Recycled Ladder Bookshelves for unique storage & decorating

Furniture Ideas

2 ladders, 5 planks, 2 2×4’s. That’s all you need to make these beautiful bookshelves. Oh, and nuts ‘n’ bolds, a hammer, a drill and a saw, an hour or so, some good coffee beans, and enough petrol in the car to hit the store in case you need something. But that really is about it.

Love the rustic nature of these bookshelves!  Julie Rose from Follow Your Heart Woodworking in Canada designed and made them.   Handay gal!! 

Hats of for Julie, a former stay-at-home mom who lives in the country in Northern Ontario.  She took a cabinet makers course and launched a new career as country style furniture designer.

Somehow reading Julie’s story about herself made me think of Woodswoman by Anne LaBastille.


photo credit : Julie Rose

My Quick 1,2,3 How-to

I sure am no cabinet maker Pro like Julie,but this quick 1,2,3 sums up how I were to make these.

Prep: Measure ladder height. (Eg. here you can buy some rustic barnwood ladders ) Decide how wide you would like your bookshelves to be. Measure the lengths of the planks that you already have. If needed, cut planks to size or have someone e.g. Home depot, yr hubby, do this for you, and sand planks as needed.

Decide how many inches you would like your planks to stick out of the ladders, and deduct this from your overall bookshelf width. Whatever figure you come up with is the width for the cross at the back of your bookshelves.

1. Crisscross your 2×4’s to get that desired width, and mark the center point. Drill a hole right there and secure them together with a nut and bold.

2. Attach the cross to the both ladders. Cut 2×4’s to size if you haven’t already done so.

3. Add the planks and secure in place as desired.  The  more permanently you’ll secure them the stronger your bookshelves will be. E.g. add small blocks of wood on the bottom of your planks just next to the rungs to prevent the planks from moving.

There is more info obviously on Julie’s blog.

Beach Cottage Bookshelves

~ an alternative.

I am passionate about that beach cottage-look, as you know. So, can’t help it but just like the idea of finishing this rustic bookshelves with dock line or boat rope ties at the corners, i.e. where the planks meet the ladders. This will help the stability and the security of that wonderful piece of DIY furniture you’ve just created. It will also give a nautical designer designer finish to these bookshelves letting tie in better with a beach cottage style theme.

So, on second take, THESE are my  1,2,3 How-to Instructions to Make Rustic bookshelves with ladders:

1. Have 2 friends hold up your two ladders and place the planks horizontally onto the rungs of the ladders.

2. Secure a rope crisscross at the back of your bookshelves.  Make sure you use high quality rope. You can also add small blocks of wood on the bottom of your planks just next to the rungs.

3. Tie knots onto the ladders just above each plank to keep the planks from moving.

For more Design with Ladders Tips, Ideas and Tutorials

Decorating with ladders has been a well-covered topic here at FineCraftGuild. Here are some prior posts and a look-book with ideas.

1. Ladders as Christmas Tree Alternatives 

2. Decorate with Recycled Ladders

3. Cool Outdoor Shower

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