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Room with pink wall, wooden ladder, basket and chair.


This stylish wooden towel ladder will add a touch of class to your home. It's easy to make and is the perfect way to display rugs, scarves, throws or hang towels to dry. It's ideal to move from room to room, wherever you need hanging space.


1Cut the dowel to size

Before you start this project, you can have your dowel cut to size at your local Bunnings. We had our 35mm hardwood dowel cut to 2 x 1800mm lengths for the legs and 4 x 500mm lengths for the rungs.

Timber dowels in various lengths.

2Set the depth for the drill press

To avoid drilling through the 35mm dowel, set the cutting depth for the drill press to 20mm.

Person clamping timber dowel in place, ready for cutting.

3Mark the centre of the dowel

Clamp an 1800mm dowel length into the drill press's vice. Then use a chalk line to mark the middle along the dowel.

Person using chalk line to mark middle of timber dowel.

4Measure and mark for the holes

Next you need to mark where the rungs will go on your ladder. For our ladder we marked in 400mm increments. 

Person using measuring tape and pencil to mark up sides of wooden ladder.

5Drill the holes

Line up the 35mm boring bit with the marks on the dowel, then drill 20mm deep holes for your four rungs.

Person drilling holes in timber using wide drill bit.

6Make the second vertical

Repeat the steps to mark, measure and drill the holes in the other 1800mm length of dowel for the ladder.

Person about to drill holes in timber using wide drill bit.

7Sand the dowel

Once you've drilled your holes, use 180 grit sandpaper to clean up around the holes to remove any rough edges. Also sand the ends of the rungs to clean off any rough bits.

Person sanding timber dowel.

8Apply the pva glue

Apply PVA glue to your vertical dowels.
Person putting glue in hole of timber where ladder rungs will be inserted.

9Insert the rungs

A good tip is to insert all of the rungs into one of the verticals first and then the other. You might need to use a mallet to gently tap the rungs into the dowel so they fit snugly. Wipe away any excess glue with a rag.

Person inserting ladder rungs into outer part of ladder.

10Clamp the ladder

Use some clamps to secure the ladder together so that it stays square while the glue dries.

Person clamping both sides of wooden ladder together to hold it tight while glue dries.

11Sand the ladder

Use the sandpaper to lightly sand the ladder around where you've glued.

Person sanding DIY wooden towel ladder.

12Stain the ladder

You can paint or stain the ladder to highlight the natural look of the wood. We used a good quality brush to apply three coats of varnish, lightly sanding in between each coat after the varnish had dried.
Person dipping brush into tin of varnish.

13Decorate your ladder

Now your stylish wooden ladder is ready to place in your bedroom or bathroom to hang whatever you like out of the way.

Room with pink wall, wooden ladder, basket and chair.
Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.