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How To Make A Valhalla Ladder For Home Protection

Vikings made these out of wood, shells, even bones...

Just as Manu popular Christmas traditions have pagan roots, many design trends that seem completely secular in nature actually have a past spiritual tradition. Yule logs were for the holiday of Yule, horseshoes over a door are meant to “catch” luck, and then there’s the popular design trend beloved by the “coastal grandma” aesthetic: a driftwood garland.

These decorative objects are often called by the name of Valhalla ladder, and some believe that Vikings and other Scandinavians hung these collections outside their doors as a kind of protection.


Valhalla ladders are a single row of hanging items, strung from a piece of twine. Traditionally, they were bits of bones, glass, shells, and driftwood that were gathered on a person’s voyage. They can be arranged in whatever fashion the crafter desires, making a “ladder” that follows a particular path or journey, or one that is arranged by size, shape, material, or color.

Make sure the pieces are clean and dry to discourage rot and mold and carefully drill a hole between the center of each piece. Then arrange it as desired and cut a long bit of twine or string. Thread the twine through the holes, making sure to tire a knot both before and after each piece to keep them from slipping. Then, tie a loop on one end and hang it up on your porch or outside your door.

A Valhalla ladder is said to provide protection outside your home, as well as serve as a lovely memento from your travels.