how to make a jacob's ladder


This guide is for you if you've ever wanted to make your own Jacob's ladder. It'll walk you through making one for yourself and explain why it works. Jacob's ladder is a physics phenomenon that occurs when electricity travels across charged metal wires, causing them to emit light as sparks. The ladder symbolises spiritual growth and enlightenment because it represents reaching heaven through meditation or religious experience   hence its name. However, if you want to use your own Jacob's ladder at home (or even give one away!), read on!

Gather your materials.

First, you will need to gather your materials. You will need the following:

  • Wood - any size or shape will do so long as it is approximately 3-5 feet long and 1 inch thick. If possible, try to find a piece with some character (such as knots) or interesting grain variations.

  • String - at least 60 feet thin enough to slide through the holes in your wood but strong enough not to break easily when pulled tight and weighted with water balloons. Thinner strings work better than thicker ones because they have less tension holding them together while they're being used and can stretch further across the room before breaking apart! Try using nylon paracord if you have access because it's perfect for this project, but any cotton/polyester cord should do just fine, too (especially if yours doesn't come from an army surplus store).

  • Nail or hook - something sturdy enough to support several hundred pounds of water balloons without bending down under their weight; I recommend using raw steel rods rather than any other types since those tend not to bend under pressure!

Cut the wood.

  • If you have a mitre saw:

  • Set the table of your mitre saw to 45 degrees, then cut each piece of wood at a 45-degree angle. This will make for easier assembly later on.

  • Cutting this way with a circular blade will leave nice smooth edges, but make sure to use safety goggles or other eye protection since it can get dusty during this process.

Paint the wood any colour you want.

Paint your wood and string whatever colour you want. You can paint the wood with a brush, spray paint it, or use a roller. If you don't want to spend money on spray paint, try using an old foam roller (or sponge brush) that's been used for painting before.

Drill holes in one end of each board.

Next, drill holes at the end of each board. This is where you want to ensure you measure accurately and that your holes are evenly spaced. You'll also want to consider how big your threading string should be, depending on how long a ladder you intend to create. If you're using a thicker rope or cord strand meant for more heavy-duty tasks (like hanging laundry), it will need larger spaces than if you were going with something thinner and less sturdy. In either case, you'll want to ensure that your boards don't split when drilling through them; this can easily happen if not done correctly!

Cut the string and thread it through the hole of one board, then pull it through until you have 10-15 inches at that end. Tie a knot at the top of this string to hold each board in place.

First, you'll want to cut two pieces of string long enough to reach from one side of the room that you're hanging your Jacob's Ladder to another.

Next, thread one piece of string through each board at one end. Then pull it through until you have 10-15 inches at that end, and tie a knot there, so the boards remain secure.

Now flip over your ladder and repeat this process with the remaining two pieces of string until they are all threaded through.

Thread the string through the next board and pull it until you have 10-15 inches. Tie another knot to hold it in place. Keep going with all the boards until all are knotted to one another with short strings on each end.

  • Take one end of the string and thread it through the hole on the first board. Pull it through till you have 10-15 inches at that end. Tie a knot to hold it in place.

  • Repeat this process for every board until all are knotted to one another with short strings on each end.

Depending on your preference, hang the ladder from a hook or nail on the wall, vertically or horizontally.

There are two ways to hang the ladder: vertically or horizontally. If you want it to be a decorative piece, hang it vertically so it can double as an ornament and lamp. This will also make it more stable as a lamp because gravity will help keep the boards together. If you want your Jacob's ladder to reach farther up into the air, place nails or hooks along the wall at different heights so that they create steps for your ladder. You could even use different coloured nail heads if you'd like!

If you plan on actually using this project for lighting purposes (as opposed to just displaying it as art), hang your Jacob's ladders horizontally, so there is less chance of tipping over during use.

You can make Jacob's ladder yourself out of wood and string.

You can make a Jacob's ladder yourself out of wood and string. The first step is to gather your materials:

  • Four pieces of 1" x 2" pine

  • Four pieces of 3/4" dowel (or something similar) cut to length

  • Two small nails or brads, 1 per board

Once you've got those, it's time to begin the actual project. First, cut all four pieces of 1" x 2" pine into three equal lengths. These will be your rungs. Next, cut two more pieces of 3/4" dowel into 6-inch lengths with a hacksaw or power mitre saw. These are the rungs' crosspieces; they'll go on the ends of each ladder you make (so eight total). Then use two small nails or brads (they come in packs) and hammer them through from one side into an end hole made earlier by drilling three holes equally spaced apart in each piece (12 total), but don't go all the way through leave about half an inch sticking out on both sides for now!


Making your own Jacob's ladder is a fun and easy project that anyone can do, even if they've never made one before. The best part about this project is that it requires only a few common materials you likely already have lying around the house. If you have some string, wood boards (or other material), paint and time on your hands, then you should be able to make something great!


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