When viewing these instructions, keep in mind that you can modify any of my measurements. If you want a shorter ladder, make less rungs and use shorter string. Use different beads, etc. Get creative! Make sure your beads will fit the rope, though!
*** special thanks to my younger brother for posing and being the hand model in the following pictures***
REQUIRED TIME FOR PROJECT:
(not counting driving to get supplies) approximately an hour and a half, the sawing and sanding can take quite a while
So, I got bored today. I remembered seeing a cute little rope ladder for sale once. I planned from memory. And, now, rope ladder!
I also made one for my little brother. I let him design the bead pattern and let him assemble it (I created all the ladder rungs for him). He loved it and was super excited about it. If you have kids or nieces/nephews, letting them bead it might be an awesome little project for them. It'll be something they made, too, which they will think is freakin' awesome.
If I had to describe the difficultly level of this project, I'd give it a 5 out of 10. Creating the rungs is hard, but assembling the ladder itself is pretty easy. I am a complete novice with power tools, but I found using the drill easy. The hand saw is a bit tiring, and the sanding, too, but overall not to hard.
the lovely (and terrified of the camera) Mr. Cuckoo Ricochet modeling the new toy and my bro's hand
TOOLS YOU'LL NEED:
hand saw (you could try a power saw, but I find it splinters and cracks horribly)
electric drill with appropriate drill bit, small (for drilling holes into the ladder rungs, make sure your string will fit through. See below for pictures of dowel and ideal hole size)
very coarse sandpaper (for smoothing splinters)
Dust mask or bandanna/cloth (to cover nose and mouth)
protective eye gear (for when sawing/sanding)
scissors (cutting hemp)
Bucket o' beads ($4.99 at Micheal's Craft store. Bring a coupon! Whatever beads you do use, make sure they fit your string.)
around 70 inches of natural hemp rope (around $2 for 10 yards of thick-ish at same store)
two metal hook loops STAINLESS STEEL!!!! (3.49 a piece at True Value. Can be found any hardware store. Hook loop is not correct terminology, but they should be in with the key rings, etc.)
one appropriately sized, in relation to budgie feet, pine dowel 48" long (can be found at true value. I think they were a dollar a piece. You can get other length dowels, but make sure you have enough for the amount of rungs you want to cut out.)
: making the rungs
This is the intense portion of the process.
with a pencil, mark the 48" pine dowel into 4 inch intervals. Each rung is going to be 4 inches. Put on protective eye gear. It may be a hand saw, but a splinter may still get into your eyes. Take the hand saw and cut the dowel where you've marked. In the end, you should have 12 separate pieces; however, I only used 11 in my ladder. I tried a power saw at first and it annihilated one of the rungs. If you can manage a power saw on these, though, more power to you. No pun intended.
Eye gear should still be on. Now that you have your little rungs, they need holes. Measure 1/4 inch in from each end of the rung (if you are confused, see picture farther below of the final rungs). Mark the spots for holes with your pencil. Be sure to make sure the holes are lined up to one another. Otherwise, the ladder will be crooked. To get them even with one another, I recommend lying a ruler on a table, lying the rung directly next to it, then marking along the edge of the ruler, which will ensure the holes are even to one another. When drilling, make sure you don't drill into any tables, unless you want to drill holes in them.
Now, get that mask/ bandanna /cloth. Wrap it over your mouth and nose. Eye gear, if it wraps snugly to your face, should still be on. If there are any splinters or rough edges on your rungs, sand them down. This can be time consuming, but it will ensure your budgie doesn't hurt his feet. The mask will spare your lungs the dust. If the dowels have a paint marking on one end to indicate size, sand it off to be safe. I sanded the ends of the rungs to, to soften their appearance as well as get ride of any splinters or sharp edges.
Now you have rungs!!! (see picture below)
STEP 2: the fun part
take two pieces of equal sized hemp. I'd recommend around 33 inches, which will give you wiggle room for mistakes/etc. Weave one piece through a hole in a rung.
Begin beading the rope. I used 7 beads, which measured 2 inches, in between the rungs. After you finish beading each section, do NOT tie or knot the rope at all yet. There will only be four knots in the entirety of the rope ladder and they will come at the very end.
Add another rung, bead again. Repeat process until desired length.
Now, there should be empty rope at each end of the ladder. Bead 9 beads on both pieces of rope at one end of the ladder.
Take one bead and thread both pieces of rope into it. Tie a TIGHT knot up at the top of this. Make sure the bead cannot slip past it. Knot multiple times if needed. Repeat this for the other end of the ladder. Make sure that the rope does not go slack and become too exposed between the beads. It will make the ladder easy to break. Yummy chewable hemp is very alluring, after all.
Tie a hook loop at each end. I didn't use any special knots. Just keep tying and tying until you get a thick little ball of hemp secured to the hook. I left two little danglers hanging off because I figured the bird would like to chew on it.
And you're done!!
Regarding the hook loops:
I only used one on each end of the ladder because my hardware store only had two in stock. They won't get more until Monday. My little bro is waiting on clips for his shorter ladders, which annoys me. :/ I'll see how the bird likes it this way. If it proves too swing-y, I'll put two hook loops on each end. The bird may like it better a little rock-y. We'll see. If I do redo it, I'll post pictures and instructions on how to modify.
If you make one, why not post pictures, too? Preferably on this thread so people can see the variations (if you've done some or not) for inspiration.