Here I show you how to make an easy DIY tea towel ladder that sits on a kitchen countertop. This is a great affordable solution if you are renting and/or don’t want to screw a holder on the wall or kitchen end panel. You can move it anywhere, leaving no trace behind.
THIS DIY PROJECT CONTAINS A PAID AD FOR WICKES WHICH I HAVE BEEN A REGULAR SHOPPER FOR YEARS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT.
For those that don’t know, I am fortunate enough to earn a full time living as a food blogger.
I like to get creative developing fun and healthy recipes for us to eat and then share them on my food blog, Tastefully Vikkie.
But when I’m not cooking, you can find me either renovating or tweaking this, that or the other to make our house feel more homely.
And because I’m always juggling with both, it was the main inspiration to design and install my own (unsponsored) Wickes utility kitchen last year.
Also, Wickes’ How-To videos and leaflets have been a great inspiration during my DIY journey.
Other projects I’ve purchased materials for from Wickes were:
- Building my own decking
- Hanging doors
- Using their coving cutting tool
- Dowel Jewelley rings
- Conservatory roof blinds
- And much more!
And now I have two handy kitchen spaces which is my main kitchen and a brighter universal utility space for washing and filming cooking. But it still lacked a few things, such as a home for tea towels.
And because I’m constantly moving things out of shot in the background, I thought this countertop tea towel ladder was the perfect solution.
THINGS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE A TEA TOWEL LADDER
- 1 x Wickes Planed Whitewood PSE Timber wood (18 x 28 x 2400mm)
- Wood glue
- Hand saw or chop saw
- Wickes 6mm light hardwood dowel (2.4m long)
- Tape measure
- 4 Clamps
- Size 6 flatwood drill bit or 6mm wood drill
- Combi drill
- Flush trim saw
- 120 grit sand paper
- Sanding block
- Bevel gauge
- Wooden mallet
- Speed square
- Food grade oil, such as Worktop Oil
TEA TOWEL LADDER CUTTING LIST
Below you can find a simple cutting list. Please treat this as a guide, depending on whether you have enough wall space available for your tea towel ladder. Mine takes in to consideration wall units in my main kitchen.
The idea is that I can take it in to any kitchen and it should fit if I do later move house.
You may also want to fold one of your tea towels in half (lengthways) and measure it to determine the width of your horizontal cuts.
HOW TO MAKE A KITCHEN COUNTERTOP TEA TOWEL LADDER
First, cut your wood strips to length as above. For this, I used a clamped my pieces to a saw horse and used a hand saw. If you have a chop saw, then even better as this will give you straighter cuts. However, I carefully hand sanded mine to finish.
If you haven’t seen the cutting list above, I made:
- 2 lengths of planed wood = 60cm long for sides
- 3 lengths of planed wood = 25cm for ladder “steps”
- 12 dowel pieces = 5cm long
To ensure the base of your tea towel ladder sits flush on your kitchen worktop, I held my two longest pieces against the wall on a slope to my taste.
I then used a bevel gauge to measure the angle I liked, then reversed it (see below), held it along the bottom as close as possible and drew along the bottom with a pencil.
Next, I masking taped my two longest pieces together to save time cutting time.
Then clamped it to my worktop and sawed off the angle with a hand saw before sanding again with sandpaper for them to match.
Then to scribe the top back to prevent marking the wall, I held a 1cm depth off cut and drew along it. You could use anything thick and straight.
Now saw this off too and sand so they both match.
Both top and bottom pieces should now sit flat against the wall and workop, making it more stable.
MARKING OUT YOUR TEA TOWEL LADDER STEPS
Next, I folded up a tea towel and held it again my side pieces to determine where my middle ladder step should go.
Now mark with a pencil where it lies.
I then marked 20cm above and below the middle step to locate the top of where my next steps should start.
DOWEL PIN JOINS
Now draw straight lines where you pencil marks are using a speed square for each step.
Then hold one of your cut pieces, slimmest side facing down and draw along with a pencil too. This tells you where you can drill your holes through.
While the long sides are still taped together, drill two holes next to each other with a 6mm flat wood drill bit or drill within your pencil lines. But leave a few millimetre gaps between each other.
Also, don’t drill too close to the edges otherwise you could damage the wood.
Make sure you put a rag down, or in my case, an off cut of wood to catch glue drips.
Then line up your first step on top of it with the side panel’s top pencil marks and clamp together.
To ensure the step is square, hold a speed square at the top, either side while clamping.
Then tape up your flat wood drill bit with contrasting tape as to how far you want to drill. Make sure you don’t go deeper than their 5cm length.
Now drill through your two holes straight through to your step part, then dismantle to fill with wood glue, including the join.
Next, put back together and push in the 6mm dowel pins. Tap with a wooden mallet if needed and wipe off any excess glue. Then repeat for the other steps and leave to dry for as long as your glue recommends.
Once dried, release the clamps and saw off the protruding dowel sections with a flush trim saw or hand saw.
I find it’s best to do this while clamped to a surface.
Then using a sanding block and sandpaper, smooth over the dowels and until the pencil marks have disappeared.
I also went all over of the joins and sharper edges to soften.
It’s best to do this outside, or wear a dust mask. You could use a palm sander, but you’ll have more control this way.
FINISHING YOUR TEA TOWEL LADDER
As tea towels are used to dry pots, or you may store hand towels, it’s best to seal the wood with something non-toxic. After sanding everywhere with 120 grit sand paper, I dusted it down, ensuring it was clean.
Then using a brush, I gave my tea towel ladder a coat of Worktop Oil and left for 20 minutes. I found this is best indoors to prevent attracting bugs on your oil.
Now remove the excess with a clean lint free cloth. Note, it’s best to do this in temperatures of 20 degrees, which is about average of home.
To add more coats, according to WOCA Worktop oil, you can repeat every hour.
I loved how with it being a food grade oil, it’s not toxic to work with. But when you’re done with your rag, soak it in water as it is combustible.
It will need topping up occasionally, such as once a year to protect. And to clean, just wipe it with a damp cloth. Never submerge it in water.
You may also want to add some rubber dots or pads on the mitred corners, but so far, I don’t think mine needs them.
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DIY Countertop Kitchen Tea Towel Ladder
- Tape measure
- Flatwood drill bit
- Sand paper
- Bevel gauge
- Wood glue
- Chalk paint
- First, cut your wood to length with a hand saw or chop saw.
- Hold the two longest pieces against the wall on a slope to your taste. Then use a bevel gauge to measure the angle and reversed it (see notes above), and draw along it with a pencil.
- Masking tape the two longest pieces together, clamp to a saw horse or table and saw off the pencil mark. Sand the cuts to ensure they match.
- Put the lengths back against the wall and hole a 1cm thick offcut next to it, draw again and saw
- Now mark our your steps on the two lengths, then while still stuck, drill 6mm holes through these pencil markings. Then clamp all together and drill through again. Ensure you drill about 4cm deep.
- Dismantle and run over the joins with glue, including the holes. Inset the dowel pieces, clamp and mallet them in.
- Remove all glue drips right away and leave to dry overnight before unclamping.
- Remove the protruding dowels with a flush trim saw and sand until smooth.
- Finally seal with Worktop Oil using a brush and leave for 20 minutes, then remove with a lint free cloth.
- Then leave for an hour and repeat with a 2nd coat.