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Easy Rustic Ladder Tutorial

Hey Y’all, I decided that a Rustic Ladder was just the thing needed to hang plants and baskets in the Greenhouse. Since I didn’t want to take my vintage ladder out of the Farmhouse, here is what we did.

Today’s tutorial is the step by step process of how to build an Easy Rustic Ladder. Although my husband was helpful in using his tools, however, I could have handled these simple steps myself.

Don’t stop reading if you’re not interested in a rustic ladder. I encourage you to check out the other creative uses for making your own rustic ladder that are shared at the end of this post.

Gather your Supplies

First, you need to determine the length and width of your ladder. Because this ladder was going to be used for a specific purpose in the greenhouse, it’s a little wider than I’d recommend for some other uses. The overall dimensions of this ladder are 8′ x 2′, therefore 2 – 8 ft long 1 x 3 inch Spruce Pine Boards were used as the side rails.

2 – 3x1x8 – Spruce Boards
3 – 1x1x6 dowel or closet rods
Wood Glue

In addition, 3 – 1 x 1 x 6 dowel rods will allow for 7 rungs that will 2 feet wide each. The only other supplies needs are wood glue, stain and/or paint, depending on the look you prefer for your rustic ladder.

Measure for the dowel rod spacing

Next, measure the spacing for the dowel rods using a tape measure or yard stick.

For this project, the rods were placed 2 feet apart. After carefully measuring the distance, clamp both pine boards together and drill a 1 inch hole through both boards using a cordless drill and a 1″ drill bit.

Because this was a rustic, primitive ladder, we allowed the hole to go completely through the side rails. As a result, the ladder has a primitive pegged appearance.

However, if you prefer a less rustic feel, you should drill the hole without allowing the drill bit to go completely through the wood. In addition, you will need to drill each side rail separately for this application.

Note: In addition, you may also prefer to use a thicker side rail because drilling a shallow hole within a 1″ board is difficult.

Cut ladder rungs from Dowel Rods

For the next step, measure and mark your dowel rods. Then using a saw, cut each rod to the exact same size to assure that the ladder will be equal in width from top to bottom. Once again, we choose to make the ladder 2 foot wide, therefore the rods were cut at exactly 2′ each.

Attach the rods to complete the Rustic Ladder

For the final step, apply a small amount of wood glue to the inside of each drilled hole before adding the dowel rods. This will assure that the rods don’t slip from the side rails. Then, using a rubber mallet, the dowel rods were gently hammered into the side rails. Once the first side is completed, attach the second side rail by lining up all the dowels with the holes before hammering into place.

Ta-Da – An Easy Rustic Ladder

Once you allow the glue to set, your ladder is ready to use for decorative purposes only.

Warning: The materials used to construct this ladder are not intended for anything other than decorative use. If you want a functioning ladder that you can step up on, you would need to use hard woods and should consult another tutorial.

Optional Step – Stain or Paint your DIY Ladder

Finally, you can choose to leave your ladder natural or apply a stain or paint, depending on the look you prefer. Because I wanted the ladder to add some character to the greenhouse, I didn’t want it to disappear once installed. Therefore, I choose an easy to use gel stain for quick application and it was easy to dry.

Because the wood used is very ruff in texture, applying the stain using a chip brush was the best option. Once the surface is covered, then use a dry cloth to wipe off any excess stain.

You can choose to seal the stain or leave it as is. For a more rustic, primitive look, we choose to leave the finish unvarnished.

The Ladder Installed

Next, it was time to install the ladder and add a few baskets and ferns. As the weather becomes colder, all my ferns will find a spot on this handy ladder.

You can see all the details about the DIY Greenhouse here. In addition, it includes how to get your t-shirt to look like this. LOL

This project only cost $23.00 and the ladder is perfect for the greenhouse. Also, to hang the various baskets, I love using these S hooks which are so handy. They allow for hanging almost anything and can be easily moved and adjusted in comparison to hooks that are permanently attached to surfaces. You can find these hooks here.

The space above the DIY potting table already looks so much cozier. See Potting Table DIY Here.

Other uses for A Rustic Ladder

There are so many fun ways to use a rustic ladder in your home. If you don’t have a real vintage ladder, using this easy rustic ladder tutorial will help you create the vintage feel you desire without the expense.

Here is the vintage ladder that is beside the desk in our living area. The ladder provides visual interest to the otherwise blank wall and in addition, provides a place to hang notes and inspiration beside my desk. See Fall Home Tour Here.

Make a Ladder Chandelier

You can use a ladder to make a unique chandelier as you can see below. I’ve seen various designs, however this one, by Leslie at My 100 Year Old Home is a favorite.

Leslie at My 100 New Old Home used a Ladder to make a unique Chandelier for her Waco Remodel. See all the details here.
Create a Blanket Ladder

Another way to use your DIY Ladder is to build one to hold blankets or throws. See this cute and rustic display which keeps your throw blankets within easy reach.

Photo credit – Pinterest

Here is another cute way to use a rustic ladder to hang your many décor items for display.

Photo Credit: Nested Sanctuary Instagram

Dressing your rustic ladder up for the holidays is just around way to use a fun ladder in your home décor.

Photo Credit: Pinterest
shades of blue interiors | farmhouse holiday living room tour
Rustic Ladder Porch Décor


Wednesday 6th of October 2021

As always, you are so kind and sharing. Everything is beautiful.

Thursday 7th of October 2021

Diana, Thanks for your sweet comments.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

Hope to soon make a ladder to hang in my laundry are to use for a drying rack. Thanks for the tutorial!

Saturday 3rd of October 2020

Oh Sandra, That's a great idea. Let me know how it turns out. Rachel


Friday 2nd of October 2020

Your ladder tutorial made it look so easy! Jill

Saturday 3rd of October 2020

Jill, I promise it is very easy. If you have a few handy tools, you can do this. Rachel


Thursday 1st of October 2020

Y'all make everything look so easy! Pinned and hope to get around to making one soon. I need this!

Saturday 3rd of October 2020

Awww thanks Cindy.


Thursday 1st of October 2020

What an inspired idea for your greenhouse, instantly warm and cozy. Thanks for sharing all the photos too, love the ones with Christmas roping. A ladder in my future :)

Saturday 3rd of October 2020

Jillian, There are so much cute ways to use them. Best of luck.