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.

DIY Knotted Rope Ladder

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.

Photo by: 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.

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.

Related To:

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

Supplies

  • (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

Tools

  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • electric drill with 3/4-inch spade drill bit and 5/8-inch drill bit
  • sheet of 120-grit sandpaper
  • wood glue
  • scissors
  • masking tape

Instructions

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.

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.

Next Up

DIY Fabric-Wrapped Storage Bins

Kick boring to the curb with these fabric-wrapped storage bins that will satisfy both the pretty and the practical in your life.

Turn an Old Tomato Cage Into a Storage Basket

Make a colorful, fabric storage basket out of a tomato cage and cotton twine with this simple and super-affordable tutorial.

How to Build a DIY Kitchen Island on Wheels

Need some extra workspace in your kitchen? Build a rolling island for added functionality and style. One side stores a stand mixer, sheet pans, cutting boards and more, while the other side allows for extra seating. Perfect for small spaces, this portable kitchen island easily rolls out when you need it and neatly tucks away when you don’t.

How to Make Giant Gift Bows

A larger-than-life gift deserves a larger-than-life bow. Learn how to make giant gift bows for big gifts or for holiday decorating — all you need is scissors and duct tape.

How to Build Oversized Garage Storage Cabinets

Say goodbye to clutter for good with the addition of extra-large garage cabinets. Inexpensive and easy to assemble, this DIY storage solution is a perfect weekend project.

Easily Transform a Cabinet Into Shoe Storage

Turn an unused cabinet into modern shoe storage with the addition of hairpin furniture legs and sliding storage shelves.

How to Make DIY Reusable Produce Bags

Make a sustainable change by crafting your own reusable produce bags to bring to the grocery store or farmer’s market. This is an easy sewing project, perfect for DIY beginners who are just learning how to use a sewing machine.

How to Make a Wooden Blanket Ladder

This easy blanket ladder project is the perfect handmade accessory for storing and displaying quilts and throws.

How to Make a Rolling Power Tool Storage System

Easily store long power tools such as weed eaters, pole saws and leaf blowers off the ground and out of the way with this rolling storage system.

How to Build a Vertical Book Tower

Short on space to display your books? You’ll certainly be able to fit this DIY bookshelf into your life.

What's New in Handmade

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.