Bookshelf with DIY Library Ladder

Bookshelf with DIY Library Ladder

Use Carpenter David Leon’s simple instructions to add a library ladder to your bookshelves.

5 col

(1) 2”x2” wood ledger cut to length of wall
(2) 2”x2” wood ledgers cut 6 1/4-inch long and with 25 degree angle at 1 end
(1) 2”x8” wood shelf cut to length of wall
Repurposed wooden ladder
(1) 1-inch steep pipe cut to fit width of wall where the bookshelf will go with threads on either end of pipe (hardware store will thread for you)
(2) 1-inch steel braces for threaded pipe with 4 screw holes
Stud finder
3-inch drywall screws
150-grit sandpaper

Note: This project requires the help of 2 friends.


Install the Shelf:

  1. Decide where you intend to put your bookshelf. You will need at least 10 inches of vertical space to hold most books. Mark location for the shelf on wall with pencil*

*In our room, the height of the room was 8 feet and the shelf we installed sat at 7 feet 2 inches, leaving the necessary 10 inches of space for books.

  1. Find studs on wall using stud finder
  2. To hang the long 2”x2” ledger that will hold up the shelf, have a friend hold it up to the wall. Horizontally level the ledger across the wall and drill screws through the wood and into wall studs
  3. Using the level, create a corner with the 2 smaller wood ledgers by drilling screws on each side through studs. Ensure the angled end is facing out and down toward the floor

  1. Place wood shelf on top of long ledger and side ledgers


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  1. Drill a screw through top of shelf down into wood ledgers to secure. Start at far left and drill a screw every 6 inches going along the entire shelf

Measure and Prep the Ladder:

  1. Take ladder to local hardware store and have them drill 1 1/4-inch holes in top left and right frame of ladder 2 1/2 inches from top and horizontally centered. This is where you will thread the steel pipe through the ladder to support it
  2. To allow the ladder to sit flat on the ground, position the ladder where it will go when pipe is threaded through the holes, and then level off the bottom and cut with a handsaw
  3. Sand the cut ends of the ladder with 150-grit sandpaper so it’s smooth

Install Steel Pipe and Ladder:

  1. Use stud finder to locate stud 3 inches below shelf on each sidewall. This is where you will mount the steel pipe’s brace plates

  2. Attach steel brace plates to both ends of steel pipe by screwing on

  3. With help from a buddy, line up the steel pipe brace plates with your stud marks. You want to hang the steel pipe 3 inches below the bottom of your shelf into the studs. Ensure the pipe is level and outline the steel plates on either end with pencil to mark where the pipe will go

  4. Take pipe down and unscrew the brace plate on one end. Slide the pipe through ladder holes and then screw the steel brace plate back on end of pipe

  5. With help from a buddy, hold steel pipe back up to your marked position on wall. The ladder should now be attached and on the correct side to climb up and reach the shelf. Once pipe and ladder are in position, screw in 3-inch drywall screws through the holes in both of the steel brace plates and into studs to secure

  1. Climb up the ladder to decorate the shelf with books, frames, etc.

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