How to Make a Rustic Cupcake Ladder Stand

Presentation counts just as much as taste – and what better way to show off your tasty cupcakes at the dessert table than placing them on a rustic cupcake ladder stand?

You may think making a DIY wood cupcake stand is super challenging, but the process is elementary. A beginner can make a stunning cupcake ladder stand in one afternoon!

In this post, we will look at how master DIYer Holach Jessica from the OlgaLing YouTube channel makes an elegant ladder cupcake stand that beats anything you’ll find at a shop.

She breaks down how to make a rustic ladder stand for your festive desserts into five easy-to-follow steps!


The list of things you need for this DIY project is quite extensive. You need:

  • Wood Frame: Two 2’x4′ about 18″-20″ in length
  • Wood Legs: One 2’x4′ about 14″ in length
  • Wood Shelves: Four 3/4″ x 1/2″ pallet wood 20″ in length
  • Saw
  • Sander
  • Drill with pre-drill bit, countersink bit, and screwdriver bit
  • Screws

Other needed supplies include: Towel, Brush, Stain, Sanding Sealer, and Wood Glue

If you’ve done some woodwork before, you likely have most of these supplies handy. Grab the supplies, and let’s get right to it!

Steps to Make a Rustic Cupcake Ladder Stand

01 Make Markings

This is often the most challenging step since you need to be very precise. But you only need to mark the frames correctly once, and the rest will fall in place.

Grab the 20″ long 2’x4′ board and use a triangle to make a 90° straight line near the bottom – this is the base of your frame. Then, use a protractor to mark a 50° angle – this is the angle at which the shelves will “rise.”

Make a tiny marking 2 ½ inches above the straight line you marked – this is where the first shelf will start. In the video, Jessica also marks where the front of the frame is to ensure she doesn’t make any errors when she begins to saw.

Use your carpenter ruler to draw a triangle two inches deep and four inches long from the first marking on the board’s edge. Use the end of the triangle as the starting point to mark the next triangle with the same dimensions.

You must make a total of three triangles, which will hold three shelves.

Make a 90° line at the end of the third triangle, and mark the final 50° angle from there. Erase the 90° line, so you don’t get confused – the last 50° angle line will hold the fourth and topmost shelf.

The pallet board Jessica uses for the shelves are shorter than the board she uses for the frame, so she marks the width for sawing off the extra lip of the board. She also makes a 90° connecting the first marking to the base of the frame – sawing this off will make the shelf neater.

Watch Jessica make her precise markings from the 0:13 mark.

02 Saw the Frame and Make the Shelves

Sawing the frame should be easy – just follow the markings.

Grab the pieces of pallet wood and cut out 20-inch length from each board.


Skip forward to 2:50 to see Jessica demonstrate this step.

03 Make the Legs

In the video, Jessica uses a leftover piece of 2’x4′ board, places it right next to the frame, and marks the angle needed to make the leg seamless.

As long as you made the same measurements and cuts, the angle will be a perfect 30°.

After you mark the angle, saw it off, and saw the single board into two to make the two legs.

Jessica makes the legs for the frame at 3:21 on her video below.

04 Sand All Pieces

First, use 120-grit sandpaper and sand all the pieces of wood, then sand it again using 300-grit sandpaper. This makes for a smooth finish. Remember to use the sealer when needed.

Skip ahead to 3:43 on the video below to view this step.

05 Assemble and Stain

Jessica’s process is simple: she pre-drills a hole, countersinks it, then drills the screw in.

She uses two screws to connect the legs to the frames, and also uses wood glue for a firmer hold.

The frames must be 16 inches apart – this gives the 20″ shelves a nice, spacey feel. Make sure the shelves are centered and use four screws to connect each shelf to the frame.

Finally, stain your stand using a brush, and wipe off any excess using the towel – your cupcake ladder is ready for a party!

Jessica demonstrates the final step and finishes her rustic cupcake ladder stand tutorial with some sweet pictures of her family enjoying a party.

See it come together at 4:16

Full Video

Skip through the video below using the time markers above to find all the juicy parts of making your own cupcake stand come to life for your own upcoming birthday party or celebratory events for years to come.


What is the best stain to use for the cupcake stand?

Jessica uses red oak wood finish stand. She does two coats of the stain in the front, and the dark stain goes well with almost every party theme.

How do I make the stand more durable?

Spray at least two coats of polyurethane onto the cupcake stand to make it resistant to weathering and abrasion. The coating also protects it from moisture when you clean it.

Additional Steps

Jessica’s extensive tutorial covers everything you need to know about making a cupcake stand – and you can make your own variation with the knowledge.

If you cut the pieces just right, you can make a collapsible cupcake shelf that you can assemble anytime there’s a party. You can also make a stylish four-legged cupcake stand like YouTuber Michelle from the Around the House channel did.

Make sure you leave a comment on Jessica’s awesome tutorial and subscribe to her channel OlgaLing for more excellent DIY content!

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