One of the easiest storage solutions is to create your own DIY ladder display shelves using an old ladder for the frame. Not only will you save time, but the money saved makes this project a winner in my book!

DIY Ladder Display Shelves

DIY Ladder Display Shelves

If you’ve been around for a while, you know these ladder display shelves start at $99 and go up depending on size. But, today’s tutorial shouldn’t cost you much and the result will be more personalized to your style (depending on how you finish it.)

pottery barn ladder display shelves
I know you’ve seen them, those adorable ladder display shelves, I really wanted one.  But, the price tags were enough to send me running from the store with my purse gripped tightly in my hands. I mean, really? The one above from Pottery Barn costs $229! I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like spending more than $50 on something I can build myself.

Fast forward a few weeks, and when I saw this ladder at the Habitat ReStore for $15, I knew it had the potential to fulfill my ladder display shelf dreams.

old rickety ladder
The skeptical cashier tried to persuade me not to buy the ladder, warning me not to climb on it because it was too rickety. But, who cares about rickety, I was in love with the paint splashes all over it!

old ladder resting against white porch wall

So, I hauled the old ladder home (and received funny looks along the way because it was hanging several feet out the back of my car.) Little did they know that I was about to transform that old ladder.


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions for Building DIY Ladder Display Shelves:

For this project, you can leave the back of the ladder intact, or pry off the top rivets to separate the front from the back. This gave me the ability to make two things from one ladder. (Be sure to read to the end to find out what I made with the backside!)

Start by measuring the width of each step (and subtract 1/8″ to account for the slant of the ladder.)

measure width of ladder steps

Use 1″ x 12″ pine boards or any size you choose. (I had some leftover shelving material I bought from a yard sale, so it was already pre-finished.)

Cut the boards to the appropriate width on a miter saw or ask the lumber store to cut them for you. Yes, it was a total coincidence that my boards were covered in paint splotches too!

stack of 1x12 boards

Dry fit the boards to make sure they fit your ladder. My heart was thumping now because I could really see the project taking shape!

dry fit shelves on ladder

Next cut some 1″ x 2″ strips the same width as each shelf. These are for the backs of your shelves. If necessary stain your shelves or paint them to match your ladder. Or paint the entire ladder and shelves with chalk paint or a paint plus primer.

dry fit 1x2's to front of shelf boards

Attach the 1×2 strips to the back of the shelves, using wood glue.

adding wood glue to front of shelf

Hold until the glue has gripped the trim piece.

attach shelf front

Or nail the 1″x2″ pieces to the shelves.

attach front of shelf using brad nailer

Choose how far back you want your shelves to rest on the ladder steps. Using a combination square or ruler, mark a line on all the shelves. (I chose a 3″ setback.)

using carpenter square to measure depth of shelves

Pre-drill the location for the screws on each ladder step. Turn your ladder upside down and set the screws inside the holes. Line up your pencil lines on the shelf to your ladder step.

2 screws under ladder step into shelf

Clamp the shelf, or get a buddy to hold the shelf as you drive the screws into the bottom of each. Repeat the process for all the shelves.

3 screws under ladder step into shelf

Then flip the ladder back over and admire! My total cost was $15 because I had the other materials on hand. But, even if you have to buy the screws and lumber, it should cost a lot less than a Pottery Barn shelving unit at $299!

My favorite part about this shelf is the paint splashes.

This DIY Ladder Display Shelf sits on our screen porch. But, this beauty would look good anywhere in your home.

close up ladder shelves decorated with coastal decor

I’m contemplating making one for my new master bathroom.

close up rustic ladder shelves

The minnow trap hanging pendant light is also an easy DIY project.

ladder display shelf resting against wall

So what do you think? Do you like it? I bet you could build one of these ladder display shelves for yourself in an hour or two.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you are wondering what I did with the back of the ladder. You can see how I gave it a quick makeover turning it into a display easel.

ladder easel

Have a great week and I’ll see you soon.

Pin this project to save it or share with a friend!

DIY Ladder Display Shelves

Rustic Wooden Caddy with a Branch Handle

Spring is right around the corner and I’m itching to cut some fresh flowers to bring inside. I love displaying them in jars placed inside rustic wooden caddies. Making a little caddy or tote out of salvage wood and branches can be an easy beginner DIY project. But, it’s also satisfying for experienced woodworkers looking to use up some old scraps or upcycle an old wooden box. Here’s how to elevate a simple wooden box into something more quirky and special by adding a branch handle.


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

I happened to be browsing through a yard sale and spotted a sad little box begging for me to buy it and give it a new life:

How could I say no! It was only $3. I couldn’t leave it at the yard sale in its sad burgundy dust-covered state. I brought it home so it could sit in my garage collecting more dust. (This happens more often than I’d like to admit. It’s a sickness I have.)

Using the pry bar and pliers, I pulled off the lid of the box and removed any nails.

Then I had a basic box to work with. You can use this tutorial to create a simple box if you don’t have one.


Cut upper handle supports out of 1×3 or other scraps. Clamp them inside the box.

Pre-drill holes and drive wood screws through the sides of the box and into the vertical supports.

Now it the time to finish the wooden caddy using your choice of paint or stain. (I like to create a rustic look using a relatively dry brush and by letting some of the wood grain show through your brush stokes.)

While the paint is drying, use a hack or coping saw to remove any bumps or burrs from your branch.

Measure the ends of your branch and select the spade bits that are closest in diameter to your branch (you want the holes to be equal to or wider than the branch.)

Drill a hole into each side of the vertical handle supports.

Insert the branch into the side of the caddy. You might have to experiment with which direction to install the branch.

Fill some jars with flowers and set them inside the crate.

Set it out in a prominent spot in your home.

Enjoy your shabby chic crate, caddy, tool box, or whatever you like to call it.

Personally I can’t get enough of this branch handle:

I’m curious, would you have bought that little dusty box too?!

If you liked this tutorial, you’ll love these other easy DIY Projects:

Mini-Picket Fence Caddy

Make a Driftwood Gift Crate | Pretty Handy Girl

Make Your Own Driftwood Crate


DIY Feather Art | Pretty Handy Girl

When I needed an extra piece of art for our living room gallery wall I created DIY Feather Art. You can create your own, but please purchase craft feathers, use fake feathers or paper feathers. (Per the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is illegal to collect feathers, nests and other anatomical parts of certain migratory birds.)


DIY Feather Art | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Rustic 1×4″ boards (I used pallet wood)
  • Wood yardstick or lattice boards
  • Watered down white paint
  • Paint brush
  • Clamp
  • Scissors
  • Kreg Jig
  • Pocket hole screws (1.25″)
  • Nylon line
  • Small drill bit
  • Drill
  • Staple gun
  • 1″ finish nails
  • Hammer or nailgun
  • Wood glue
  • Feathers
  • Pencil
  • D-ring picture hangers


Cut your 1×4″ boards to size (or select one board the size you want for your art background.) To connect the two boards, mark the location to drill pocket holes.

DIY Feather Art | Pretty Handy Girl

Use the Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes into the back of both boards.

DIY Feather Art | Pretty Handy Girl

Clamp the boards together and join them with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

DIY Feather Art | Pretty Handy Girl

Flip the board over and paint it with watered down white paint for a white-washed look.

DIY Feather Art | Pretty Handy Girl

Mark the width of the white-washed board onto the yardstick. Cut two pieces the same length. Read more

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

Hey y’all! I’m back with another easy tutorial. This is another #DIYCourage project sponsored by Duluth Trading Co. Do you love birds? Want to add some birdhouses to your property without attaching them to trees? Today I’m going to share a super simply DIY project that will make the birds happy and make you smile. Learn how to install a birdhouse on a post within an hour.

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

My sons and I love watching the birds come to our kitchen window feeder. We want to make our yard a welcome place for all birds. We wanted to add more birdhouses to the yard by adding a two-story birdhouse. We already have two birdhouses (one that is a little wacky and made with knives), but I’ve always admired the two story birdhouse condos that house eight nests. When I saw one at the Southern Ideal Home Show (with a discounted price tag) I snatched it up.

Install a Birdhouse on a Post Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Install a Birdhouse on a Post Instructions:

Select a location to install your birdhouse. Try to find a spot that will get a decent amount of shade during the day (to keep the birdies from getting too hot.)

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

Twist the post anchor into the ground. When it becomes difficult to turn, insert the pry bar for added leverage.

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

Set your 4×4 post into the anchor.

Read more

Hang Art Without a Frame

Hang Art Without a Frame

One way to change the look of a space is to hang up new art. With so many attractive options for your walls, it’s easy to do. Posters, photos, wallpaper and other memorable art can look great, even without a frame. Having art framed professionally can get expensive. Even store bought frames can break your budget. But I have an easier way to hang art without a frame, and it will cost you less than $10.

These maps of Paris and Rome came from a local art supply store for only $5 each. Since they had been sitting in my closet for a while, I thought they would be perfect for this project and give new life to the living room. Each poster will have two pieces of trim, one along the top and one along the bottom.

Hang Art Without a Frame


Art Supplies

  • Poster
  • 3/4″ wood
  • Drill and 1/16 drill bit
  • Small cup hooks
  • Small loop chain
  • Wire cutters
  • Gorilla tape
  • Paint and paint brush (optional)

Read more