottom shelf supports at 14", followed by supports cut at 12", 10", 8" and 6"
  • You need two supports at each length
  • Cut them all to length
  • Sand all sides

Step 4: Prepare Pallet Shelves

  • Aquire a pallet
  • Flooring, tile and hardware stores all have free pallets!
  • Cut along each end pallet support along the inside
  • Remove each board using a hammer and crowbar
  • Remove all nails with hammer/crowbar/grinder
  • Cut each board at 18" (or desired shelf width)
  • Use a stop block for fast cuts
  • Sand down shelf pieces
  • Apply Danish Oil (or a finish of your choice)

Step 5: Mount Shelf Supports

  • Use a piece of wood as a jig to square up your ladder uprights to a flat surface
  • The jig acts as a floor to your wall (flat surface, in my case workbench)
  • Screw one upright into jig to hold square to flat surface
  • Make sure the 10-degree cut is flush to jig
  • Line up your shelf supports and make sure they all have the same overhang (2")
  • Pre-drill where you want them
  • Glue and screw in place
  • Use the same measurements on your second ladder upright
  • You will be creating a mirror image with your second upright
  • See final image and watch video to see what I'm talking about!


  • I went with 5 shelves
  • The bottom shelf is 8" from the bottom
  • The rest of the shelves are spaced out 16" from one another

Step 6: Paint Ladder

  • Paint ladder white
  • I used a nice white latex paint from Lowes
  • White spray paint also works very well
  • Do more coats as needed

Step 7: Put Together

  • Get your painted ladder uprights ready!
  • Get your pallet shelves ready!
  • Lay ladder uprights on level/flat surface for easy mounting
  • Start with the bottom making sure everything is square and straight
  • Use nail gun and glue (a screw gun would also work)
  • Work your way to the top continuing to keep it straight and square
  • Rip cut pallet shelves if too wide
  • She done!

Step 8: Enjoy!

  • Set it up somewhere awesome!
  • Put some felt pads underneath the uprights to protect your floor
  • I didn't show this in the video but I would recommend as you might have kids, cats, and ninjas!
  • Enjoy!