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DIY Linens Ladder

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Chelsea Lipford Wolf Expert Blogger 4 Projects

My guest bedroom has been anything but warm and cozy lately. And with the holidays upon us, I thought it was time to do something about that. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think warm and cozy is blankets. And lots of them. So I built a rustic-style ladder to hang blankets on in the corner of my guest room.

When I was trying to come up with a way to make it, I remembered you can buy wooden shovel handles without the shovel head. And since they are similar in size and style to the rungs and supports of this ladder I had in my head, I picked up 4 of them.

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Here are all of the materials I used:

(2) 60-inch bow rake handles

(2) 48-inch leaf rake handles

safety glasses

circular saw


cutting pliers

baking soda

paint brush


¾ inch drill bit

utility knife



The first order of business was to cut off the metal tip that's at one end of the bow rake handles.

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I used my circular saw for this. It's nice that it already has a straight line to cut along!

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I tried to get as close to the metal as possible without cutting the metal itself. Which reminds me, put your safety glasses on for this part!

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Then it was time to prep the smaller 2 handles. They both had a staple in the end. So I use my cutting pliers to pull and leverage them out.

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At this point, you'll also want to determine how wide to make your ladder so you can cut the rungs to size. I went with 18 inches, so I cut (4) 18-inch pieces from the thinner rake handles using the circular saw. (If you have the same handles I used, make sure to include the ends with the taper in two of your pieces. It'll come in handy later.)

With everything cut, get out your sander and run it over all 6 pieces to remove the factory-applied sheen and smooth any splinters. This will also help the next step work better!

In my efforts to make my ladder more rustic, I wanted to age the brand new wood. Now this is where the baking soda comes in. The ratio is highly variable, but I used 1 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda.

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Mix it up really well and then use a paint brush to coat all 4 handles. Since it was getting late for me at this point, I applied it before assembly so it could dry overnight. You can always wait until you're finished with assembly and apply it then.

Regardless, the next step is to drill the holes for the horizontal rungs. But first, decide where you want them. I put my first hole 6 inches from the top. Then I marked at 18 inches, 30 inches, and 42 inches which keeps all of my rungs 12 inches apart.

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Now it's time for the drill and ¾ inch bit. I put the tip of the bit at my measurements so the center of each hole would be evenly spaced.

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I wanted to drill all the way through to make it a little “rougher” and therefore more rustic! But you have to do that in 2 steps. Drill until the tip of the bit pokes through like this.

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Then turn the wooden handle around and finish drilling the hole from that side, inserting the bit into the hole. This will prevent the wood from splintering. Also a good tip if you're drilling holes in cabinet doors for hardware.

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In order for the rungs to fit in the holes we just drilled, we'll need to create a taper on the ends of the horizontal pieces. Two of your pieces should already have the taper on one end.

I used a sharp utility knife, while wearing safety glasses, to shave the ends. Pulling the knife away from my body in a controlled fashion. It felt a lot like peeling a carrot.

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My taper started about 2.5 inches from the end and then got even skinnier about an inch from the end. 

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Keep rotating the handle as you shave it until you see a noticeable difference in the size.

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It's ok if it looks a little rough because the next step is to sand it!

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And while you've got the sander warmed up, touch up the holes on the vertical pieces too.

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With all of the pieces cut, shaved, and sanded, lay out one of the vertical pieces on the ground and insert the rungs. I went down the line one by one and hammered them in.

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Then lay the other vertical piece on top, matching up the rungs with the holes. A little more hammering and your ladder is fully assembled!

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Bring it inside and layer with blankets or towels or both! I put blankets on the bottom three rungs and a towel and washcloth on the top. I'm pleased with the way it turned out and hope my guests will be too!

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Now I'm just trying to figure out what project I can use these shavings for because they look too cool to throw away!

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Happy Thanksgiving!