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Rope ladder: how to make with your own hands? 60 photos of application in playground design

Rope ladders, whether climbing up tree crowns, boarding a tall ship or going out through a window in an emergency, can be used as an adventure. They are versatile to use when the storage space is at a height or if the vertical distance to the target is not straight and the rigid one will not work.

If you live or work in a building, you can only fall to the ground from your window, and you want to have a convenient way out in case of an emergency, then a rope ladder may be exactly what you need.

How to make a rope ladder if the light goes out in an emergency so that it glows in the dark? This is part of the solution to determine a faster path to security in order to understand your location.

Rope ladder is a general term used to describe any type of flexible ladder, different from the usual rigid ones in that they have a flexible stringer (vertical component — rope) and usually have rigid jumpers (horizontal elements — steps).

There are several varieties: some use only ropes, some use steel wire, some have plastic steps, and others use wood. Before you start, study the types and the situation in which you intend to use yours to make sure it is suitable.

This structure consists of a wooden upper crossbar, which is wider than the window opening. The rope is attached to the upper dowel and tied by each successive at regular intervals to make a ladder.

There are other constructions, but the advantage of the rope passing through each step is that it will not slip off the step, and the knots will not untie.

This method removes the load from the wooden top pin, distributing the load on the window frame, leaving the vulnerable center of the top pin without any point load.

During operation, the force acting from climbing is transferred to the window frame, and the rest acts under compression with minimal lateral load.

It is necessary to mention the obligatory warning: Be smart, use steps made of solid wood with a sufficient diameter, designed to use a rope ladder, with a rope that is designed to carry the weight of people.

If the hole for the upper pin is too large, or the rope is of poor quality, you risk falling off it and getting seriously injured.

Step 2: Tools + Materials

Determine the desired location before buying anything. You will need a lot of rope suitable to hold your weight and enough steps to lower the ladder to the ground from the window.

The rope and steps must correspond to your weight and distance to the ground, the following information is provided to illustrate this example:

  • 9.5mm x 15 m glow-in-the-dark rope
  • 38 mm solid wood dowels — different lengths (depending on the window opening and the desired width)
  • drill
  • 9.5mm drill bit

Step 3: Measure twice

After you have chosen an easily accessible place for your ladder, which does not contain any dangers when disembarking outside, we can take some measurements.

Upper bar: Measure the width of the opening, add another + 100 mm on each side. This gap will allow you to place the bar in the opening without falling out.

Crossbars: Choose a width that will easily allow you to put your feet in and out when descending. To keep everything in order, use jumpers with a width of 305 mm (12 inches). This will allow you to install a footrest and enough space for it to pass through the shelf on each side.

Rope: They will all have a weight limit printed on the packaging, or on the sticker if you buy in bulk. Make sure you choose a rope that is suitable for your needs.

This design has a number of knots in the rope, since the total length of the rope must be longer than the distance to the place for the knots.

A little math: The distance from the hole to the ground is 580 cm.  Illustrated in step 6, each knot used about 5 cm (2 inches) of rope. This design requires a knot above and below each crossbar, using 10 cm (4 inches) for each step.

Step 4: Cut the steps

Your local lumber store should have long round sticks. Choosing the thickness, be based on the weight of the heaviest person who will use this rope ladder.

Using hardwoods is more expensive, but will be stronger if you only have softwood, consider increasing the thickness so that they hold your weight or use a shorter width. Inspect each stick to make sure there is no deformation, splitting or other defects.

Upper crossbar: Once you have assembled your wood, choose the simplest and cleanest piece for your top crossbar.

From the measurements made earlier: window opening: 103 cm, gap on each side: 2×10 cm, upper length of the bar: 123 cm

Crossbars: This design requires a ladder step with a width of 30.5 cm (12 inches).

When you're done, you should have one long segment and several short ones of the same length for your steps. Collect your blanks and go home to finish the production.

Step 5: Drill each stick

The rope in the ladder passes through each side of each step, the advantage of this design is that the rope will not slip off the step, and the knots will not be untied.

Upper step: Remember the photo of the rope ladder at step 3, when we make an additional 100 mm gap on each side? Mark 100 mm (or any other distance that is necessary for your opening) from each end of the fixed crossbar.

Crossbars: Each step will require two identical holes drilled close to the end on each side. The marks were made with 38 mm (1.5 inches) at each end.

After you've made the marks, it's time to start drilling. Choose a drill bit that is the same size or slightly larger than the diameter of the rope.

Note: Not a fan of drilling through every shelf? There are several other rope ladder designs that you might want to explore, some use a fastener to fix on each, some use a mechanical fastener or you can use a knot around each instead.

Step 6: Measuring the frequency of nodes

The distance between each step is a personal preference. Many traditional stairs have a step interval at 25.5-30.5 cm. This creates a "square" effect when viewed (the space between each step, framed by long ropes of the same size).

This image shows that with each knot that is tied, the rope shrinks by about 5 cm (2 inches). Since this design has a node at the top and below each step, the loss for each is 10 cm (4 inches).

Step 7: Assembly

After you have drilled all your sticks, it's time to assemble all the pieces. Start with the hole on the lowest step and work your way up to the top bar.

Lay out your two straight long ropes, start with a knot at the end of each rope and stretch into the shelf. Then tie a shelf on each side, measure about 30.5 cm (12 inches) and tie another knot. Then put it on another shelf and tie it. Repeat for each side until all the steps are screwed and tied.

It helps to tighten the rope a little when you assemble it, try to secure the bottom shelf when it is tied, and keeping the tension on both sides even while winding/tying.

The upper dowel is tied in the same way, only with some additional space between the upper dowel and the first step to account for the difference in width between the hole and the step.

Step 8: Glow in the Dark

Just in case the lights are off at night, the creepy green glow will help you find your ladder in the dark, hopefully help you slip away.

Step 9: Be Careful

It can save your life, however, keep in mind that it is not the only possible way to escape in case of an emergency, but you should always have a backup plan if your main exit route is not available. This is not the only application, it can also be used as a children's rope ladder.

Have you made a rope ladder with your own hands and got the experience based on the design shown here? Share your creations and ideas in the comments below.

Photo of a rope ladder