Easy DIY Rope Shelving

Add easy and inexpensive storage anywhere you need it with this simple DIY rope shelving. Just drill, knot, and hang!

Hello Remodelaholic readers! Colleen here from Lemon Thistle, home to DIY, home decor, printables, and parties. I’m happy to be here today sharing these DIY Rope Shelves! I’ve been planning an office makeover for quite some time now and these shelves are the first step on what seems like a very long road to getting there! When I shared my bathroom renovation with you all, I talked a bit about renovating in stages. I find that I do the same thing with decorating rooms quite often. I love a good before and after, a dramatic redecoration but we often don’t have the funds or time to allow it! So I pick away at it with one weekend or afternoon project at a time. These shelves were the first for my office but I have SO much more planned. You can see what it was like before here.

DIY Rope Hanging Shelves

DIY Rope Hanging Shelves

What I love about these shelves is that they’re a little more interesting than standard open shelving, but they don’t have brackets taking up shelf space. That’s huge for me because these shelves are both only around two feet wide. They look like they take a bit of DIY skills but really, they’re crazy easy.

How to Make Easy DIY Rope Shelving

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

  • 1×12″ boards the length is up to you
  • Stain of your choice (I used Minwax Classic Grey mixed with Early American)
  • Miter saw to cut boards (or have them cut at the store)
  • Nylon rope (I chose black 5/8″) length depends on size of shelves, calculation below
  • Drill bit the width of your rope (a saw bit worked best for us!)
  • Power Drill
  • 2 Metal anchors per shelf
  • Level

Measure and cut your boards to length, you can get this done at Home Depot for no charge if you like. When your boards have been cut, you can make your holes for the rope. It’s best to do this before staining so you don’t have a noticeably lighter edge around your holes (I mayyyy have done this backwards and learned the hard way). Choose a drill bit that is slightly larger than your rope, but small enough that a knot would never slip through. I found a saw bit worked the best as it kept the wood from chipping. I left about an inch of wood to every edge to make sure the board didn’t split. Sand these holes and apply a coat or two of stain.

DIY Rope Hanging Shelves

When your boards are prepped it’s the fun part! Measure how far apart your holes are and mark at the very top of your wall. This is where you will attach your anchors. I really like the ones I chose (I can’t find them anywhere online for you, I really did try! On my receipt it’s called an Anchor PT- point I’m assuming) since they have two places to screw. This allowed me to drop them down from being tight on the ceiling a little bit. I used one screw in the top and a screw with a strong drywall anchor in the bottom. The top screw needs to catch the header of the wall.

When your anchors are attached, you can thread your rope through. To measure how much rope you will need, you should measure from your bottom shelf to the ceiling. Double this and add 1.5 feet (the shelves are 1 foot deep plus knots) and that will give you one length of rope. You will need two per shelf. If you can have the hardware store cut your rope into lengths DO IT! Rope can be such a pain to cut at home, then you need to use heat to seal the ends. The tool they use in store cuts through with heat leaving a perfect end.

DIY Rope Hanging Shelves

When your rope is through, thread your first shelf on to the rope, deciding on the approximate height you want it. Have someone hold it in place while you tie the four knots. These will take some adjusting to get the shelf level side to side and front to back. When it’s pretty much level (don’t worry too much at this point), add your next shelf. If you have more shelves, keep going this way until you’re done! By now, your top shelf might not look level anymore. *sigh* Add some weight to it (push down if you like) and adjust the knots only if necessary. Since the rope has a bit of stretch, it will take a week or so for you to be completely happy with how level it is.

DIY Rope Hanging Shelves

That’s all there is to it! Holes and knots, really. How do you feel about open shelving? Would you be nervous to hang shelves from rope? We went back and forth but decided that it would be safe and I have to say it’s incredibly sturdy. A lot of those magazine holders are filled with paper and the shelves don’t even budge. I’m really excited to have some organization in my space, until I put these babies up aaaaalll of that stuff was on the floor, guys. This is such a treat!

More from Lemon Thistle:

DIY Rustic Open Shelving DIY Plywood Hand Lettered Wall Hanging DIY Giant Jenga

More easy shelving ideas:

DIY suspended shelving
Suspended Shelving Sawdust2stitches for Remodelaholic

IKEA upside-down bracket shelvesDIY Rustic Modern Boho shelves hacking the IKEA Ekby Lerberg brackets to work in reverse

plus more wall shelves16 DIY Wall Shelves -- beautiful and functional wall decor!

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  1. Looks really cool, but unstable. If downward pressure is applied to the front outside edge, the ropes would shift through your anchors, and they’d collapse down. It would be wise to tie a knot just below the anchor.

    1. Thanks for the advise Rebecca. We have found these to be extremely stable with the weight on them, if you were finding your shelves were shifting, that would be a great solution!

  2. I was able to find the anchors with the description that you gave. Here they are on Amazon. They are called D Rings & D Ring Tie Downs. They come in different sizes that a rope would go through so it would depend on what size you purchase.

    Thanks again. I’m going to make these for my little guy’s room to store toys and that we have a bookshelf.

    1. Thank you for passing this along Cheryl! I would love to see a photo of your shelves all done (and props on finding those- I looked for way too long with no luck!)

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