Sunday, May 16, 2010

1:12 scale rustic ladder tutorial

I need a couple of small ladders for my storeroom in the Tudor castle, so I decided to make that my project today.


2 10 inch lengths of pine (or balsa or basswood) 3/8" x 1/8" (2 25 cm lengths of 1 cm x .3 cm)
bamboo skewers (or toothpicks)
white glue, craft or xacto knife, drill

I cut my side rails from scrap pine David had around the workshop, but you could easily use dimensional balsa or bass wood.    Shave the edges off these side rails -- the more you shave, the more rustic your ladder will be :)

Tape the side rails together and drill holes for the rungs.  I drilled roughly every inch or so, starting about two inches from the bottom. 

I cut eight lengths of bamboo skewer, each just shy of 2" long (5 cm).  I sharped both ends of each length of skewer to form tenons that would fit in the drilled hole.  This isn't strictly necessary if you drill holes large enough to take the skewer's diameter, but I like the look of the hand carved tenons.

Assemble the ladder.  I dipped one end of each rung into white glue, and put them in place along one side rail.  Then I put glue on the other end of each rung, and put the second side rail in place, pressing very firmly so that the rungs would end up more or less equal in length.

I painted the ladder with a weak mixture of water, white and burnt umber, and here it is in place in the storeroom!


  1. Great turtorial! Thank you for sharing with us Nina! And the painted ladder looks so good in the storeroom!

  2. Funny, I'm also working on a stepladder :-)), your ladder has become very clever

    groetjes Ingrid

  3. Thanks for the tutorial, I'll be needing it :) And I like your storeroom a lot, the dead birdies are cute :) I'm finding these days dead stuff cute - your pheasants, my skeleton, some taxidermy, bird skulls - I probably should sleep more :D

  4. Day out, I could not do anything (in miniature).
    The ladder is a very realistic touch to the small closet: I love and thank you for the tutorial. This environment is one of my favorites :-)

  5. I was wondering how the little cook was going to get up there to fetch her pot of mead! Good job on the ladder.

  6. I love this ladder tutorial and the ladder is just fab too! I must have a go!!! :O)))

    I have so many of your posts to catch up on!

    Michelle xxx

  7. The ladder is fantastic! It is in perfect scale. Itlooks wonderfully rustic for the time period. Meaning, it would have ben hand hewn.

  8. Thanks for the ladder tutorial...It's perfect...

  9. Thanks for the tutorial, Nina. The ladder is great and so are it´s surroundings.
    Love, Susanne

  10. Nice ladder, good tutorial. Now don't forget to remove those glue globbers at the end of the rungs. They did not have PVA glue back then.

  11. Ewa: Thanks! I've been meaning to make it for a while and finally decided today was the day.

    Ingrid: I'd love to see your stepladder -- will you post it to your blog?

    Ira: yeah, you're all about cute dead things right now! What's with that? :)

    Michelle: Thank you! I suppose most homes of most periods could use ladders SOMEWHERE :)

    Catherine: That's such a compliment coming from you. I love the fact that my house's ladder can be as rustic as it pleases :)

    Sandra: Thank you!

    Susanne: You're most welcome -- and thank you for the compliments :)

    gary: Thanks for the comment! I was in such a hurry to photograph this that the "glue globbers" were still wet, and, therefore, visible. They've since dried and so the anachronism is much less noticeable :)

    Cynthia: Mmm, mead :)

    Flora: thank you! I love this little room, too -- I'm glad you like it.

  12. I adore your ladder, it is wonderful. Your tutorial was very helpful, thank you!

    Regards, Linda

  13. Great tutorial. Now which house does not need a ladder eh? The roof needs fixing sometime :).

  14. I've bought a similar style ladder for my tower, but it's got no character - you've given me great ideas in how to make it look a lot better - thanks!!
    And that store room is sweet - I have a weakness for collecting mini ceramics, and seeing these is great.

  15. Love this! Thanks for sharing your recipe for the paint finish too. I just might use that for my floor?


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