Here’s How to Build a Small Step Ladder from 2×4’s for your playhouse, loft, bunk bed, or anywhere.
Hi guys! I’m back with another DIY project from that big Kids Playhouse Build I’ve been working on. Last week, I shared that easy, cute, and colorful DIY Kids Climbing Ramp. Having a few different types of climbing elements on a playhouse is more interesting and fun, right?! Today, I’m showing you how to build a small step ladder from 2×4’s that looks great and is sturdy. 🙂
You can get sneak peeks at this playhouse build by following me on Instagram. Now, here’s How to Build a Small Step Ladder from 2×4’s for your bunk bed, loft, backyard play set, fort, or playhouse. 🙂
What you Need
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to Build a Small Step Ladder from 2×4’s.
- Tools: Power Drill and Miter Saw or Circular Saw
- For Exterior Ladders
- Pressure-Treated 2×4’s
- 3 1/2″ to 4″ Exterior Deck Screws
- Exterior Deck Paint or Stain
- For Interior Ladders
- Untreated 2×4’s, framing studs
- 3 1/2″ to 4″ Self-Tapping Wood Screws
- Chalk Paint, Wood Stain, or Latex Paint would all work
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Video Steps for How to Build a Small Step Ladder
I always think it’s easier to understand a project if I can see someone doing it. Here’s a quick step by step walk through of how I built this small step ladder from 2×4’s that I think will help you build your own. 🙂
DIY Build Steps
If possible, lean the 2×4 against the spot where you need to build a small step ladder. I think that makes it easier to decide what angle will be most comfortable for that spot. Then, you can use a triangle calculator to find the angle for your miter saw.
Use the height you need the ladder for one length. The distance across the floor or ground you picked for your incline. AND, lastly, 90 degrees as the angle between those 2 lengths. Then the triangle calculator will tell you what the angle of your cuts will be. Yay, for online calculators!!!
Use a Miter Saw to carefully cut the bottom angle. Then you can put that board back in the spot you’re building it for to mark the spot to make the top cut with the same angle. If you don’t have a Miter Saw, you can build a small step ladder with a circular saw instead. You’ll have to use a Speed Square to mark your angles.
The next step I use to build a small step ladder is cutting the back of the ladder so that it leans against the spot I’m building it for. To do this, I hold a board flat against the spot, then use that board to draw a straight cut line on the ladder side. You can make that cut with a Miter Saw or Circular Saw.
Once you have the first side of your ladder cut and you’ve checked to make sure it’s perfect, you can use that as your template for your cuts on the other side of the ladder.
Use the same angle you used for the cuts to mark the steps on your ladder. That will make your steps perfectly level with the floor or ground beneath the ladder. For a kids ladder keep the steps 9 to 12″ apart, depending on the age of the kids. To build a small step ladder for grown ups, I’d stick with 11 to 13″ spacing.
You can see an explanation of how I picked the spacing for my ladder steps in the video above. Basically, I measured the length of my sides and picked a spacing that didn’t leave me with an awkwardly short or long top step.
Cut your ladder steps. Around 18″ is a comfortable width for climbing, but you can adjust that for your space. Then screw the steps into place using the marks you made as a guide to keep the steps level. You can also use 2 scrap blocks cut with your angle to stop the steps from moving while you’re screwing them into place.
Paint, stain or seal your ladder, then attach it to the playhouse, fort, loft, or bunk bed you built it for. To attach the ladder, you can carefully screw through the top, front of the ladder sides. Be sure to pick a screw length that goes deep enough into the wood you are attaching the ladder to to make it secure and sturdy. I’d use 2 screws on each side for this
OR, you can do what I did, and attach a 2×4 between the 2 sides, then screw the sides into that 2×4. I thought that would provide the strongest connection for me. But, if done correctly, either way can work. 🙂
More Pics from this Build
Some more finished pictures – How to Build a Small Step Ladder for a playhouse, fort, play set, bunk bed, or loft for a tiny house. 🙂
That’s it for how to build a small step ladder from 2×4’s. You can find more of the DIY Kids Wooden Playhouse videos on my YouTube Channel.
You might also like this easy tutorial for how to make a kids climbing wall.
Or this step by step DIY Kids Play Kitchen tutorial with printable build plans.
That’s it for how to Build a Small Step Ladder from 2×4’s. Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.