Hi everyone!! It’s Emily from Table + Hearth here again from the Texas coast with a project using one of my favorite materials to work with…rope!
When we welcomed our son last year, we had to switch some rooms around to make the nursery. Our office had to become the guest room which caused some awkward ugly clutter when we had to remove the desk so the bed would fit. All of our internet connections and wires now just lived on the floor in this little nook where the desk used to be and our printer and all our office supplies were just hanging out under the window. Real inviting and classy, right?!
That small nook where the desk used to be is only about 12″ deep so finding a new desk or cabinet that fit was proving slightly difficult as most were about 14″. The footboard of the bed is right in front of that space so we don’t have a lot of clearance for anything to stick out. Like any true DIYer, I eyed my ever-growing scrap wood pile and started thinking of creative ways I could organize that small space.
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A few boards, some rope, and some boat cleats and we now have a super cool nautical-inspired storage shelf that makes those unattractive necessities not seem so hideous!
Nautical Floating Rope Shelf Tutorial
I used two walnut boards I had left over from another project as well as a weathered old 2×4 that our friend Hurricane Harvey left for me. The nearby destruction from Harvey was/is absolutely horrible but if anyone was looking for old weathered boards they were in luck. We drove around the island for weeks scouring the set out debris piles for beautiful old chippy weathered lumber to build with 🙂
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- Boards/reclaimed wood – I used two 1″x6″ walnut boards and an old 2″x4″ of “Harvey wood”
- 2 wall cleats
- Kreg jig and clamp
- Hole saw
- Palm sander
- Miter saw or circular saw
- Wood stain (I used a weathering stain)
- Stud finder
- Anchors and screws
Measure how long your boards need to be then make a mark where you would like your rope holes. I marked mine roughly 8″ in from the edges.
Choose a hole saw bit that will allow plenty of room the rope to pass through (and two ropes per hole on the top board). For my rope it was the 1.5″ bit. Carefully drill your holes in each board. I have found it is easiest, and makes the cleanest edges, to drill about halfway through from one side of the board then flip it and finish from the other side.
Since my bottom board needed to be wider, I joined 6″ wide walnut boards using my Kreg pocket hole jig. I put pocket holes 3″ in from each side, then every 10″ or so in between. You just want enough evenly spaced down your boards so that they are firmly joined together.
Before joining the boards I stained them with my favorite reactive/aging stain and let them dry. The walnut gives a beautiful light gray with this stain and matches perfect with the true weathered Harvey board as the top shelf.
Once dry, I finished joining the boards by screwing in the Kreg screws. Now my boards were all ready to be hung!
Level and install your cleats using heavy-duty screws into a stud or use drywall anchors if necessary.
Tie your rope onto the cleat using whatever sort of knot you want. I have no idea if this is a legit nautical tie or not, but I just went with it because I liked the way it looks and because my boating husband was gone. I’m sure there are a handful of fancy nautical knots you can do!
Thread your ropes through one of the first board’s holes and tie a knot for it to rest on. These steps are MUCH easier with an extra set of hands but can be done solo I promise, that’s how I did it 🙂
Set your level on the board while you thread the rope and make a knot under the other hole. Adjust the knot as needed by loosening and re-tightening it to get your board level.
Repeat this same knotting and leveling process for the bottom board then trim the excess rope when you’re all done.
It is SOOOO much nicer to have all of our gear up off the floor, have the space below the shelf free and clear, and have a unique and fun little space to display cute signs and decor for our guests! I will still probably try to find some slim lidded baskets for underneath to contain all those office supplies but it is fine hidden in the closet for now 🙂
Re-wrangling the extra cords into our sneaky cord-hiding box also helped clean up the look. I’ll probably find a couple more small frames to put in front of it to conceal it a little more but luckily it is white like our other equipment and blends right in.
I just love the weathered finish and little chips of paint left on that old top board, plus it is a little reminder of Harvey and making something useful and beautiful out of his destruction <3
It was fun to repurpose some of my hoarded wood pile to make a quick and simple solution for this difficult little space in our home! I am so thankful for DIY projects when there are wonky-sized spaces you need some sort of storage in. I don’t think we ever would have found quite the right piece of furniture for this little spot, and I’m glad we hadn’t now that these fun shelves are there!
See y’all again in a few months!
In the meantime check out some of my favorite shelving/storage projects below as well:
More wall shelves to DIY:
plus more beautiful shelving ideas:
Emily is a marine biologist with a secret passion for all things home decor and DIY which she shares about on her blog, Table + Hearth. Her style can be described as "weathered coastal farmhouse", with treasures from the coast mixed in with traditional farmhouse elements. She lives on the south Texas coast with her husband and one sassy feline.