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DIY: Copper and wood decorative ladder tutorial

March 6, 2016

Handmade copper and wood decorative ladder to hold blankets, votives and a copper wire lamp.

So firstly an apology, I am sorry I have been absent for so long. The truth is I have been job hunting and that has taken up a lot of my free time. But now, happily, I am soon due to start an awesome new job so my out of work hours can once again be filled with fun things like DIY, crafts and blogging.

But I am back with a bang! A copper and wood ladder shaped bang!
If, like me, you scour Pinterest and Apartment Therapy for home and DIY inspiration then you have probably come across the concept of a decorative ladder. You can use them to hold towels, blankets, magazines, dangle air plants anything your heart desires really. Well after sitting Tom down to explain why on earth we needed a ladder that can’t be used as, well a ladder, I decided to save some pennies and DIY one myself.
You will need:
  • Copper tube 12mm (cut into 5 lengths of 50cm)
  • Wooden dowel 12mm (cut into 8 lengths of 40cm and 4 lengths of 30cm)
  • Copper pipe cutter
  • Superglue
  • Saw
  • Tape measure
  • Copper end caps x 4
  • T shaped copper pipe fitting x 10

Supplies needed for DIY decorative copper and wooden ladder

Please note: I chose to make my ladder 220cm (7ft2) tall and 50cm (1ft6) wide with 5 rungs so above are the measurements for a ladder that size, feel free to tweak to suit your space. A ladder with 1 foot between rungs would also work well – I just made mine bigger as my living room ceilings are quite tall.
Step 1) Measure and cut all of your dowel and copper pipe to size. Cut the pipe as per the instructions on your pipe cutter. For mine I screwed the pipe cutter around the pipe which made a deep score, I was then able to gently bend the copper (it’s so pliable) until it snapped. For the dowel I actually used the pip cutter to score a line around it for my saw to slot into.

Wooden dowel cut to length to DIY a copper and wood decorative ladderStep 2) Like a jigsaw puzzle or piece of Ikea furniture start assembling! I first attached the T pipe fittings to the end of all of my pipes.

Copper pipes with Tee fittings

Copper tube ladder rungs DIY decorative ladderStep 3) Start adding the dowel, run a small line of superglue around the inside of the copper T fitting or the outside edge or the dowel and slot in, push it as far as it will go – don’t worry about this making it wonky – there’s a slight indent inside the T fitting that stops the dowel going in too far. I added the dowels on both sides of the copper pipe but only in one direction, giving me a set of U shaped pieces. Make one set using 2 of the shorter dowels.

Supergluing copper pipe to wooden dowel to DIY a decorative ladder
Assembled copper tube and dowel DIY decorative ladder

Step 4) Attach all these U shaped pieces together and then glue the remaining 2 shorter dowels into the last copper pipe rung.

Step 5) Finally stick your copper end caps onto the dowels to the end and admire your handiwork.

The finished DIY decorative copper and wood ladderNow for the really fun part – accessorise!

I chose to put mine in my living room to hold blankets for snuggling up on the sofa. I also hung some glass votives that I had and an awesome copper lamp that we’ve been meaning to do something with for ages.
Finished DIY copper and wood ladder at night
Final verdict: It’s not the sturdiest ladder so I’m glad I’m only using it to hold blankets, having said that the thick woollen one is pretty heavy and the ladder’s still holding up well after 2 weeks. If you make it you might find making it shorter and narrower will help with the sturdiness, or use thicker dowel and copper pipe if you want it to really be able to take some weight.
It has bowed slightly from leaning against the wall, but I don’t really mind that. To counteract this I just turn it every now and again. Again you can experiment with making it thicker, shorter, narrower etc to improve the sturdiness but as mine was made from cheap pine dowel I was always expecting a bit of bowing. You could even hang this with brackets from the wall to avoid the bowing completely.

DIY tutorial for decorative copper and wood ladderI’m so pleased with it I think it’s a fabulous addition to the space and a great way to add height to the room. It balances out the gallery wall on the right of the TV quite nicely as well.

I can totally see a smaller version of this working well in a bathroom to hold towels and magazines or in a bedroom to holds jewellery and outfits. It would be so easy to paint too, how cute would it look with the wooden parts painted mint blue?
Anyway, I hope you like this super easy DIY, if you try it yourself be sure to show me!
Decorative copper and wood ladder with copper wire hanging lamp

Love, Sarah x

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