Sometimes an idea is so ingenious you simply have to pause and absorb its brilliance. In the August 2005 edition of Martha Stewart Living magazine this ladder was the "Find of the Month" (I really miss that column!) shown in its new role as an organizer. Simply place wide, sturdy planks of wood between the rungs for an instant shelving unit in a garage, potting shed or basement. Two-sided ladders are best for large shelves. Find a ladder that is attractive and in good condition. You can use one of your own or find a used one at a flea market. Older ladders often have lots of charm; wooden ones can be painted or stained.
HOW TO MAKE IT:
For this project, you'll need a ladder with two sides of steps. To make the shelves, 1 x12 boards will work on most ladders (use two, side by side, for extra width if necessary). Have them cut 16 inches longer than the space between each pair of rungs for an 8-inch overhang on either side of the ladder. If desired, you can prime and paint the boards and the ladder. (In the photo above, the planks were left bare.) Secure the planks to the steps with 1.5-inch screws: pre-drill holes, and then drill the screws in.
HOW TO MAKE IT:
This small, vintage ladder was repurposed into a display shelf for a collection of houseplants. The back steps were removed with a handsaw to allow it to lean against the wall, attached with small "L" brackets to keep it from moving. Measure the width of the ladder two inches above each rung. Cut lattice strips to these measurements. Nail one two inches above the back of each step. These lattice pieces will prevent the plants from falling off the steps. Sand, prime and paint, if desired.