DIY Ladder Shelf Plans

by Emma Jeffery

This copper ladder shelf brings new life to reclaimed wood and is the perfect way to make best use of space and maximize storage.

DIY Ladder Shelf Plans

Mixing metals with natural elements, like wood, is one of my favorite things to do in my DIY projects. I was recently shopping in my local hardware store and saw tons of copper pipes that I wanted to work into a project. Because I am also always looking for extra storage, I thought instantly about joining them together to make some sort of shelving unit. And since I already had some existing reclaimed wood at home just waiting to be used, my project inspiration came together in a snap!

I've seen lots of repurposed ladder shelving projects, but I wanted mine to be a bit more upscale – not necessarily an upcycle, but a new take on an existing project. By creating a ladder structure and using existing materials, I ended up with a gorgeous statement piece in the center of my living room. Try this out for yourself today!

Steps to Making a DIY Ladder Shelf

1. Cut copper pipes to size. Start by using the Fiskars® Precision Hand Saw to cut the copper pipes to size in order to create two identical sides to the ladder frame. We cut:

  • 12" rungs x 8
  • 18" bottom legs x 4
  • 12" sides x 12
  • 18" top lengths x 4
  • 5 3/4" top lengths x 2
  • 12" top cross piece x 1

You can also ask for assistance at a local hardware store as they may help with the cutting down of so many different pipe sizes, or buy an inexpensive pipe cutter to help speed the process up just a bit.

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2. Construct one side of the ladder frame. First, set aside half of the copper pipes. Working with one set of pipes, take the two bottom legs, which will be the longest lengths, and place a tube cap on each end. Hammer the tube caps in place using the Fiskars® Precision Hammer. These end caps will form the feet. Next, put tees on the other end of both legs, and a 12" rung across the tee. This creates the first rung of the ladder. Assemble the ladder frame using the remaining side and rung pieces. Gently hammer the tees and pipes in place.

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Fiskars DIY Ladder Shelf Plans 03B

3. Finish the top of the ladder frame. When the ladder frame has reached the desired height, use the 90 degree elbows to create the top of the frame. Place a tee between the two top lengths and again, gently hammer in place.

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4. Construct the second side of the ladder frame. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to create the second side of the ladder frame. Join the two sides of the ladder frame using the 12" top cross pieces.

5. Prepare the shelves. Determine the desired length of each shelf, then measure with the Fiskars® Tape Measure and cut the wooden planks to size using the Fiskars® Precision Hand Saw. Each plank should fit across the ladder and rest on the rungs on both sides of the frame. Check the level of the shelves by placing the Fiskars® Precision Level on each one. Adjust the pipe levels as necessary.

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6. Attach the shelves to the ladder. Put the shelves in position on the constructed frame. Hold a tube strap around the pipe and screw to the bottom of the shelf using the Fiskars® Precision Screwdriver. If you are finding this difficult to start, create a pilot hole in the wood with the Fiskars® Precision Hand Drill. Screw four tube straps to the bottom of each shelf to secure the wood to the pipes.

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7. Anchor the ladder to the wall. To secure the ladder unit, anchor the back legs to the wall on which you are setting the ladder. Now you can fill with books, baubles and botanicals!

How much do the materials for this project cost?

While $100 may seem like a more expensive DIY, consider how much you would have to pay if you purchased an item like this. It really is a steal! You could certainly save money by using different kinds of wood – mix and match different colors or wood grains to go with the colors and textures in your space.

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