Over the holiday break I had a lot of rare time to work on some projects around the house without feeling rushed. One of the things on my to-do list that dated back a few months was to make a blanket ladder. I always liked how these little ladders could be so versatile. They can easily fit into a rustic design style by using reclaimed wood or finding wood that has a lot of character. Or you can give them a more modern refined look by using really smooth wood and painting instead of staining.
For our little corner, I wanted something that felt warm and rustic but a tad refined. Our style tends to lean more towards Transitional so I went with wood that had some character (plenty of nicks and plenty of knuckles) but skipped on the reclaimed wood. I went to my local Home Depot and Lowes (my first trip to Lowes ended in me not measuring my rungs correctly so I made a second trip to Home Depot) to find wood. I found two 1×3 six foot pieces of wood. These pieces served as the sides. I then found a 1x3x6 wood strip at Home Depot in the clearance section of the Lumber. Who knew there was a clearance section on scrap wood!! I had them cut five 17 inch pieces to use as the rungs.
The longest part of this whole project was the staining which I’ll tell you why in a bit.
My Easy DIY Blanket Ladder
I began by laying out my pieces exactly where I wanted them. I placed the rungs on top of the ladder instead of the insides as they are traditionally because I wanted the exposed screws and I wanted something different.
After I had my rungs in place, I used 2 inch screws to secure each rung to the sides. I used a total of four screws per rung.
This is how the ladder looked once all the rungs were attached. (Please excuse our grungy garage door!)
After the ladder was completely secured, I sanded the whole thing down making sure there were no pieces of splintered wood. There was a lot of split wood where the cuts were made, so I smoothed the edges of the rungs to a rounded finish. This got rid of the splits and gave the ladder a softer look. Be sure to make sure you’ve sanded down any rough areas because you don’t want to snag your pretty blankets.
After sanding, I gave my ladder a good wipe down with a clean wet lint free rag to ensure all the dust was gone.
Now for staining. I initially wanted a grayish finish. But after applying a coat of the Minwax Classic Gray, I wasn’t happy about the ash look. We had a can of Minwax Special Walnut so I decided to do some experimenting.
I applied a coat of the Classic Gray, allowing it to sit for five minutes. I then applied a coat of Classic Walnut on top and allowed it to sit for an additional 15 minutes. This created a very warm but grayish finish.
I chose not to apply a topcoat to my ladder because I did not want a shiny finish. I waited about 24 hours before using the ladders. I wanted to be sure that any stain that may have pooled in crevices were completely dry.
I also added curtains to our living room which was on my to do list as well. The ladder plus the curtains just made the whole room feel so much more warm and cozy. I’m super excited about how this project turned out!