I saw a tutorial on how to make your own decorative ladder on Tattertotsandjello.com and I had to give it a try. I've always loved the looks of using ladders to decorate, but never wanted to fork out the money for one.
I've decided to use mine to display holiday photos and Christmas cards. I bought the ornaments from a dollar store to keep the decorations fairly cheap, but I did break down and buy the garlands from Joanns. At least they were 60% off!
Here are a few tips if you decide to make one. Learn from some of the difficulties I had when I made mine. :)
1. If you don't have one of these doo-dads (a center punch), get one.
They are great for creating a little indentation for the place you want to drill. It makes the placement of your hole more precise rather than the drill bit dancing around on the wood before starting to penetrate.
2. Pay closer attention to her tutorial then I did. :) I didn't notice that she said to use screws to attach the dowels to the 1 x 4x so I used wood glue first. Messy and it didn't work as well. :)
3. Use white screws if you have them. I only had dark grey ones on hand and the paint didn't cover them up as well.
4. Very carefully drill the holes for the screws to make sure they go in straight. Otherwise the screws will start to push out the side of your dowels.
3. If you use grey screws, put them in a little further than flush with the wood. (So they are depressed in a bit.) Then putty over them and sand the putty once dry. It will help the paint cover them better.
4. I'm fairly new to crafting and haven't "distressed" many things. So I found some tips that helped me. A) Sand the areas that would naturally get worn through time and use. B) Use 60 grit sandpaper first to rough it up then go over the same spots with 120 grit sandpaper to smooth it out.