How to Make a Knotted Rope Ladder to Store All Your Stuff
Short on storage? This slender solution can hold more than you think. Discover this project and more from A Well-Crafted Home by Janet Crowther.
Knotted Rope Ladder
This stunningly simple wood-and-cotton rope ladder is a wonderful way to store towels, blankets, magazines, and even jewelry. Its tall, slender design adds versatility to tight spaces. Not only is it a smart storage solution, but it also looks like an art object itself when unadorned.
Reprinted from A Well-Crafted Home. Copyright © 2017 by Janet Crowther. Photography by Julia Wade. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
This stunningly simple wood-and-cotton rope ladder is a wonderful way to store towels, blankets, magazines and even jewelry. Its tall, slender design adds versatility to tight spaces. Not only is it a smart storage solution, but it also looks like an art object itself when unadorned. Lean this near your sink for easy towel access, transport it to the living room to hang quilts, or place it next to your bed to keep magazines and books within easy reach.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Finished Size: 16 x 72 x 1 1/4 inches
- (2) 1 1/4 x 72-inch round wood dowels
- 2 scrap pieces of wood, same thickness, to hold your dowels while drilling
- (2) 3/4 x 15-inch round wood dowels
- 12 feet of 1/2-inch thick triple-twisted cotton rope in natural white
- tape measure
- electric drill with 3/4-inch spade drill bit and 5/8-inch drill bit
- sheet of 120-grit sandpaper
- wood glue
- masking tape
1: On each 72-inch wood dowel, draw a straight line from top to bottom. This line will help guide your hole placement. All drilled holes should be made along this line.
2: Measure 3 inches down from each end of the 2 large dowels and make a mark with a pencil (along the long line you made on the dowel). The holes for the smaller wood dowels will be drilled at these marks.
3: Load your drill with the 3/4-inch drill bit. The holes for the smaller dowels need to go only halfway through the large dowel. Keep an eye on how far the spade bit goes into the wood so that it doesn’t pop out on the other side. Drill the 2 holes on each dowel, making sure you keep all the holes along the straight line on the same side.
4: Next, mark where the holes for the rope will need to be drilled on each long dowel. Measure 11 inches down from the center of one 3/4-inch hole and mark the placement on the long dowel. Continue all the way down, spacing the holes 11 inches apart so that you end up with 5 hole placements for the rope on each dowel. Hold both dowels up next to each other to check that the marks for hole placements are the same height on each side.
5: Load your drill with the 5/8-inch drill bit. Since these holes are going to be drilled all the way through the dowel, place a piece of scrap wood under each dowel as you drill, right where the hole will poke through. This will prevent the wood dowel from splintering on the drill exit. Place the other piece of scrap wood under the other side to hold the dowel level so the drill goes straight through and not at an angle.
6: Drill all 10 holes for your rope. Sand down the hole openings to remove any splinters and to soften the edges.
7: Apply some wood glue inside the top and bottom 3/4-inch holes on each large dowel. Twist the 3/4-inch dowels into place, connecting the long dowels together. Leave this some place flat to dry overnight. Sand off any leftover glue once dry.
8: Cut 5 sections of rope, about 27 inches each. Roll masking tape over the rope, right where you cut it, to keep it from fraying. Cut it right at the center of the tape. This will also help you easily slide the ends of the rope into each hole.
9: Push 1 piece of rope through each matching set of holes and tie a knot in the rope on the outer side of each dowel. You can make the rope as taut or loose as you would like. Keep in mind that, since it is cotton, the rope will stretch a bit when something is placed on it.
10: Trim the ends of the rope to your liking and fray the ends by pulling the triple twist apart with your fingers.