Photos of a rope ladder made by a customer

How to make a rope ladder

Fancy making a rope ladder for your garden?

They’re actually quite easy to make. Just take a look at this fantastic DIY rope ladder above – created by our recent customer, Peter.

Made using our supplies – and put together using our handy construction tips – we think you’ll agree, the final result is very impressive and guaranteed to provide hours of fun for the kids!

Order the materials today and follow our step-by-step guide on how to make a rope ladder.


5 steps to make a sturdy rope ladder

photos taken by customer as making a rope ladder

  1. Choose a suitable tree

First things first – before you invest in any rope ladder supplies – you need to choose a suitable tree for the job. Oak trees are typically the best option. However, ash and maple trees can work just as well, as long as the branches are thick and sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the ladder.

It’s also important to check the branch for any signs of disease. And you should ensure there’s enough space to hang the rope ladder, leaving at least 3ft between the ladder and the trunk.

  1. Determine what you need

The next step is to work out how much rope you require.

This can be done by measuring the height of the branch in metres. Double this measurement and then multiply the figure by two (so there’s enough for both sides of the ladder). For example, if the branch is 4m high, you would need 16m in total. It’s also a good idea to add a little extra to ensure you have enough rope to create sturdy knots and securing points.

  1. Buy the essential materials

Everything you need can be found in our exclusive online store, here at RopesDirect.

For most rope ladder projects, we recommend 12mm synthetic hemp rope, with a soft eye spliced at one end. This is what Peter used and, as you can see, it works incredibly well. Not only is synthetic hemp strong and durable, designed to withstand the UK weather, but it looks great and is very soft to touch. It’s also conveniently sold in metres to meet your exact needs.

In addition, we stock high-quality hardwood rungs that are perfect for making a DIY rope ladder. These are pre-drilled for easy assembly and, at 400mm wide, we recommend placing them around 300mm apart. To calculate how many you need, simply divide the height of your branch (in mm) by 300.

photos to demonstrate how to make a rope ladder

  1. Start knotting

Once your materials have arrived, it’s time to start making your new climbing rope ladder.

Begin the process at the top end of the rope (i.e. near the soft spliced eyes). Simply thread the wooden rung down the length of the rope until it reaches the desired position. Then, tie a knot on each side (see photographs above for a demonstration) and pull tight to secure the rung in place.

This process should be repeated until all wooden rungs have been added. To ensure the rungs are aligned correctly, our top tip is to make a template from two blocks of wood. Secure these two blocks to a piece of plywood, taking care to set them exactly 300mm apart. Then, every time you add a new wooden rung to the rope ladder, this template can be used to ensure all rungs are evenly spaced throughout.

  1. Hang the rope ladder

The final step is to hang the rope ladder on the tree. This can be easily done with an additional length of 12mm synthetic hemp. However, the sturdiest (and safest!) method is to use an extension rope, such as those available at RopesDirect. Again, these are manufactured from synthetic hemp and come with a traditional soft spliced eye at one end and an 8mm quick link at the other.

Attach the soft eye to one side of your new rope ladder. Then, using a step ladder to reach, loop the extension rope over the branch – and secure it to the other side using the metal link.

Before allowing your child to use the new equipment, it’s a good idea to test it out for yourself. Check that all knots are tied tightly and, finally, ensure the branch doesn’t bounce as you climb.


Start your DIY rope ladder today

ropes and rope ladders available at Ropes Direct

For anyone wanting to while away the hours during lockdown, making a rope ladder is a fantastic option. Thanks to our easy ‘how-to’ guide, you’ll have it up-and-running in no time – and they’re a great way to get both you and the kids out into the garden and enjoying the sunshine.

Both 12mm synthetic hemp rope and wooden rungs are in stock, and can be delivered to your address in just a few days. Alternatively, if you’re not keen on DIY, we also have a range of 5, 6 and 7 rung rope ladders in our Play is Fun! collection – all of which come pre-assembled and ready to use.

If you have any questions about the products available, or would like further advice on how to make a rope ladder, please feel free to get in touch. We’re always on hand and happy to help. Just send an email to and we’ll get back to you.

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