I promised myself after signing the lease to our new apartment that I wouldn’t purchase anything for it until we had moved in and I had a chance to see how everything we already owned fit into the space. However a couple of weeks before we moved in I was wandering through the new thrift store in Arnprior Valley Thrift and came across this old wooden ladder tucked away in the back corner of the book section. I immediately knew I needed it and although I didn’t know at this time what I wanted to do with it I knew I had pinned a bunch of DIY projects on my Pintrest Board over the years so I paid my $5 and fit it in my car (with a little manoeuvring you would be amazed what my little mazda 3 can hold).
The ladder still had the supporting back peice on it, however it was broken off on one side and still attached by this weird looking bolt. My original plan was to remove and discard the back piece however I didn’t know what to use to get this bolt out so I enlisted the expert and e-mailed my grandpa a picture of it asking for his assistance. He told me to bring it over and he would take a look at it. Over dinner we discussed what I wanted to do with the ladder and he suggested turning the back piece into another ladder so that I would have two to work with… Genius! Grandpa got right to work as the next day as I began getting e-mails at work with pictures of the original ladder with the rungs reinforced and the back piece which my grandpa managed to add rungs to using the diagonal support beam that use to be on the original ladder. The original front ladder also had a rung missing at the top so I found an old board around the house that I brought over and he managed to make work.
It was then time to ask for assistance from the staining expert (my grandma) on what I should do to finish the ladders as I had now decided I wanted to use them for organizing blankets in my living room and scarves/belts in my bedroom. The first thing I did was sand down the ladders by hand with a heavy grit paper and with my grandmas help. For the living room ladder I used the back piece so I decided to stain it as it was a mix of new and old wood pieces. I pick up the Saman Dark Walnut stain at Home Hardware, I was trying to match the colour of our couch, and got busy staining. My grandmother suggested this stain which she uses for everything and loves because it washes up with just soap and water… which is great as I tend to be a bit clutsy. The stain is really easy to use and you just rub it on with a rag so you don’t need to worry about brush marks. The stain really goes a long way and I completed a number of projects with just this one bottle however the old wood was the hardest project I have had to stain as it really sucks up anything you put on it.
Once my stain had dried I took both pieces and added a coat of Varathane to help protect the stain on the back piece and help smooth the surface and keep the original colour of the wood on the front piece. I used this as it was once again recommended by my grandma and does not yellow. I only did one coat on both of these as they would not have much wear and tear and made sure to let them dry for a week before using them.
I love how they turned out and have both been so useful! One I have set up in my living room just leaning against the wall with three blankets on it. I love that it keeps the blankets off the couch when not in use and acts as decoration! The second I have set up in my bedroom and it keeps all my scarfs and belts organized while at the same time displaying my growing collection.
There are so many uses for ladders and they are a great tools for organization. They are fairly popular at your local antique or thrift stores or there are many Pintrest post that show you how to build a ladder for decoration purposes. I have linked the posts that inspired my project and some of the other uses for them I found on Pintrest which I can’t wait to try! Let me know what uses you have found for ladders as I would love to see them!