An Amazing Bookshelf From An Old Ladder

An Amazing Bookshelf From An Old Ladder

Whether you come to love reading at six or sixty-five, the experience of leafing through a book evolves into a significant and treasured part of your life. Books help you grow and expand your life, challenge your views, and help you remember and forget.

Got plenty of books but have a small room? Maybe you’d just like to add a unique conversation piece to your study? This DIYer found the perfect solution in the most unexpected place – the trash!

This dingy old ladder was ready for the dump but was given a new life. With a book collection that needed shelving, and an unwillingness to buy a new bookshelf, this DIYer realized that transforming this ladder into a stylish bookshelf offered the perfect solution.

What’s great about this bookshelf is that it’s lightweight and built in such a way that you could easily disassemble it to relocate it. It doesn’t consume a lot of floor space and provides a surprising amount of storage.

Not only do you save space, but money as well. Most of the materials are free and salvaged from previous projects. All that is needed to be bought are some brackets and the finishing materials. Perfect, isn’t it?

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  • Ladder
  • ¼” Red Oak Planks
  • ¼ – ½” Red Oak Support
  • ½ x 1 ½” Red Oak
  • 1 ½” Shelf Brackets – cross bars support
  • Shelf Braces – mending plates, crossbars support
  • Wood Glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood Finish
  • ½” – 5/8” Wood Screws


  • Jig Saw
  • Sander
  • Drill
  • Level
  • T-Square
  • Tape Measure

Steps to transform your old ladder into an amazing bookshelf:

The first step to refinishing an old ladder is the most time-consuming: sanding the entire ladder to remove its current paint. This process can be tedious, but it’s important to make sure that you sand evenly to create a smooth surface for the new project.


The time and effort you put into sanding your old ladder will be worth it when you see the beautiful wood grain that’s revealed beneath the surface.


Next, attach the metal braces under the ladder steps. Make sure both of these metal braces are aligned so that your shelf would be level.


This is how it should look together with the crossbar. The crossbar provides extra stability and support, making it ideal for use with heavier items. It also helps to keep the shelves level, so that your items don’t topple over.


Do the same with the other ladder steps, the next pair of crossbars being longer than the ones above them. The crossbars should be flush against the back of the step and aligned with the back rail as well. This is where you can use the T-Square.

Your cut would depend on the angle of the rail the crossbar will be next to. If the rail is at a 90-degree angle, you will want to make a perpendicular cut. However, if the rail is at a different angle, you will need to make a different cut accordingly.


Then measure and cut the 1/4″ boards you have accordingly for the shelves. Attach some wood support underneath them so that the shelves would not slide off the steps. These would also serve to support the weight of the books you will be putting.

The shelves would not be glued nor screwed to the steps so it would be easy to disassemble and move. This is an important consideration if you plan on frequently rearranging your furniture or redecorating your space.


Coat the ladder bookshelf with your desired finish…


and once dry you are ready to load your ladder bookshelf with your books!


Thank you action pig for the great idea!



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