Blanket ladders are not only inexpensive when you do them yourself, but they’re also one of the easiest things to make. In this tutorial, you’ll not only learn how to make a blanket ladder, but I’ll show you how to add a woodworking detail not seen before! Please note that this blanket ladder is for decorative purposes, not for climbing.
I wouldn’t call my style fine woodworking, but I will call it creative. And not to mention very forgiving, so if you’re new to woodworking, you’ll appreciate this approach. I love finding an easy way to “fake” a woodworking technique that looks like you have mad skills! In this case, I wanted to hide the screws in the ladder’s rungs, and covering them with a faux mortise and tenon joint was the perfect solution. I was especially proud when it fooled my friend, who is a professional woodworker!
Hi! I’m Lisa from The Old Tree Cottage. Although creating rustic or vintage-inspired decor is what I love to do, I’ve always loved sharing my tips, even when I was told I shouldn’t. So now it’s official, I’m sharing what I do. It’s also how I’m paying it forward for all the inspiration I’ve gotten from others.
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- 3- 8′ long 2x2s
- 1- 12″ long 3/4″ dowel or old wooden handle from a broom
- 8- 3″ wood screws
- Drill with Robertson (square) bit and a small drill bit for pilot holes
- Chop saw
- Wood glue & optional hot glue gun
- Wood Clamp (optional)
1. Cut the side rails for the blanket ladder
I prefer the feet and top of the blanket ladder to sit flush with the floor and wall. To do this, the side rails get cut at an angle at the top and bottom. You can always omit this if you prefer, but I encourage you to try it! It makes the end product look more professional.
- Set the angle on the chop saw to 15 degrees. This will be for the feet.
- Position your 2×2 with just enough on the end to cut the 15-degree angle.
- Cut the blanket ladder at 6′ on the opposite end using a 90-degree angle (straight cut).
- The top angle is optional, but it looks much better, in my opinion, and it doesn’t mark the walls as easily.
- See the photo below for measurements. Measure, then cut with a jigsaw and sand the edges smooth.
2. Cut the rungs & a space
For this 6′ wooden blanket ladder, I use four rungs that are 15″ wide, cut out of 2x2s, the same as the side rails. But this is your project, so adjust the width of the rungs how you like.
- Cut 4- 15″ pieces of 2×2.
- Cut a scrap piece of wood 13″ long for a spacer between rungs. Any wood will do for this.
3. Attaching the first side rail to the rungs
Before you attach anything, place the side rails of the blanket ladder side by side, ensuring that the bottom with the 15-degree angle is facing down. The last thing you want is an assembled blanket ladder with the angle facing the wrong way… not based on a true story! Ehem, did my nose grow?
- Mark both side rails of the blanket ladder 17″ from the bottom. Move one of the side pieces out of the way for now.
- Take the 13″ spacer and clamp it onto the 17″ mark. This gives the first rung something to sit on to help it stay in place while you attach it.
- On the side of the blanket ladder, mark the center for the screw. (see left photo above) If you have a countersinking bit, go ahead and use it. Otherwise, drill it in so the screw isn’t poking out. The hole will be covered with a piece of dowel later.
- Grab the first rung and add an even layer of wood glue on one end. Don’t go crazy with the glue. It will make the wood slip and slide.
- Hold the rung tight to the spacer and screw in a 3″ wood screw. Once in a while, I find the 3″ screw doesn’t seem to grab the rung. In this case, I’ll switch to a longer screw.
- Take the 13″ spacer and butt up against the first rung. Hold it in place with a clamp if it’s easier for you.
- Find the center for the next rung. (see left photo above)
- Drill a pilot hole, glue the end, then attach the side to the rung with a 3″ screw.
- Repeat steps 7 to 9 for the remaining rungs.
4. Attaching the second side rail of the blanket ladder
Almost in the home stretch of the build! Before you start the other side rail, make sure to glue all of the end pieces of the rungs at one time because there’ll be no room to add glue once the other side is added.
- Glue all of the ends of the rung at the same time.
- Follow the previous steps 3 to 10 in Step #3
5. Cover the screw holes with slices of dowel
Telling you that you’re going to cover the screw holes with a slice of dowel sounds less intimidating than “we are going to make a faux mortise and tenon joint.” But trust me, this is so simple! In the photo above on the right, you can see that using an old wooden broom handle, as I did, gives it a lot of character.
- Cut 8- 1/2″ thick dowels for the faux mortise and tenon joints.
- Add hot glue on one side of the dowel piece.
- Quickly (before the hot glue sets), center it over the screw hole and press firmly, ensuring it stays in place.
- Repeat steps 2 – 3 for the rest of the screw holes.
Finishing Ideas for the Blanket Ladder
How you finish, the ladder is up to you. Paint it, stain it, and add words to it. No matter how many you make, no two ever look the same. It’s the beauty of rustic and handmade using wood. Let me know in the comments how you finished your blanket ladder!
So what would you like to make next? For more ideas, check out my DIYs.
See you at the next project!