DIY Rustic Blanket Ladder for Less Than $20


Ever found an amazing, beautiful, perfect DIY pin on Pinterest, only to get to the “Materials Needed” list and see “Pen, Nails, Hammer, Ruler, Table Saw, Concrete Driller, Skid Loader, Machete, Ninja Stars and Welding Torch” included? Cue the eye roll, X-out click and 5 more hours of scrolling.

I'm not saying there’s anything wrong with tutorials that require power tools, but as a 23 year old who lives too far away from her Dad’s garage, it really puts a lot of these projects out of reach.

When I created this blog, I wanted it to serve two purposes:

  1. Proving that budget friendly style is beautiful and

  2. Making it accessible

SO, with that in mind, I want a lot of the projects I share with you to be straight forward, affordable and attainable for the Average Josie. (And Joe, fellas. I haven’t forgotten about you).

With these things in mind, I’m proud to present the DIY Blanket Ladder You Can Make For Less Than $20. And nope - no power tools required.

With the temperature dropping faster than a suburban white girl in a twerk competition, I wanted something to organize and display all my cozy, fuzzy blankets. Immediately, I thought of all those cute blanket ladders I had been seeing all over social media.

I went online to see what the damage for one of these pieces of plywood would be and I about coughed up my Cocoa Roos.

This ladder on the left was ON SALE for $455.99. Unless someone found the cross of Jesus himself, shipped it in from Jerusalem and whittled it into a piece of home decor, THAT MAKES ZERO SENSE TO ME. The ladder on the right rang it at a much more realistic $70.99, but was still a little too steep for my budget.

And so, a romantic date night to Menard’s ensued.

My handsome man who for some reason always wears his shoes halfway on. Guys are weird.

My handsome man who for some reason always wears his shoes halfway on. Guys are weird.

While we were taking a picturesque stroll down the HVAC aisle, I wondered if Ryan had ever thought he would be spending his Friday nights carrying his girlfriend’s lumber around Menard’s. Once in the parking lot, with bags in hand and smelling like sawdust and plastic wrap, I asked him.

Honestly, no. But I’m kind of into it.
— Ryan Hermsen

Me too, babe. Me too.

Speaking of being honest, I have to admit that this project required a second trip back to Menard’s because I messed up SO bad the first time. Like I got so frusturated I started hysterically laughing at myself until I cried and Ryan told me I needed a straight jacket.

My first attempt used dowels, hammered in from the sides of the board. Should have known hammering a nail into the grain of a thin piece of wood wasn’t my best idea, but you win some you lose some am I right? I even tried wood glue and various other methods, so please trust me when I saw this final product was the result of a lot of blood sweat and tears. (But THIS final version is super easy, I promise)



  • (1) 1”x3”x4’ Pine board (You could easily use a longer 6’ or 8’ board, but a 4’ board fit in my small car :) )

  • (1) 1”x2”x4’ Pine board cut into 1’ pieces (Menards cut mine for me - for free!) Again, if you wanted a wider ladder, you could get wider boards. The same steps below would apply.

  • Can of wood stain in the color of your choice (Or paint!)

  • Tape measure

  • Pencil

  • Brush, old rag or t-shirt to apply stain

  • Nails

  • Hammer

  • Machete (Just Kidding)


  1. Using your hammer, rough up all of your boards, this will give the ladder a rustic look. I focused on hammering the edges, scratching them with the hammer, using the opposite side of the hammer to create deeper divets, etc. Seriously, just go crazy. You can’t really mess this part up.

  2. Lay your two long side boards narrow side up. Push the tops of them against a straight surface like a wall, step, etc to make sure they are even.


3. Using your tape measure, measure from the top of the board down 4 inches. Make a horizontal dash with your pencil to mark the spot.


4. From this dash, measure 10 more inches, and mark that point with a second dash. Repeat until you have 4 total dashes. 

5. Repeat on second long board. 

6. Take one of your 1 foot long pieces, and lay it horizontally across the two long boards, aligning the top of it with the dashes and the sides of it with the sides of the long boards.

7. Nail the 1 foot long board to each of the side boards.


8. Repeat with 3 remaining 1 foot boards. 

9. Stain a thin layer over the whole ladder. Wait at least one hour, to apply a second coat, if desired.

10. Once your ladder is dry, decorate with blankets, towels in the bathroom or any other decor items you see fit :) Here are some ideas for inspiration:


Bonus Tip: When hammering, make sure you hit the nail and not your own hand. Otherwise you might break a blood vessel or something. I don’t know, just sounds like that might be kind of painful. Not speaking from personal experience or anything.

Did you try this project out? I wanna see!

Post a photo to your Instagram story and tag me :)

Erin Gallagher