Ladder Shelving

Ladder Shelving

Use designer Kenneth Wingard’s instructions for creating unique shelving from old ladders.

5 col

(2) 5-foot wooden stepladders
(4) 1”x12”x8’ plywood — to be used as shelves
Decorator’s tape
Spray paint and primer in one — color of your choice
Painter and primer in one — semi-gloss — color of your choice
Paint roller
Paint tray
Tape measure
Drill with 1/8-inch drill bit
Phillips screwdriver
(16) 1 1/2-inch wood screws


Preparing the Ladders and Shelves:

  1. Apply decorator’s tape to any metal parts of the stepladders to mask them from spray paint in the next step
  2. In a well-ventilated area, spray paint both stepladders the color of your choice. Allow paint to dry, and then apply a second coat. Allow paint to dry before moving on to the next step
  3. Paint the four shelving boards the color of your choice using a paint roller and semi-gloss paint. Allow paint to dry, and then apply a second coat of paint. Allow the second coat to dry before moving on to the next step

Assemble the Shelving Unit:


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  1. Place the ladders side by side with their feet and the paint shelves touching each other

  1. Slide the shelves through the steps of both ladders on each level, and then place one shelf over the top steps
  2. Use a tape measure to make sure the shelves are centered on the ladders and the overhang is equal on both sides
  3. To hold the shelves in place, drill two pilot holes through the underside of each step and into the bottom of the shelf. Secure the shelves in place with 1 1/2-inch wood screws

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