Introduction: 2 Ways to Make a $15 Blanket Ladder
I have now built a blanket ladder six times in my life. It is a true beginner project to take on - so don't be intimidated and go make something!
Step 1: Methodology
I have now built a blanket ladder six times in my life. It is such a simple project to take on - a true beginner project so don't be intimidated!
For anyone looking to add a cool wall fixture to any room, this is even more perfect. In this video/tutorial, I will actually be building it two slightly different ways as not everyone has a pocket hole jig.
I divided this project into all of the shared steps to begin with, then go into the two methods individually, then bring it home again with final steps. Video is below:
Step 2: Gather Materials!
Like I say in my video, the best thing about this project is how simple it is to adapt to your specific needs - be that shape, size, color, wood type, or additional hardware.
My hope is that, no matter what tools you have or what style your home is, you can still make this project for ~$10-20 instead of purchasing something for $100!
MATERIALS PER LADDER
Shared Materials (Meaning you use these no matter what method you do)
- 2 x 1" x 3" x 8' Whitewood
- 1 x 1" x 3" x 8' Whitewood
- Stain and Paint (whatever you choose!)
1.25” Pocket Hole Screws: http://amzn.to/2p5vKYw
- Wood Screws (1.25”)
- 3/4" Dowel (Not necessary if you don't want to countersink your screws)
- TiteBond II Wood Glue: http://amzn.to/2peRFus (only necessary if you use dowels in Method 2)
Shared Tools(Meaning you use these no matter what method you do)
- RYOBI Circular Saw: http://amzn.to/2q1l5wn
- Hand Sanding Sponges: http://amzn.to/2oHa6pP
- 12” Rafter Square: http://amzn.to/2phZUIt
- Tape Measure: http://amzn.to/2qMtJ1c
Method 1-Specific Tools
Method 2-Specific Tools
- RYOBI Drill Bit Set: http://amzn.to/2oKKWXi
- RYOBI Power Drill: http://amzn.to/2q1l5wn
- Coping Saw: http://amzn.to/2pwztQj
- Rubber Mallet: http://amzn.to/2oHl4eV
AUDIO / VISUAL EQUIPMENT
Step 3: Cuts Round 1 (Both Methods!)
NOTE - You will do all of these cuts regardless of how you build your ladders.
I started off by cutting my ladder sides to length using my circular saw using the 2 x 1" x 3" x 8' Whitewood pieces. My sides are 6' each (so the ladder will be 6' tall), so if you want to follow my method, you'll just need to cut off 2' from each piece.
To do this, I clamped all four pieces together (two in your case if you're building a single ladder) and ran my circular saw through all four of them one way, then flipped them over and ran it through along the same lines (Picture 1). My saw only cuts to 1.5" deep, so I needed to do a pass from each side to cut through fully.
Sometimes, like in my case, by using a circular saw from two ends, you end up without the cleanest cuts (Picture 2). I recommend using your sander (belt, orbital, or by hand) to clean this up if it bothers you! However, you can also make these your bottoms, so you never see them anyways!
Step 4: Cuts Round 2 (Both Methods!)
Next, I cut each of my ladder steps to 19" each from my 1 x 1" x 3" x 8' whitewood piece (Picture 1 and 2). This is just the length I use - you have full control over how wide or narrow you want your ladder to be - just remember that if you're using a 96" piece and want four rungs, you will not want to cut each piece longer than 23.75" or you'll run out of wood!
Step 5: METHOD 1 Build - Pocket Holes
To connect the steps to the side pieces, I set my pocket hole jig to the right height and adjusted my drill bit depth as needed and drilled a single pocket hole on each side of the steps (Picture 1).
Next, use your impact driver to drive in your pocket hole screws (Picture 2). You have the option to position these however you want too - you can make them flush with edges of your ladder, set them in the middle using a spacer - totally your choice.
Make sure, as you attach the second side to your steps that you attach at a right angle! I use my rafter square (Picture 3) to confirm I am doing this. If you do mess up, it is very easy to unscrew and reattached at the proper angle. Note - even 1 or 2 degrees will make the ladder look very janky, so do your due diligence!
Step 6: METHOD 2 Build - Drilling (and Optional Dowels!)
For the second method, I used a 3/4" wood spade bit to drill a dowel hole and pilot hole for wood screws. This was the first time I had done this.
NOTE - If you aren't comfortable doing countersunk holes, have limited tools, or just want to keep it simple, then just skip to Pictures 4 and 5 and pre-drill and attach your rungs. The screws will be visible on the outside, but who cares - it's your project!
Picture 1 shows me drilling test hole to gauge the depth, then used that test hole to measure out a fixed depth (Picture 2) and mark with a piece of tapethat I would drill for my final project.
You'll drill four of these pilot holes on each side wood piece for your ladder (Picture 3).
For the ladder rungs, In order to avoid splitting the wood, drill pilot holes for the wood screws (Picture 4). I just marked the center for each piece and drilled all at once to make it easy.
I used my drill to attach the pieces through my pilot holes using my 1.5" wood screws (Picture 5), again, making sure that everything was square - take your time on this!.
Step 7: Stains and Paints (Both Methods)
After connecting all the pieces for each ladder, I moved onto staining - my choices of which can be found in Picture 1.
Method 1 Ladder
I gave my pocket hole ladder a base stain of Minwax's Special Walnut (no picture of this - very straight forward!). I then added a light stain of the Classic Grey stain. No picture, but this does not need to cover the whole ladder - the goal is to make it look as though the stain has been wearing off, allowing the Special Walnut stain to show through.
Method 2 Ladder
For my dowel version, I used a flat white primer mixed with water to again, give the look of a weather/rustic barn wood feel (Picture 2).
Step 8: METHOD 2 - Dowels
At this point, if you did the pocket hole method - your ladder will be complete.
If you did the dowel version, the next steps are for you.
I cut a 3/4" dowel using my circular saw into short pieces - don't worry so much about length here - they can be roughly 1/2" to 3/4" (Picture 1).
I then glued and hammered in my pieces to the eight 3/4" holes I had drilled earlier (Picture 2). This will be a nice snug fit!
Once they dry, I can use my coping saw or a flush trim saw to saw off the pieces (Picture 3 and 4). Lastly, to make them stand out more, I added a light coat of the Classic Grey Stain (Picture 5). This is totally optional but I figured it would look great against the white (Spoiler - it did).
Step 9: You're Done! Hang Your Blankets!
Once your stains and glues dry, you're done!
Hopefully now, you can see how adaptable this project is! You can swap out materials, add more cool hardware, change the stain colors, make them different sizes or shapes. They're awesome and I plan to build a true rustic one in the future (might be a bit more expensive than $15!)
I really like how both of my ladders came out (they made excellent Christmas gifts for various family members who had requested them)!
Step 10: Thanks for Reading!
Thanks for checking out my project. I love building and hopefully that came through in my work!
If you want to know any materials, tools, or have any general questions answered, you can check out the "Gather Materials" step or contact me via my website, thecuttingbored.com and I would be happy to do answer them.
If you enjoyed this project, I would be so grateful if you would subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every few weeks.