Who doesn't like blankets?! When it comes to finding a good system for storing your blankets while keeping them neat . . . . Well, that can be a little bit of a challenge sometimes. If you’re anything like my wife then you want a practical yet attractive solution when it comes to blanket storage. Perhaps something that could complement your existing home décor?
Of course, we've all seen, or tried, draping blankets over the back of the couch or your favorite chair, and while that works fairly well, what happens when you don't use the blanket and you try to sit down? It probably falls down, gets knocked to the floor or bunches up under your rear or back thus making you sit uncomfortably. So how about a different solution?
With very little investment and very little mechanical skill, you can build a blanket ladder to help with your blanket storage! A decorative ladder for blankets is definitely growing in popularity and fits well with the popular farmhouse style, but it can be fitting for several other decorating styles as well.
One weekend, Lacey and I found someone to watch Mr. Everett, and we did our most favorite pastime by visiting antique malls! We went in search of a blanket ladder for our own home. Well look and ye shall find! They are plentiful among antique stores and we found several we liked, but we could not believe how expensive small ladders are currently selling for since their sellers are likely trying to benefit from the blanket ladder trend. I mean c'mon! It's half an old rickety wood ladder that couldn't support a person anymore anyways, all its good for is holding blankets! (Oh wait that's what we're doing, HA!)
However, Lacey and I would not be here today, writing this for you if we had chosen to invest $60-$70 on one those antique mall ladders. For less than $20, we were able to make a blanket ladder that fit the bill and has a look exactly like we wanted. Ready to learn how?
1 - 10 ft. Pine 2x4 = $4.12
2 - 1 1/4" x 48" Dowels = $9.96 ($4.98/each)
1 - 8 oz can of Wood Stain = $4.38
Wood Glue = $0 (Already had!)
1 - 10 ft. Pine 2x4
2 - 1 1/4" x 48" Dowels
Favorite wood stain or finish of choice (optional)
Wood Screws (optional)
1 3/8” Forstner, spade, or paddle drill bit
How To Build A Blanket Ladder For Under $20
1. I started by cutting the sides of my ladder, or rails as I will call them. The wife and I decided that 5’ tall would do nicely, that way it's not too tall for her to reach. (Love you, babe!). Since we purchased a 10 foot long 2x4, we just needed to cut it in half! So marking the 2x4 at 60” (5 foot), I cut it in half using my miter saw. (Don’t have a miter saw? No problem! Have an employee at the hardware store cut them for you!)
2. Next up I did some figuring of where I’d put the rungs or steps of the blanket ladder. I’ll be marking on both 2x4’s, so they’ll be mirrored of one another. I laid both of the 2x4’s on their side and measured 9” down from the top and made a mark. Knowledge tidbit! Osha states a standard ladder should have rungs between 10” and 14” inches apart. So with that, I split the difference and made them 12” apart. I set the 12-inch mark on my tape measure at my first mark. From there make a mark every 12 inches. So it'll be 24”, 36”, 48”, and 60”.
3. Next, I need to find the center of both 2x4’s. Every 2x4 actually has a dimension 1½” x 3½” (it’s not actually 2x4!), so the center was 1⅝”. At every 12” mark we made make a mark across at 1⅝”. Where my two marks intersect will be the center point for the next step.
4. So to hold the rungs we didn't want to just screw the dowels from the outside of the rails, that's a super weak way to do it. To give it a more professional look and to do it right, we are going to drill half way through the rail or about ¾’ to make a much stronger joint. It also lets us not have to use a fastener, which also weakens the wood. I marked my drill bit with a Sharpie so that I could see where to stop. We don't want to drill all the way through the rail so having this line drawn on the drill bit serves as a good guide. To make it easy, hold the bit against the edge of the rail at the depth you want and mark a line with your pencil or Sharpie. We took our time and drilled all ten holes.
5. Now it’s time to cut the dowels to make our actual ladder rungs. We wanted the visible part of the rungs to be about 16” wide (not including the rails). You can make it wider or narrower depending on preference. Since we wanted the rungs of our blanket ladder to be supported by the rails we needed to accommodate for this when cutting the dowels because the rungs were going to be placed and glued into the holes we drilled into the rails. Therefore, we had to add the depth for the joint on BOTH sides. With the ladder to be 16” we needed to cut five dowels at 17½”.
6. With all the pieces we need now prepped and ready to be assembled, we need to test fit it to make sure we didn't need to make any adjustments.
7. Happy with how it looks, we started gluing it up! I started by gluing the rungs into only one rail side first. I’m sure you can glue it all at once and it'll be ok, but since I was going to be staining the ladder, I wanted to take my time and do as neat a job as I could. With one rail flat on its side, I filled each hole in the first rail with some wood glue and used my finger to put a little on the rung as well. I gave each rung a little turn as I inserted it to make sure the glue was evenly applied. Making sure they were all in straight and perpendicular, I glued all five rungs in. I just eyeballed it but if you have access to a square you could make sure they're absolutely straight. Allow the wood glue to dry for 2 hours.
8. With the first side dry, it was time to adhere the second rail to the rungs. I laid the other rail down and filled each hole with some more glue. This took a little patience, but carefully work the rungs into the corresponding holes on the other rail. Make sure you have the tops of the rails facing the same direction. Double check to make sure the rungs are fully seated in the holes. Use a hammer to lightly tap the rungs into the 2nd rail.
9. With everything in its proper place, I used my quick clamps to secure both ends and let it dry. The force of the clamps squeezed out some excess glue, so take care to clean up any drips that you see. For those of you that don't have any clamps you could leave it on its side and place something heavy along the top rail to hold it while the glue dries, or if you wish you could use some small screws or nails to secure it but I think that takes away aesthetically from the piece. If you do use screws I would definitely suggest pre-drilling the rails and rungs so they don't split in the process.
10. OPTIONAL: We chose to stain our new blanket ladder. We used Early American wood stain from Varathane and it looks great!
11. OPTIONAL: After the stain dried, I used some paste wax from Minwax and rubbed it over the whole ladder. It takes some elbow grease but I’m very pleased with the finish. It doesn't add much shine to it like a poly would and takes less time, and it seals the stain in so it will protect the blankets we put over it from the stain.
We hope that you enjoy this blanket ladder as much as we do!
With ladder becoming a major trend amongst home decor, what are some ways that you would incorporate one into your household? Lacey and I have a few ideas in the works so stay tuned!