antique blanket rack ladder
DIY Projects

Turn An Antique Ladder Into A Blanket Rack

I’ve seen lots of tutorials online about building a blanket ladder to display quilts and throws and I love the idea so very much.

But what I don’t love is the fact that it is brand new and made from purchased wood.

I feel like if I’m going to display quilts passed down through generations or my family’s most-loved snuggly blankets, they should be stored on something equally “old” and special.

While at my favorite antique store, I came across this great six foot wooden ladder from the 1970’s.

It was missing the other half, covered in paint splatters, and the wood had never been treated so it was faded from the sun.

It had character.

So much more history than a build-it-yourself kind of ladder.

I brought it home with big plans to turn it into something beautiful.


I knew I wanted the ladder to have a nice brown wood color, but it would take hours of sanding to remove all the paint splatters. I also knew I wanted to distress the wood so it still had that “vintage” look.

I decided to grab a can of leather brown spray paint and spray a thin layer of paint over the entire ladder. I didn’t sand it at all. I wasn’t exactly sure what I would do next but I decided I would figure that out after the paint dried.


The thin layer allowed the wood grain to show through but tint the paint splatters a lighter shade of brown. The result was not what I expected but I fell in love with it.

It looked exactly like an old ladder that had been stained years ago and over the course of time had been very heavily used. The paint splatters turned into distress marks and the brown looked just like a real wood stain.


My lesson of the day was that sometimes you don’t need a clear plan of what you are going to do when it comes to giving old things a new life. You just take it one step at a time and see what you end up with.

This project went from being one I wasn’t sure about to my absolute favorite to date.






  1. Did you have to seal it with a clear spray to prevent the paint from getting on blankets?? I know I’m late to the game here (looks like this post was a few years ago). But, I’m trying it this weekend!

    • Lela Burris

      Yes, it’s a good idea to seal it with a spray poly. But if you don’t seal it, I’d recommend putting a piece of fabric between the rungs and the blankets.

  2. Love this! I just got an old ladder and was trying to figure out what to do with it, now I know, thank you for sharing!

  3. I’ve always loved the look of ladders with linens. I want to upcycle one for towels in the bathroom. Love how yours turned out 🙂

  4. I’ve been wanting to do this to an old ladder I have lying around. It’s nice to see it turned out so well! I love it!

  5. We use an old ladder from my grandma’s farm as a bookshelf! I love making something old and turning it new 🙂

  6. What a great repurpose!
    If you’re interested, I’m starting a new link party over at my blog on Tuesdays- id LOVE to have you share a post!


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