How to Make a Blanket Ladder
Ladders are for climbing and blankets are for keeping warm. Combine the two and not only will you stay warm while reaching the cookie jar mom hides on the top shelf, but you’ll be trendy as heck too! So, let’s get you in the garage making one in under 4 hours so you can display it at tonight’s book club (it’s your turn to host, remember?).
Tools: Miter Saw or hand saw (mad respect points), palm router (optional for rounded edges), Japanese Pull Saw (because they are badass), and a drill.
Materials: One 9’ x 6” board of hardwood roughly 1” thick. Bigger is fine, you can also use cheaper 1×2’s or 2×4’s from home depot. Screws (1-1.5”). 1/2 “ Dowel (optional).
Now that you’ve gathered your tools and materials, let’s get to work. You’ll need to decide what size of a ladder you want. I usually stick to a height of 5ft with 14” rungs (steps). This was a 9’x6” piece of exotic Limba wood from a local shop in Calgary, which can cost up to $16/board foot. It’s on the pricier side, but the natural features really pop when the oil hits it. You can also get some cheaper wood for your local hardware shop and stain it (I mean you are about to cover it with a bunch of blankets, don’t get me started). Okay, so we’re going to cut this piece into two 5’x3” pieces and six 14”x2” rungs (I only ended up using 4), but it really depends on how many blankets you want to store (there’s a blanket for every occasion I’m sure).
After getting all my pieces cut to size, I wanted to add some small details that will make the ladder look “professional”. First, I leaned my long pieces against a wall to determine what angle I wanted the ladder to rest at (very technical stuff). I roughly sketched a straight line at the base of the ladder to make my angled cut. In this case it was roughly 15 degrees. After cutting the angle, I leaned the piece against the wall once more to confirm that it will sit flush with the ground.
Next, I notched the top portion of the frame so that it will sit flush against the wall as well. I then used my palm router with a 1/8” roundover bit to round the edges of the frame and rungs. It’s time to do some tedious sanding. In all honestly you could probably just sand quickly at 100 grit and you’d be satisfied. But as I mentioned earlier, I wanted this to have that professional touch, so I sanded up to 240 grit. Now all I need to do is mark where I want my rungs and screw them in.
With my rungs marked 12” apart, I use a ¼” drill bit to pre-drill holes for my screws to avoid any potential splitting. This is all you really need to do, but again I went a step further to give it that quality workmanship touch. I proceeded to drill a larger hole around the ¼” pre-drilled hole with a ½” bit to a depth of about 3/8” into the side of the frame. I then screwed the rung in place. I made this large hole so that I could cap it with a dowel to give it a cleaner look when finished. I used a small amount of wood glue and a mallet to firm the dowel in place and then cut off any excess with the Japanese Pull Saw.
With the ladder all screwed in and ready to be covered in blankets (I still don’t get it!), it’s time to put some nice finish on it that no one will ever see. I used Osmo Polyx-Oil to finish and man did this wood look good with some oil. If it were my ladder, I’d never cover it with a blanket… but I digress. Look at that, you did it! Your very own blanket ladder to show off.