Hang loose with DIY rope shelves

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

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I find furniture stores fascinating. I often look at an item and think, “I could make that for less than half the price.” This happened to me recently when I came across a piece of shelving suspended by rope on both sides. If you want to make your own rope shelf, you can easily do it with just a few items.

Start by gathering everything you need. If you want multiple tiers, get multiple pieces of wood with identical measurements. Take a look at shelving you already have at home or walk around a furniture store with measuring tape to get an idea of the length and width you’d like. The shelving I considered was about 18 inches long and 5.5 inches wide.

Next, decide what you’d like the shelving to look like. If you want a natural look, opt for natural stain. If you prefer color, get some paint. Just make sure that the paint is suitable for use on wood.

For the rope, look for one-half-inch sisal rope. The length of your rope will depend how far down you want it to hang. You will also need to decide whether you want the shelf to hang down from your ceiling or whether you want to hang it on the wall. Measure how long you will want the rope to hang, and add 18 inches to that measurement to allow some excess for knotting. When you purchase your rope at the hardware store, have them cut two pieces in that length, one for each side of the shelf.

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You will also need screw eye hooks for your ceiling (if you have a wooden ceiling), or picture hangers for your wall. Ask an associate at the hardware store which hangers will work best for your wall or ceiling. For instance, if you have drywall, you will want to make sure you use hangers for drywall.

Use a one-inch drill bit and drill holes into each corner of your shelves. If you paint or stain your shelves, make sure they are completely dry before you drill. Measure the distance between these holes and mark your ceiling or wall accordingly. Then, install the screw eye hook or picture hangers at those markers.

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Run the rope through the hooks so that there are equal lengths on both sides. If you are using picture hangers, hang the rope instead.

Then, push the rope through the holes in your shelf and knot underneath. You may need to make small adjustments as you go to keep the shelf level.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.