How to make a wooden towel ladder

catriona noble
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How to make a wooden towel ladder

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Project Overview

This stylish wooden towel ladder will add a touch of class to your home. It’s easy to make and is the perfect way to display rugs, scarves, throws or hang towels to dry. It’s ideal to move from room to room, wherever you need hanging space.

Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut the dowel to size
2 Set the depth for the drill press
3 Mark the centre of the dowel
4 Measure and mark for the holes
5 Drill the holes
6 Make the second vertical
7 Sand the dowel
8
9 Insert the rungs
10 Clamp the ladder
11 Sand the ladder
12 Stain the ladder
13 Decorate your ladder
  • Step 1. Cut the dowel to size

    Before you start this project, you can have your dowel cut to size at your local Bunnings. We had our 40mm hardwood dowel cut to 2 x 1800mm lengths for the legs and 4 x 500mm lengths for the rungs.

  • Step 2. Set the depth for the drill press

    To avoid drilling through the 40mm dowel, set the cutting depth for the drill press to 20mm.

  • Step 3. Mark the centre of the dowel

    Clamp an 1800mm dowel length into the drill press’s vice. Then use a chalk line to mark the middle along the dowel.

  • Step 4. Measure and mark for the holes

    Next you need to mark where the rungs will go on your ladder. For our ladder we marked in 400mm increments. 

  • Step 5. Drill the holes

    Line up the 35mm boring bit with the marks on the dowel, then drill 20mm deep holes for your four rungs.

  • Step 6. Make the second vertical

    Repeat the steps to mark, measure and drill the holes in the other 1800mm length of dowel for the ladder.

  • Step 7. Sand the dowel

    Once you’ve drilled your holes, use 180 grit sandpaper to clean up around the holes to remove any rough edges. Also sand the ends of the rungs to clean off any rough bits.

  • Step 9. Insert the rungs

    A good tip is to insert all of the rungs into one of the verticals first and then the other. You might need to use a mallet to gently tap the rungs into the dowel so they fit snugly. Wipe away any excess glue with a rag.

  • Step 10. Clamp the ladder

    Use some clamps to secure the ladder together so that it stays square while the glue dries.

  • Step 11. Sand the ladder

    Use the sandpaper to lightly sand the ladder around where you’ve glued.

  • Step 12. Stain the ladder

    You can paint or stain the ladder to highlight the natural look of the wood. We used a good quality brush to apply three coats of varnish, lightly sanding in between each coat after the varnish had dried.
  • Step 13. Decorate your ladder

    Now your stylish wooden ladder is ready to place in your bedroom or bathroom to hang whatever you like out of the way.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Chalk line
  • Clamps
  • Drill press
  • 35mm boring drill bit
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Rubber mallet

Materials

  • 40mm hardwood dowel
  • 180 grit sandpaper
  • PVA or wood glue
  • Wood stain or varnish
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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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