Introduction: Rubbish Recliner - Step Ladder -> Seat Transformation

About: Living in Barcelona and making furniture mainly from things found in the street.. I'm hoping to make it more of an income at some point. Hope you like something you see here, if you do feel free to get in tou…

The streets around where I live give up some surprising things if you're willing to do a bit of bin hoking.. this project started with an old, broken, paint covered step ladder that I thought deserved better in life.

I thought that since all the parts were found on the street I wouldn't bother to give it a finished look, the random colours and obviously different parts kinda add to it

Step 1: Tools and Parts

The "Parts" list here doesn't have a whole lot of structure.. basically whatever you can find to create something similar to the pictures should do.

I gathered my high quality materials from these piles of rubbish I found on the street. Actually pretty much everything in this build came from the street; including most of the screws, the seat cover, the planks and even the makeshift bracket to hold the wires in the final design.


  • Step ladder
  • Planks for back
  • Seat
  • Wire
  • Some wood to make the arms / blocks for the sides.
  • Paint
  • Approx 20 screws (if you're lucky you can reuse ones from what you find)


  • Saw
  • Screwdriver
  • File / sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Some masking tape will help keep things clean when painting too
  • Tape measure / ruler
  • Spirit level

Step 2: Back and Base

  • Place a plank between the bottom and second bottom step of the ladder
  • Take measurements and mark holes for drilling
  • Set second plank on top of the first (this was for added strength)
  • Drill holes and screw back into the ladder
  • Make sure the base sits level on the top of the ladder
  • Drill 4 holes in the top of the ladder
  • Screw upwards through these holes into the base (make sure the screws are long enough to get into the base, but not poke through all the way)

The ladder I found was not level so had to be taken apart and leveled.. sorry I don't have any pics of this, but you basically have to unscrew the 2 parts of the ladder, level the top, then secure the sides with blocks (circled in red), before putting the base on.

Step 3: Cables

You don't want the seat to be too straight, it's good if it can recline a bit.. To do this without risking the back snapping I supported it with some cable.

  • Drill 9 holes in the back (for me 2cm in from the edge, 4cm spaced vertically worked) Before drilling I tested the design out with some string.
  • Put the cable through one of the clamps in the sides of the chair then weave it in and out of the back in the order shown below

Step 4: Arms and Painting

After the back is in place you can position the arms so they don't get in the way of the cables

  • Screw them into the tops of the ladder.
  • All that's left to do is to paint the steps and sides..

I hope you enjoyed reading through, if you'd like to see some more then check out instagram: jamesmco1

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