Old Wooden Ladder Shelf, Simple Upcycled Ladder Idea

When we moved into our home, we found this old fashioned, somewhat rickety wooden ladder in our basement.

turning an old wooden ladder into a rustic industrial shelf, ladder before photo.

So, what can we do with an old wooden ladder?

At first, Jason used the ladder as a makeshift storage area to hang his Army uniforms in the basement. Once we made a designated closet for his uniforms and gear, it was time to upcycle it into something new!

My favorite idea for decorating with a wooden ladder is also a practical one: make shelves!

There are so many inspiring ideas out there on how to turn a ladder into a shelf. The way we fixed up this one is about as basic as can be!

Easy Wooden Ladder Shelf

Since our ladder does not have steps on both sides, we opted to make our shelves only along one side, installed over each step.

We created a rustic wooden ladder shelf in just one afternoon with this fun and simple DIY. This post may contain affiliate links.

1. Paint the Ladder

First, I put the ladder outside on a drop cloth. I gave it a thorough cleaning with a degreasing cleaner and let it dry.

Next, I spray painted the entire ladder with two coats of Rustoleum Farmhouse Black. The ladder has both wood and metal parts, and spray paint adheres great to both!

Coating the ladder with spray paint, upcycle an old wooden ladder shelf

2. Make the Shelves

To make the shelves, we purchased a piece of 1″x10″x6″.

We measured each step, and cut the pieces just a hair (about 1/16″) less than the width of the step.

measure each step of the ladder, and cut shelves to fit. Upcycling an old wooden ladder into a rustic industrial shelf! #upcycle #farmhouseindustrial #diyfurniture

I wiped on a quick coat of Minwax dark walnut stain with a sock rag. Once the stain dried, I applied a coat of satin polyurethane.

staining the shelves, wooden ladder shelf upcycle

To mount the shelves, we used 1 1/4″ wood screws to attach the shelves from the underside of each step.

Here is the finished ladder shelf!

Turn an old wooden ladder into a rustic shelf with this quick and easy upcycle idea! #homediy #craftideas #furnitureflip #furnituremakeover #upcycling #storageideas

We are using it in the corner of of the basement family room. The lighting was so dim there, that I pulled it out to take a photo.

DIY old wooden ladder shelf upcycle. If you have an old ladder laying around the house, check out this quick and easy rustic industrial furniture idea! #furnitureflip #diyfurniture #industrial #farmhouseindustrial #rustic #upcycling

Between this wooden ladder shelf, and the matching makeover of the old metal table and stool, we have been on an upcycling adventure this week!

Have you upcycled anything for your home recently? I would love to hear about it!

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