The Chicken Chick®: Upcycled Ladder Turned Planter

May 28, 2012

Upcycled Ladder Turned Planter

My husband rolls his eyes whenever I say I'm taking a trip to the town landfill. "Don't come back with anything," are the traditional parting words. He knows a drop-off  is never my primary purpose; I visit the landfill mainly to check "Treasure Central," also known as the reclamation center. Used items with plenty of life left in them await their new owners in Treasure Central and there's no telling when one might hit the mother load. Go early and often, that's my motto.

I lucked into a tired-looking ladder with its tag sale sticker still on it- a paltry five dollars was the asking price for this diamond in the rough. I had a plan for it before the trunk of my Volkswagen Jetta was open.

 The ladder was in brilliant condition and could have been used for its intended purpose. But what fun would that be? I picked up a $2.97 sample can of Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint, tinted to the country cottage blue I had in my mind's eye since Treasure Central.
 I made a pair of decorative shudders years ago with this same technique that still adorn a bathroom window in my house.  The technique for refinishing these pieces is simple: sand, paint, wipe, sand. Done.

 I used a fine grit sandpaper to remove any chipping paint.
Brushed a scant amount of paint onto the wood, immediately wiping off with a cotton rag.
 The drier the brush, the better.
 Lightly sanded raised edges and corners for a shabby, weathered look.

 I toyed with the idea of putting a layer of polyurethane
as a top-coat, but decided against it as I'd like the piece to continue to weather naturally.
 I planted some Clematis at the base of the ladder. Will my chickens eat it?
Probably, but it can't hurt to be optimistic, can it?
I chose flowers and plants that would climb up and flow down the ladder
and focused on ones that would do well in part shade/part sun.
 I screwed plastic flower pots and a window box liner onto the ladder from underneath.
I planted the pots first and then attached them to the ladder because I needed to see how they would would look prior to committing to their final location. 
Empty pots could certainly be screwed into the ladder from the inside and then potted.
 Now we wait to see whether the chickens will allow this container
garden to flourish or not.


  1. This is a great project! I have Harry's grandfather's old ladder that looks alot like this one did. The splatters of paint on it are the colors of the different rooms in the old house.I never knew him, but I can envision him pulling out the ladder to do different projects around the house.

  2. I love this idea! I have a clematis that would be so pretty climbing up an old ladder! My hubby won't let me have his work one so I guess I'll have to be on the look out for my own ;)

  3. We used to have a Swap Shop at our local dump. We hit the mother load when building my new coop. My girls have Corian Counter tops in my part of the coop, along with a nice mirror to go over the sink. We got a whole roll of light beige linoleum for the floor. It was so heavy we had to had some men help load it. A beautiful light beige kitchen cabinet, just as nice as the cherry cabinets I have in my kitchen now. Also, a door to use for the girls to go outside to the run. Nice full light door. That was all in one day. I was one proud mamma of my finds!!

    1. WOW!! That's awesome! I'd love to see your coop, Sandy! Feel free to share photos on my Facebook page!

  4. what a great idea, visiting a landfill, er I mean, treasure island! I love the ladder! I'd be on my way to the landfill right now if it wasn't bedtime!
    Thanks for sharing with Repurposed Ideas Weekly.

  5. WOW!! It's wonderful!!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer… From Dream To Reality! I’m looking forward to seeing what you link up tomorrow evening!

  6. anyonita green5/21/13, 8:48 AM

    Aw! How lovely :) Stopping by in my capacity as SHOW OFF cohost :)

  7. Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse5/28/13, 1:18 AM

    It looks absolutely great with that "cottage blue" you had in your mind!

  8. TheChickenChick5/30/13, 12:43 AM

    Thank you. :)

  9. Love, love this idea! It looks beautiful! I have a new weekly link party which is live now and I would love if you stop by and link up this wonderful post! Hope to see you there! Hugs, Maria

  10. TheChickenChick6/5/13, 10:19 PM

    Thanks for the invitation, Maria! I linked up to your hop. I would love to have you join my weekly hop too!

  11. Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse7/19/13, 2:45 PM

    Love it! You are one of the features today at the Anything Blue Friday party at The Dedicated House. Pop on in and grab a feature button for your blog. Here is the link to this week's party. Hope to see you again at the blue soiree. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDediccatedHouse

  12. Hey I love this ladder!

    Come on over and link up to my Paint Party going on now!!


  13. Love this, Kathy! Thanks for linking it up at the Get Your DIY On link up party! I'm choosing this as one of my features on Sunday! Bring your spray painted project if you have one! :)

  14. I love your ladder reuse! I have been looking for an old ladder - what a steal of a deal!! Thank you so much for linking this up at the Get Your DIY On Fall Challenge: Spray Paint! We hope to see you come on back over this evening (7pm EST) and bring along a chalkboard project!!
    ~Krista from the happy housie

  15. TheChickenChick9/30/13, 10:46 PM

    Thanks April! I linked up a spray paint project, but don't see where my ladder project was featured. ?Confused. (but used to it! lol)

  16. Thanks for the post! How is the ladder and plants holding up? Do the nails get rusty through the pots? Got a lot of great tips from your site--thanks again :)