Build a "Vintage" Ladder

I've been having a serious love affair with vintage ladders lately but we have been having difficulty finding one that isn't expensive. So what's a girl to do?  Build one!  It cost less than $10 to make this, which makes a lot more sense to me.  Here's what you need....
Two 1 1/4 inch dowels and two 1 x 3's 6 feet in length from your local building center.
With a miter saw, cut each dowel into 3 pieces giving you 6 equal pieces.  They should each be 16 inches long.  You will only need 5 of these.
Measure how far from the end you would like your dowel to be and mark it. Mine was approximately 8 inches. Place your dowel on your mark, making sure it's centered on the wood and trace it with a pencil. This is where you will drill your hole.
Using a drill with a 1 1/4 inch saw drill bit, drill your hole, making sure to not go through the wood on the other side, like I did. No worries if you do, wood filler will fix it up. This is what it will look like.
Repeat this process at the other end of your board. Then measure the distance between the two holes and divide by two to get the center measurement for the center hole. Drill that hole. Then measure the distance between your end hole and center hole and divide by two again to get your two remaining hole placement measurements. You just want to make sure there is an even amount of space between each dowel. Repeat this step with your other board. It helps to line up all your dowels and trace with a pencil to make sure everything lines up BEFORE drilling into the wood. Next, apply wood glue into each hole and then insert the dowel. Repeat with remaining dowels. Then attach the other board to the top. This part is definitely a two person job. Hubby was giving me a hand. :)
Now, obviously this ladder is NOT going to be used as a ladder.  But to make sure it was stable and didn't come apart, we drilled 1 1/2 inch screws through the outside of the board where each dowel was inserted. Sink the screws into the wood and then fill the holes with wood putty.  After your wood putty dries, go over it with fine sandpaper to give it a smooth finish.  Looks like a ladder, right?! To give it a "vintage" look, I first took my palm sander and sanded down the edges and ends to soften them up and create a rounded, worn down look.
Then grab a can of Minwax special walnut stain and slather on a thick layer of it, let it absorb for 15 minutes or so and then wipe off excess with an old rag. You're done for the day as this needs to dry overnight. Go relax with a glass of cold lemonade in a pretty glass and a good movie with someone you love.
After 24 hours, grab some white paint and paint one coat over the stain. Again, this needs to dry for several hours.
After the paint has dried thoroughly, take your palm sander, or a piece of medium to fine grit sandpaper and start sanding off the white paint in areas where there would be normal wear. You want to sand down to the stain so you will be removing a lot of the white paint in some areas.
When it looks good and distressed, take a piece of extra fine sandpaper or steel wool and smooth out the surface. Remove dust with a tack cloth and your done!
A vintage ladder for less than $10 instead of the $30+ I've seen them sell for. It doesn't bother me that it isn't really vintage, it was the "look" I was after.
These ladders are so charming and are perfect for holding fluffy white towels, favorite magazines or anything else that makes you happy. I made this for our master bath which is the next room currently getting a redo. Pics of that coming this week. I've got a couple of other fun projects lined out for that room so stay tuned. I hope this tutorial was helpful if anyone would like to make a faux vintage ladder! Have a happy day!  Linking up with The Lettered Cottage and Stay At Home Nation this week!
The Lettered Cottage

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