DIY Ladder Shelf

Today, I am SOOOO excited to share with you our very last DIY project for the Outdoor Makeover Challenge!

If you missed anything, you can catch up on all of the details here. In keeping with this Outdoor Makeover Challenge , we’ve been tackling all sorts of fun DIY’s through the month of June, my favorite of which would have to be this DIY Pottery Barn Knockoff Table. This weekend, we finished up the last piece of the puzzle … this DIY Ladder Shelf.
You won't believe how simple this DIY Ladder Shelf was to make and there are SO many ways to put it to work!
It all started with this soon-to-be empty corner of our courtyard deck (we intend to move the BBQ to the backyard, so that we’ll have access to it directly from our kitchen doors).
Deck Makeover - Before @ making it in the mountains
This corner gets a ton of sun, so I knew right from the start, that it would make the PERFECT spot for a plant stand. And so, off to Pinterest I went in search of some inspiration. At first I was picturing a potting bench style table, but then this bright shelf by none other than my favorite handy-gal, Ana White, totally caught my eye. Knowing we eventually want to build a small bar table in another corner, it seemed like a much better idea to go with something completely different for this space. I also really liked the idea of having a bit of a ledge around each shelf to help keep everything contained and safe from any wind. My mind was made up the moment I saw it … I needed this shelf!

Following these plans, Brady got to work building the shelves and the frame in just a couple of hours. We did make a few changes along the way, the first of which started with the lumber – because our little hardware store didn’t have any 1×3 available, we decided to use 1×4 in it’s place around each shelf.
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
Brady followed the instructions screwing the ends together, but decided to use finishing nails along the bottoms of the shelves to avoid having a zillion screws show across the front.
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
And then it was my turn to get to work with some painting. Thinking it might be easier to get into all the nooks and crannies, I wanted to tackle this part before it was all put together. First up was a good coat of primer because, let’s face it, I don’t want to have to repaint this thing every year! I slapped on a generous coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 heavy duty primer and let it dry overnight. The next morning, I did a really quick all-over sand as recommended on the back of the primer can and then I was finally ready to paint! With some help from my friends on Facebook and Instagram, I decided on an absolutely GORGEOUS paint colour (Benjamin Moore Origins’s Sweet Turquoise OR-368) and I just couldn’t wait to see it on my shelf!!! Because this baby is going to live outside, I was sure to pick up an exterior paint to help protect it from the elements. Here’s how everything looked after some primer and the first coat of paint:
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
And the second coat:
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains

It was definitely LOVE at first sight! In fact, I smiled a HUGE, this is the prettiest colour ever, smile with the first brush of paint!!! Even more … I loved it SO much that on my walk back in from the garage to our main level, I found myself looking for more things that I could paint! Perhaps this will be the summer of Sweet Turquoise (I couldn’t possibly regret that, right?)!
Finally, it was time to put it all together! Brady went his own way with this part too – the original instructions called for the shelves to be offset a bit, but he really wanted the shelves to all line up along the back. So, to do this, he simply placed the shelf frame with the back down on his workbench and, after marking the suggested distance between each one, he set the shelves in so that their backs rested on his workbench too, creating a flush back. Lastly, he attached them all to the frame with a couple of screws on each side. Here’s how it all came together:
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
DIY Ladder Shelf @ making it in the mountains
What do you think? I hope you are just as in love with it as I am (and I’m not just talking about the colour)! Clearly this shelf isn’t just made to hold plants outside … where could you see putting one of these to work in your home? Would you paint it a bright colour, a classic white or black, or maybe stain it?

I CANNOT wait for you to see how the whole space comes together in our Outdoor Makeover Challenge!!! Follow along with me on Facebook and Instagram to catch all of my sneak peeks and be sure to check back first thing Thursday morning for the full reveal!

*UPDATE: See how I put this lovely ladder shelf to work in our finished space here!*

Outdoor Makeover Challenge - Final Reveal @ making it in the mountains

Outdoor Makeover Challenge - Final Reveal @ making it in the mountains

Outdoor Makeover Challenge - Final Reveal @ making it in the mountains

Outdoor Makeover Challenge - Final Reveal @ making it in the mountains
Wishing you SUCH a lovely week!!!

PS. If you loved this post, be sure to subscribe by email to make sure that you don’t miss a thing! In addition to exclusive tips and inspiration, you might just find some pretty desktop calendars making their way to your inbox as a thank you!!!

Beautiful FREE Wallpaper Calendars for your Desktop | making it in the mountains

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169 thoughts on “DIY Ladder Shelf

  1. Let’s just say, I’ll be showing this post to my husband tonight. ha! I REALLY like the color you painted yours, super cute!

    1. Most beautiful color ever…. Please share with me what color you used and the number and where I could buy that BEAUTIFUL color. You are so talented and have a excellent eye for color.

  2. Oh I love the color!! Great job! Your blog inspires me to do more DIY stuff! Can’t wait to see what you do with your backyard challenge!!

  3. Kristi, this is so, so beautiful! I love the color and the lip on the shelves (perfect, since I’m a total klutz and would knock everything off of this). I definitely need one of these for my little potted herb garden πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you SO much Amy!!! It would be PERFECT for a potted herb garden and the edging around the shelves will definitely help to keep it all in place!

  4. I love that color. I’d like to make one of these but I’m scared I don’t have the patience. I’ve got nothing but time though. Haha. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Such great teamwork from you and Brady! Great job and love the color! This is going to look even better when it’s loaded up with plants πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks for coming by the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop. Love your post and appreciate you taking the time to share. I will be featuring this fabulous post this weekend on Facebook and Twitter. Pinning today!

  7. Ok, this is twice in one day that I’m seeing your awesome eye-catching photos on linky-parties! Following you because your ideas and craftsmanship is awesome! Love the color you chose for these shelves!

    1. Thanks Christa! It was pretty quick to make and really inexpensive. It only cost us about $30 to make and most of that was the paint and primer.

  8. LOVE this…I bought three of these “store bought” self units at an auction…but naturally they are made out of “fake” wood and not suitable for outdoors…this one is awesome and perfect for the patio. I am thinking cedar wood…maybe red wood. Possibilities are endless! Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    1. He really is! He hadn’t done much more than hang a picture until a few months ago, but he’s actually really enjoying building all of these little projects! I am SUPER grateful!!!

  9. Kristi, I am totally in love with your ladder shelf/plant stand!! The design and the color! I can see why you smiled so big when you first started painting – that is such a happy shade of turquoise, how much fun for your deck! I have been contemplating building a potting bench but maybe I’ll do this instead! Pinning for later, thanks for sharing at Best of the Nest!!

  10. I have a ladder shelf that is a dark wood and I loved it, until I didn’t, so it was relegated to storage, but after seeing how cute one is with a pop of color I think a little painting is in order! Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. So pretty, love the color you chose!

    Thanks for linking up to The DIY’ers! Hope to see you back on Tuesday next week.

  12. Just came across your blog on DIY Sunday Showcase, and I love it! This project is amazing, I think Brady was so right to line up all the shelves at the back, I can’t imagine the suggested way would have looked as good. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you SO much Jayleen! Yes, I am VERY lucky to have a hubby that is not only willing to take on all sorts of crazy projects for me, but is actually enjoying it!!!

    1. Thank you SO much Amy!!! I bought a gallon of it to paint that little shelf because I was so sure that I’d find a few other things around the house that needed a touch of Sweet Turquoise too! πŸ˜‰ All linked up, thanks for the invite!

  13. I love everything about this shelf! The color is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for linking up to The Creative Exchange! I am featuring your project this week. xo, Laura

  14. Your shelf is so awesome!! I love the color blue, so bright and cheery! I would love it if you linked this up to my Motivate Me Monday linky party at IT’S A ginger SNAP.

  15. What a great project! I love the color you chose and I love what you are doing with your outdoor makeover! Thanks for linking up to Thursday S.T.Y.L.E. Your link was the most click this week and we’ll be featuring you on Thursday!

  16. I just love this project! I just wanted to let you know that I am featuring it on this week’s Weekend Wind-Down party! I know it is Independence Day, but I hope sometime over the weekend you’ll take a minute to come see your feature. You can grab a button and link up new posts. Thanks for giving us great content to feature! =)


  17. Thanks for linking up to our Pinterest Weekly Link Up Party. I would say that the final project was a success. It has been pinned.

  18. This is absolutely stunning! Your awesome project is being featured today at Your Designs This Time! Thanks for sharing with us!
    Emily & Erin

  19. I’ve seen these and loved them but did not want to pay the money to buy one ~ thanks for sharing this because now I can make one myself (or at least add it to my list!). Thanks so much for sharing at last week’s Project Inspire{d} ~ this will be one of my features at tonight’s party! Pinned

  20. What a great idea. I love the color, aqua has always been one of my favorite for decorating a space and infusing it with some happy colors. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for your deck and how the entire space will turn out. Don’t forget to add some pretty lanterns!

    1. Thank you SO much Cheryl!!! I’m absolutely in LOVE with the colour and have been searching for more projects just to break it out again πŸ˜‰ I think a turquoise door would be stunning!!!

  21. Hi!,
    LOVE this. Want to copy : )
    Question: Where did you get the paint?
    And what brand was it

    and what color???? Do you remember?

    Thank you!


  22. Holy Cow, had to scroll and scroll before I got to comment section, this is really popular project, can sure see why. Love way your hubs made this with all shelves even in back and using the 1/4’s instead of 1/3’s. We live on top of small hill which receives great deal of quite wild winds so having higher sides on shelves is great idea. Just love how your shelf/planter/ladder looks and that color, my heavens, makes me so happy just to look at it.
    I printed it all out and presented to hubs with polite request to make it for me. Will use kind of teal color paint hubs used on small shed and will use on trim on house soon. I’m hoping can get hubs to make simple shutters also, think they’ll help with upgrading curb appeal, house needs some help.
    So glad I clicked on your project, maybe after hubs makes one for outside could make one for in house, yeah loving that idea. I was thinking of making wider one to put tv on for stand, would be different and more open. I love to have things little different, not something everybody would have. Have great week.
    If you choose to reply please do so to Thanks

  23. This is so cute. Now that you’ve lived with it for a while does it hold water being outside. If so, do you think drilling small holes on shelf bottom would fix it? We get a lot of rain!

    1. Thanks so much Mary! Ours lived in a space that was fairly sheltered, so rain wasn’t a problem, but I think drilling a few holes in the bottom of each shelf is a great idea for yours!

I can't wait to hear your thoughts?