6 Steps For Turning a Ladder Into a Rustic Bookshelf!

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Have you been dreaming of redecorating your house, adding a few bookshelves, achieving that perfect chic look, while keeping it all homey? Do you have a lot of books but your room is not big enough to accommodate them all? Don’t worry. We have found the perfect solution for you, which is both space and budget friendly!

This is a pretty unusual idea and the bookshelf will look perfectly lovely while adding flair to your home. It saves you a lot of space and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on buying a new bookshelf as well. All you need to do is to do get the materials, find the time and turn your old, unused wooden ladder into something truly magnificent.

6 steps for turning a ladder into a rustic bookshelf!

Ladders are mostly used for climbing and reaching into places where you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to, but they can be used for much more. You can turn your old wooden ladder into plenty of interesting and amazing things ranging from shoe racks to bookshelves. All you need is the time and creativity to turn the ladder into an alluring, rustic bookshelf.

Let’s get started!


Let's take a look at the materials we need to make the ladder first, followed by the steps you will have to follow to see the magic happen.

  • Ladder
  • Wooden Planks (size can vary according to your requirements)
  • Wood Glue
  • Sand Paper
  • Shelf Braces
  • Shelf Brackets
  • Wood Screws
  • Wood Finish
  • Jig Saw
  • Lever
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape

Image Source : Pinterest


Get your ladder out of your garage or where ever you are storing it. You need to make sure it is in a usable condition and that it wouldn’t collapse under the weight of the books. After that, you have to follow the given steps to have an amazing, classy, rustic bookshelf!

1. Sanding the ladder

The first thing you need to do when turning your ladder into a rustic bookshelf is to sand it entirely. This will remove the paint present on the ladder and you will have a clean, nice looking wooden ladder. You will need to sand your ladder to give it a smooth surface, free from any kind of rough patches & nicks. It will allow the natural color and look of the ladder to come out.

2. Checking the size of the ladder

You should check whether the size of the ladder is perfect for your room. You can use the ladder the way it is, or you can cut it down to the size you want it to be. Measure the ladder and measure your room where you want the bookshelf to be. Then cut down the ladder with the help of a saw.

3. Attaching the metal braces

Then you have to attach the metal braces. These have to be attached underneath the steps of the ladder. Align the metal braces on both sides to keep your shelves level. Do this with all the ladder steps. Make sure that the metal braces are firmly screwed with the help of a drill. They can also be glued to the ladder.

4. Cutting the shelves

Next thing you should do is measure the shelves and cut them out. Make sure the size is amenable and will be able to support your books, while not looking out of the place. You can use the measuring tape to mark the correct size on the wooden pieces. You should be precise and careful with the measuring. Cut down the wood with the help of a saw. Then use sandpaper to smooth out the edges.

5. Attaching the shelves to the ladder

Use the wood screws to attach the shelves to the metal braces. Screw them firmly in place. You don't have to glue in the shelves so that they can be disassembled if need be.

  • 6. Applying finishing touches

Finally, apply the proper finish to the wood. Wipe off any excess finish.  You can paint the newly created bookshelf any way you want. You can paint it in one color, or you can draw patterns on it if you want. You can also leave the ladder without any paint on and delve in its majestic rustiness. Anything that brings you more joy and happiness!

You are going to reduce your expenditure by reusing your old wooden ladder. It will be the perfect, artistic touch you wanted to add to your room.


This is a great way of getting you a new bookshelf. It is not difficult at all; rather it is a fairly simple project.  You can keep your books on it. You were probably going to leave your ladder out in the trash, but in this way, you have transformed it into something that is both beautiful and economical.

The most amazing thing about this ladder-turned-bookshelf is that it is light in weight. It is built in a way which allows for easy disassembly as well. It won’t take up a lot of your floor space and will give you ample storage for your books. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Happy Reading and Building Folks!

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