These simple, step-by-step instructions will teach you how to make a blanket ladder that looks just like the rustic blanket ladder from high-end designer stores for just a fraction of the cost! This stunning DIY blanket ladder will not only give you storage for your blankets but it will also add major style to your home!
If you don’t know this already, it won’t take you long to discover that I have an obsession with blankets. Some might call it an “issue” or an “addiction” but I like to refer to it as a special love. 😉
As my husband would tell you, it’s not uncommon for us to have 4-6 throw blankets on our sofa at any given time. There are also throw blankets on our front window seat, our chair in the entryway, and all three of our family’s beds.
I can’t help it! I ALWAYS cover up with a blanket whenever I sit down and I hate the thought of anyone having to relax without one.
All this to say, when I was invited to participate in a DIY organizing challenge with 10 other fabulous DIY bloggers this week, I knew I had to make something to help organize and store all our blankets.
I decided to build a copy-cat of a designer-style, rustic blanket ladder I saw recently that sells from $249-$299 and I made ours for just $22!!
Awesome, right? Here’s how it turned out:
Isn’t it lovely? And I’ve got plenty of blankets to add to it. 😉
I hope you have fun with this DIY project! Be sure to check out the other DIY organization projects from each of the bloggers in the challenge linked up at the bottom of this post too!
How to Make a DIY Blanket Ladder
For a printable copy of the materials and instructions, scroll down.
Before we jump into the tutorial, let’s talk about blanket ladders for a minute first.
What’s a Blanket Ladder?
Blanket ladders have become quite popular and trendy over the last few years along with the fixer-upper and farmhouse style decor fad.
They mimic an old-fashioned ladder but are built and designed to be leaned against your wall and have blankets draped over them.
They might also be referred to as a throw ladder or quilt ladder. If you own lots of quilts, then feel free to refer to this project as your DIY quilt ladder! 😉
The rustic blanket ladder (like I’m building here) is typically made of wood, distressed a bit and stained.
If you’re interested in making more of a modern blanket ladder, simply paint the ladder black instead of staining it or make it out of metal piping rather than wood!
Ok, enough talk! Let’s get to building, shall we? 🙂
- Two 1x3x8′ pine common boards
- Three 7/8″ diameter 4′ pine dowels
- Stain (or paint, if preferred)
- Matte Polyurethane
- 1.25″ Screws
- Chop Saw
- Power Drill with 7/8″ spade bit, an 1/8″ standard bit and a counter-sinking bit
- Tape Measure (check out my secrets to reading a tape measure here)
- Painter’s Tape
- Rags (for staining)
- Paint Brush
- Screw Driver
How to Make a Blanket Ladder
STEP 1: CUT YOUR WOOD
Use your chop saw to cut each of your 1×3 boards to 60″ and your dowels into five 18″ pieces.
STEP 2: DRILL YOUR HOLES
Our final blanket ladder will have the dowels inset into the boards with counter-sunk screws on the outside holding them in place. so, we need to drill the insets for the rungs and the counter-sink holes for the screws.
Start by marking the ladder rung locations on your 1x3s at 8″, 19″, 30″, 41″, and 52″ with a pencil. (This gives you an 8″ spacing at the top and bottom and 11″ between rungs.)
Then, use your drill with your standard 1/8″ drill bit to drill all the way through each 1×3 at each spot.
You can see in the picture that we actually used our clamps to hold the two boards together and did them at the same time, but our drill hole shifted a bit on the back board so we wouldn’t recommend doing that. Take your time and drill all 5 holes through each board.
The next step is to make one side of these holes the insets for the dowels to fit into and create the rungs. Do this by drilling 1/4″ down with your spade bit at each hole on one side of each board.
Before you start drilling with your spade bit, a trick we use to know how deep we’re going is to place painter’s tape on the bit at whatever depth we want our inset hole to be.
Simply tape a small flag around your spade bit at 1/4″ down and then when it’s drilling you can simply watch for that flag to get down to the face of your board.
Using your nifty spade bit, drill the five dowel inset holes on one side of each board.
The final drilling step is to use your counter-sinking bit to cut counter-sink holes on the other side of your boards for your screws.
STEP 3: DISTRESS YOUR WOOD
Now that you have your wood all cut and ready to assemble, it’s time to rough up your wood to give it a distressed look. This method will make it a rustic blanket ladder – again, if you’re going for a modern blanket ladder you can skip this step!
To distress my boards I placed them on our textured concrete and stepped on them to get some indents then took a small hammer to them for a few larger marks.
STEP 4: STAIN AND SEAL
The next step is to stain all of your boards and dowels. We chose this stain from Minwax, again because we were going for a the style of the rustic designer ladder, but you can choose any stain or paint color that matches your decor and style preferences.
After the stain has dried for 24 hours, use a matte polyurethane to seal the wood. This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but I highly encourage it as a way of keeping the stain from getting on your blankets.
Matte polyurethane is by far my favorite sealer for these types of projects because it allows the wood to keep its natural sheen even after its sealed.
STEP 5: ASSEMBLE YOUR DIY BLANKET LADDER
Give your sealer 24 hours to dry, and then it’s time to assemble!
One at a time, push each of your dowels into one of the boards.
Then use a screwdriver to screw them into place from the outside of the board.
Once one board is complete, lay it down and press the second board onto the dowels and then screw them all in too.
And that’s it! You now have a stunning blanket ladder that looks just like the ones from the designer stores for a small fraction of the cost!
You could always try adding some decor to it too, like a garland or small hanging sign.
I’m always amazed at how easy it is to recreate expensive designer furnishings.
I hope this blanket ladder DIY tutorial shows you how easy it is to make a DIY ladder for storing and organizing all YOUR blankets!
As promised, here are your printable instructions:
- Cut your 1x3 boards to 60" and your dowels into five 18" pieces.
- Mark your 1x3 boards at 8", 19", 30", 41" and 52" with a pencil.
- Use your drill with a standard 1/8" bit to drill through at each of these marks on both boards.
- On one side of each board, drill 1/4" deep with your spade bit to create the inset for the dowels.
- On the other side of each board, use your counter-sinking bit to drill counter sunk holes for the screws that will hold the dowels in place.
- Distress your boards and dowels using a hammer, rolling them over rough concrete, etc.
- Stain and seal all of your boards and dowels before assembling and allowing 24 hours to dry in between.
- Assemble the blanket ladder by pushing all five of your dowels into one of the 1x3 sides and screw them into place from the outside. Then push on the second side board and screw tit into place.
Let me know if you have any questions and don’t forget to check out all of these other amazing DIY organizing projects from the other challenge participants:
Have a great week, friends!