How To: Build Rope Shelves Under $20

Apartment living requires creative thinking, particularly when involving storage space or home decor. Living in a small space also requires maximized living, getting a lot for a little. In the midst of thinking of ways to create a showcase of our engagement photos I discovered an awesome Pinterest idea that inspired me to create my own. All I needed was a little faith, trust and pixie [saw] dust.

I gathered up my materials and got to work. All I used was leftover board from a bathtub tray I made Clay for Valentines Day, jute rope from Hobby Lobby, 4 screws, Philips-head screwdriver, a level and scissors. It literally took me all about 5 minutes to put together and added the eye catching touch I was hoping for. shelves

If you’d like to re-create this same look (minus my pictures because THAT would be weird) follow the step by step tutorial below! Pictures included : )

How to make a hanging rope shelf:

1. Have an idea of where you want to utilize the shelf space. This could be anywhere, from kitchen to bathroom, bedroom or living space.

before shelf

2. Gather materials

  • Wood boards – My pieces are 6″ wide and 18″ long. The beauty of this project is that it’s yours, so create shelving to your needs! Home Depot has on hand employees that will gladly cut wood to your specific size.
  • Jute Rope– You can find this at any craft store. I bought 15ft for $3 from Hobby Lobby (make sure to go to for 40% full price item)
  • Scissors
  • 4 , 1/2″Drywall Screws– If you’re planning to hang something a bit heavier on your shelf make sure to get screws that can hold more weight.
  • A Level
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • 4 thumbtacks- These come in handy when it comes to hanging your shelves to see where exactly to place the screws

3. Cut 4 equal pieces of rope.

It’s important that all pieces of rope are the same size so that your shelves are even and hang the same length. If you don’t want to run out of rope cut the rope you have in half and in half again, you’ll end up with exactly 4 equal pieces. It’s better to start with too long of pieces and cut them down than to run out of rope because you overestimated your supply.

cutting rope


4. Knot each piece of rope at the ends to equal lengths

Again, it’s important that these are tied at the same length so that your shelves hang evenly. I tied one rope and then gauged the rest off that same rope. Make sure to tighten your knots.

cutting rope


5. Wrap one rope around each end of your board

attaching rope

6. Hang your masterpiece!

I used thumbtacks first to ensure that where I placed my screws was the correct position. To do this attach the ends of the rope to the thumbtacks and finagle it to where you want your first shelf to hang, use your level for accuracy. Once it is level create small indentations in the wall with the thumbtacks as a marker for where you will screw into the wall. Then simply take down the shelf and use your Philips head screwdriver to place screws into the drywall. Hang your rope and lay your wood pieces into the loops of the rope! You have a rope shelf. Repeat for the second shelf (or as many as you are hanging).

shelve in proces

*Don’t place your screws too close or you will have less showcase space on your shelving.

7. Decorate!

It’s time to personalize. Hang pictures, plants, flowers, books, movies or anything to showcase your personality.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s