Copper Ladder Hanging Closet

My new apartment doesn't have a closet, which I don't particularly mind because it gives me a chance to build something, which I love. While moving I broke the backing on an old shelving unit. The original one looked something like this. It could've been fixed pretty easily, but I would much rather spray paint it copper and turn it into something new.

I definitely made this project a bit more complicated than it needed to be, until I discovered toggle bolts. Drilling into the ceiling, I soon discovered was bit more complicated then finding studs in the wall. In addition to that, I had to consider then length of the ladder may or may not be compatible with the spacing of the studs. This is where toggle bolts come in, you insert them into the ceiling and they open up creating a foundation from which to place your screws. They work really well, too. The best part is you can drill into any part of the ceiling safely.


Here's what you'll need:

  • 4 six foot sections of copper wire - 24 feet all together. You can get them in the electrical section at your local hardware store, where they can also cut them into the appropriate length for you.
  • Spray paint - I used this one.
  • Hooks with toggle bolts
  • Electric drill or you can use a screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil


  • First paint your ladder.
  • Then measure the length of the ladder and set aside to dry.
  • Mark on the ceiling with a pencil the length of the ladder to determine the places you are going to drill.
  • Drill two holes in which to insert your toggle bolts. Mine called for an 5/16" drill bit, check the specifications of yours.
  • Install your hooks and toggle bolts.
  • When your ladder is dry, take two 6' pieces of copper and hang one end of you ladder.
  • Fold the end of the copper wire over the hooks installed in the ceiling. You don't need a special tool. You can fold the copper wire with your hands.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Check to see if both sides are level before moving on. If not this is easily adjusted by shortening the length of the copper wire at the top end from which it is hanging.
  • Next and optional, you can choose to wrap the copper wire around the ladder and twist the wire to create a braided effect.
  • If you are using a retired shelving unit like me, you can stack one of the shelves on top of the ladder for extra storage, or get creative by using other household items for this. I think painted plywood would be interesting too.