Colder weather is quickly approaching! Hooray! Time to snuggle up with your favorite blanket on the couch. But where do you put that blanket after the cuddle sesh? Well, this super stylish Blanket Ladder will do the trick! It’s easy to make and easy on the budget. All you need is some wood that costs under $10, and a few basic tools and supplies!
I must admit, I love blankets. They are all over my house. So once the blanket ladder craze hit I wanted one to display throws in a not so “baskety” way.
The only problem is, blanket ladders are expensive. The cheapest I found is $45. And those are for the ones that LOOK cheap as well. The really eye catching blanket ladders are priced upwards of $300! Yowsa!
So, I set out to make my own but quickly ran into a dilemma. Since it’s no secret that I am just beginning my DIY journey, I don’t have any power tools. Boo!
Buying a nail gun and saw for $500 would have totally defeat the purpose of a money saving rampage for a blanket ladder. So, I decided to make my own using household tools most people have on hand. And no power tools!
Natural Stain Using Basic Household Items
Oh, did I mention I found this fantastic tutorial for a natural wood stain using basic household items you probably already have in your pantry? Not. even. kidding. No harsh chemicals, and it turns a gorgeous grayish walnut color. I Gave it a try for this project and it is simply amazing. I’m trying to think up other things I can stain with this method. It’s so cool! My experience with this amazing technique is explained in full detail below.
Let’s get to it. Here is a step by step guide on how to make your own Blanket Ladder with no power tools needed!
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EASY DIY BLANKET LADDER
- (1) 12 ft. 2 x 4, cut in half (white wood)
- (1) 8 ft. 1 x 4, cut into 4 – 20″ slats (white wood)
- Wood glue
- Box of 2″ nails (common)
- 8 clamps
- Sand paper, fine grit #220 (1-2 sheets)
- Tape measure
- (2) Cups of boiled water
- (4) Tea bags (Caffeinated, Family size)
- Apple Cider Vinegar (one bottle, 16 oz.)
- (1) Steel Wool Pad (Grade #0000)
- (2) 2″ chip paint brushes
- Floor cover/drop cloth
- Paint rag
HACKS ABOUT SUPPLIES
CHOOSING YOUR WOOD
I used regular pine whitewood for the 2 x 4’s and 1 x 4.
When choosing the wood, look for a nice even grain. Check for any large knots and avoid if possible. Unless you like sanding a bunch. Or if you just want to go for that look. Also, at these home improvement stores they like to stamp wood with their company logo. You’ll want to avoid this as well.
Also, when selecting wood for your project look for and avoid wood bowing in the boards. The longer a piece of wood is, the more common it is for bowing. Before purchasing, be sure and eye down the length of the wood for a straight piece.
The coloring of the wood in its original state doesn’t matter much since you will be staining it. You can see in the photo below, there is a variation in color from the 2 X 4 side pieces and 1 X 4 rungs. After the stain is applied, you won’t be able to tell at all. So no worries about that!
This sounds silly but I tried to use some old wood glue we had out in the garage. It was super thick and probably not usable. But I went ahead and used it anyway to save some money. While it did work okay, it seeped over the edges of the wood and created a little more work for me on sanding. Just my advice, use newer wood glue to avoid extra work for yourself. Gorilla Wood Glue is great.
When it came to picking up the nails for the blanket ladder project, I had no ideas which ones to choose. I went with 2″ common nails. They worked great!
Because I am new DIY’er, I only had 2 clamps. For a substitute on the other 6 clamps, I put used some heavy items I found in our garage as clamps until the glue dried. It would have been nice to have the 8 clamps but you can totally improvise with what you have!
The most important hack for gathering supplies and creating your stylish blanket ladder…Have fun with your family or friends! Be sure to include those you love in the process and make memories out of the experience. Sure I could have gone by myself and gotten done quicker, with less melt downs. Where’s the fun in that? There’s no better way to build a strong relationship with your kids than exploring new experiences together. Even if it is going to the hardware store and zipping around in the flat bed cart!
BUILDING THE LADDER
Step 1. Cut the Wood
2 side pieces
To make the 2 side pieces – First, you will cut the 2 x 4 in half. Each side piece should be 6 ft. (72 inches) in length.
Next, for the rungs – cut the 1 x 4 into 4 pieces at 20 inches each.
If you have power tools, by all means use them to cut the wood. Otherwise, I went to Lowe’s and they cut it for me! Any big box hardware store should be equipped to do the cuts for you. The first two cuts are free and then 25 cents after that. I spent less than $1 on cuts. Well worth it in my opinion. I needed them to cut the wood down anyways to fit in my car so it worked out great. Just be sure to bring all your measurements for cuts to speed the process along.
Step 2. Sand and Wipe the Wood Down
The next step is to sand the wood using fine grit sand paper. I wasn’t really sure how important this step is because I’m new to all of this Do it yourself stuff. Until I picked up a board and got a splinter. Ouch! You will want to sand down all of the splinters and sharp edges caused by wood cuts. Also sand out any rough spots or knots to make a nice smooth finish.
Next you will take a clean paint rag and wipe away all sawdust from sanding. Be sure the surface is nice and clean.
Step 3. Measure and mark the wood for Rung Placement
From the bottom, there will be a space of 16 inches. There will be an 11 inch space between each rung. Finally there will be a 9 inch space from the top. Measure and mark accordingly.
Step 4. Glue and Clamp the Wood
Now that you have everything measured and marked, you can glue the 4 – 20 inch rung slats on your 2 – 2 x 4 pieces. Once they are in place. Clamp them and let the glue dry for at leas an hour. Be sure to follow the instructions for your particular wood glue.
Step 5. Nail the Rungs in Place
Next, you will take your hammer and nail in the rung pieces to the side pieces. I used 4 nails for each side of the rung. This will give the blanket ladder a nice finished look. And firmly secure the slats to hold those cozy blankets.
6. Remove Excess Glue
Take your sand paper and remove any excess glue around the edges. This step is soooo important because when you go to stain later, where the glue is stain will not touch. This will leave you with light splotches in those places.
7. Stain the Wood
Now, you are finally ready to stain the wood. And your lovely blanket ladder is almost complete!
- Boil 4 tea bags in 2 cups of water, pour into a bowl and let it soak for 24 hours (will turn a dark brown color)
- Take 1 steel wool pad and soak in 16 oz. of apple cider vinegar in a bowl, soak for 24 hours (Will turn a slight darker shade of brown)
- Apply tea bag solution, let it dry for 1 hour
- Apply steel wool solution, let it dry for 1 hour
- It will take a day or two for the vinegar smell to dissipate
WOOD STAIN HACKS
Tea Bag solution
After you apply the tea solution, it really looks like nothing is happening to the wood. Don’t be fooled. On the wood surface the tea bag solution is pulling out the tanins in the wood.
Steel Wool Solution
When the steel wool pad is soaking in apple cider vinegar once again it looks like nothing is happening. I could’t see a big difference in color at all. I was getting frustrated thinking I did something wrong. And almost bought stain just in case. I’m so glad I didn’t.
Immediately after the steel wool solution was applied, it turned a natural gray tone. Fabulous color!
And We are DONE! I love the way it turned out. I hope you enjoy your blanket ladder as much as I do! Comment below with any questions or tips for me.
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