General Tutorials

DIY Quilt Ladder Tutorial

My husband and I built a quilt ladder in 2012 so that I could hang and display my quilts at home. The quilt ladder now lives in a corner of my sewing room and appears in the background of some of my photographs. I’ve had a few requests over the years for information on where to purchase or how to build a quilt ladder like mine. So today it is my pleasure to share this DIY Quilt Ladder Tutorial to create an exact duplicate of my quilt ladder! Also, huge thanks to my husband for taking time out of his evenings to help me create this tutorial.

Before I get started with the tutorial, I want to share some dimensions and information about the quilt ladder. All dimensions in the Quilt Ladder Dimensions PDF are in inches.

Quilt Ladder Dimensions

Quilt Ladder Dimensions

My quilt ladder is 36 inches / 3 feet wide, and with the angle, it is just under 96 inches / 8 feet tall. The base of the quilt ladder will stick out about 20-21 inches from your wall. Feel free to adjust some of the details of the quilt ladder to your specifications (making it more or less wide, using larger diameter dowel rods, etc.), but I do not suggest trying to make a ladder this tall stick out less into the room. The quilts need space to drape and fall behind the ladder, and the whole ladder needs to be stable. If the ladder stands more upright, it could become unstable.

Quilt Ladder

Quilt Ladder

Step 1 – Acquire Materials

Purchase lumber

  • (3) 1x4x8 foot long boards OR (2) 1x4x8 foot long boards and (1) 1x4x6 foot long board*
  • (6) 3/4 inch diameter by 3 foot long dowel rods

*Note that the lumber is called a 1×4, but you will find it measures 0.75-inches by 3.5-inches. In the photo of the materials, the label on the wood we used says 0.75-inches x 3.5-inches.

Other materials

  • 1-inch wide ruler or 1-inch wide straight edge
  • 3/4-inch drill bit
  • Battery operated drill or equivalent or drill press
  • Handsaw or bandsaw
  • Wood glue
  • Hammer
  • Pilot drill bit (for finish nails)
  • Finish nails
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or varnish

Step 2 – Cut

Cut (2) 36-inch long pieces of 1×4. If you purchased (2) 1x4x8 foot long boards, use the 1x4x6 foot long board for this step. Sand rough edges as needed.

Step 3 – Measure Angles

DIY Quilt Ladder - Step 3 - Measure Angles

DIY Quilt Ladder – Step 3 – Measure Angles

Lean the shortest edge of (1) 8-foot long 1×4 against a wall, and measure until the bottom corner closest to the wall is 16 inches away from the wall as shown in the image above.

DIY Quilt Ladder - Step 3 - Measure Angles

DIY Quilt Ladder – Step 3 – Measure Angles

Using a 1-inch wide ruler, place the ruler flush against the wall and mark the top angle along the 1×4.

DIY Quilt Ladder - Step 3 - Measure Angles

DIY Quilt Ladder – Step 3 – Measure Angles

Using a 1-inch wide ruler, place the ruler flush against the floor and mark the bottom angle along the 1×4.

Repeat to mark top and bottom angles on the second 1x4x8 foot long board.

Step 4 – Cut Angles

Cut the marked top and bottom angles. Sand rough edges as needed.

Step 5 – Mark Holes

Mark the locations for the to be drilled for the dowels. Starting at the top edge of a board, mark the 6 center hole locations for the dowels by measuring every 12 inches. The center of the holes will be 1.75 inches from either edge.

Step 6 – Drill Holes

Using a 3/4-inch drill bit, drill the 6 holes for the dowel rods in both 1x4x8s. Sand rough edges as needed.

Step 7 – Glue in Dowels

Apply wood glue to the ends of the dowel rods and insert into the drilled holes, pushing the dowel rods flush with the outer surface of the 1x4s. It is best if you can let the assembly sit over night for stability.

Step 8 – Drill Pilot Holes

DIY Quilt Ladder - Step 8 - Drill Pilot Holes

DIY Quilt Ladder – Step 8 – Drill Pilot Holes

On edge edge of the (2) 36-inch long top and bottom cross members, pre-drill pilot holes for finish nails.

Step 9 – Attach Cross Members

DIY Quilt Ladder - Step 9 - Attach Cross Members

DIY Quilt Ladder – Step 9 – Attach Cross Members

Measure 1.125 (1 1/8) inches up from the lower, outer edge of the 1x4x8s.

Align the bottom edge of the lower cross member with the marked 1.125-inch mark. Glue and use finish nails to attach the lower cross member.

Glue and use finish nails to attach the upper cross member flush with the top of the ladder.

Step 10 – Paint

Quilt Ladder

Quilt Ladder

Paint or stain as desired. We used white spray paint and let it dry over night before bringing it inside and using for the first time.

Step 11 – Enjoy!

Quilt Ladder in Use

Quilt Ladder in Use

I often have multiple quilts hanging from the same dowel rod of my quilt ladder. I hope you get as much pleasure, use, and enjoyment from this quilt ladder assembly as I have if you build one!

Linking up with Tips and Tutorials Tuesday.

32 thoughts on “DIY Quilt Ladder Tutorial

  1. kaholly says:

    What a great tutorial! Thanks! I see a quilt ladder in my future!

  2. Puppilalla says:

    That is a very useful tutorial. Many thanks. It always is such a joy to see quilts hanging of quilt ladders. =)

  3. Kate says:

    What a great way to display quilts. Thanks for the tutorial. Maybe I can convince My Guy he is bored and needs something to do in the garage?

  4. patty says:

    This is awesome. I think my house needs one of these!

  5. This is a great tutorial, Yvonne! I have a quilt ladder made from old barn wood, and I love it. I have multi-generation quilts hanging on it, one from each of my grandmother’s, my mother’s and mine.

  6. Brita says:

    Thank you! I’ve been looking for a way to display some of my quilts, and this is it! Can’t wait to share with my hubby.

  7. This is wonderful — please thank your husband for the info. I plan to ask my husband to do all steps through 9. I can handle 10 and 11. 🙂 Love this.

  8. Paula S. Pike says:

    This is definitely going to be in my new studio. Thanks for sharing with us.

  9. nan says:

    Thank you for the tutorial, Yvonne. I think this will be our weekend project. I like the quilts on your wall, especially the one with the cubes.

  10. Very detailed, and so easy to follow, I hope to have one before Christmas. Thanks to you both.

  11. Brenda Ackerman says:

    Hello Yvonne; Awesome tutorial! Your husband and you have done a magnificent job in writing this tutorial; I will be sharing it with my husband! Thank you so much! Have a great day!

  12. Alys says:

    This looks wonderful and would be so helpful not only for displaying completed quilts but also for a “holding” area for quilts in progress, especially those waiting to be quilted. Thank you. Hopefully I can find someone to make one or two for me.

  13. And after reading this for a second time, to get all the details, I can see an engineer put in the diameter symbol!!! Hugh has circle bits, of many varying sizes, so will make sure the dowel is a suitable size for what drill bits he has. Thanks for your words re my NEW fabrics, I have cut the first mauve to purple ones this morning. so glad I pre-washed them all as the darker ones bled hugely!!

  14. Janet says:

    This is perfect and so timely- I just got the side of an old crib that I was going to modify to display quilts- this will help! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Excellent, Yvonne! This looks totally doable. Thank you! I’m blessed to have a handy husband too!

  16. Kate Heads says:

    Wonderful tutorial, only my husband can’t knock a nail in straight, DIY is definitely NOT his forte and my son in law would rather he did any jobs than put right hubby’s attempts. Maybe he could make me one?

  17. Cocoa Quilts says:

    I’ve been checking out pinterest the last month or so looking for ladder instructions. I need to try this out. Thanks for the great instructions!

  18. aquilterstable says:

    It’s great you can share this and nice that it holds so many quilts. Thanks!

  19. Kathie L says:

    Thank you so much. Ladders are a terrific display form. So much better than racks. Thank your husband.

  20. Susan says:

    Love this Yvonne! Hubby and I are quite handy, and I’ve considered making one over the last few years. Just need a good spot to put it! I like how this one is 36″ wide – means more quilts to hang (but maybe that could get too heavy?) Thank you so much for the great tutorial – link it up at Midweek Makers as I’m sure others would like to know how to make one!

  21. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. Seems easy enough…..

  22. Izzy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! My hubby is pretty handy so I definitely see one of these in my future!

  23. Great tutorial and ladder, it is useful and such a great way to display your quilts.

  24. Kathlee McCormick says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I am really interested in owning one, I may have a friend make it for me, as I don’t think my husband would…..but I may ask anyway and see what he thinks.

  25. Thanks, Yvonne! If I need another quilt ladder I will probably use your tutorial.

  26. Kaja says:

    Funnily enough I had been wondering about trying to track down something like this – now I can make one!

  27. oh thank you !! I keep this tutorial !!

  28. How great is this!!! Lovin’ it!

  29. Thank you for sharing this, Yvonne. My dad is visiting for Thanksgiving and I’m going to print this out and send him straight to the lumber yard as my early Christmas gift! ; )

  30. Great tutorial, Yvonne (and Michael!). Definitely not speaking my language, but maybe I can find someone as comfortable with wood as I am with fabric, lol.

  31. Nikki says:

    This is such a great tutorial!! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  32. Sue Rostron says:

    I just wish I finished enough quiilts to hang on one! Love the ladder.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)