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
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.
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.
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.
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:
More easy shelving ideas:
plus more wall shelves