Project Guide

How to Make a Rope Shelf

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Measure and Mark Pieces
A person measuring and marking a wood board.
  • Measure and mark the 1 x 8-inch x 8-foot board into three 30-inch long sections for the shelves.
  • Measure and mark the 1/2 x 1/2 x 48-inch hardwood dowel rod into eight 2-inch sections to be used as height adjusters in the rope.

Tip: For clean-looking shelves that require little to no sanding, use appearance boards

Cut All Pieces
A person cutting a wood board with a circular saw.
  • Use a circular saw or a miter saw to cut along the marks you just made.
  • Sand the cut ends of the dowels and shelves. Sand the surfaces of the shelves as needed.
Paint or Stain the Shelves
A person painting a wood board with white paint.
  • Paint or stain the shelves you've cut to your preference.
  • When staining, be sure to use an interior wood stain for the best results.
  • Allow all pieces to thoroughly dry prior to assembly.
Measure and Mark Holes
A person measuring and marking a painted wood board.

On each of the three shelves, measure and mark 1 1/2 inches in from all four corners.

Drill Holes
A person drills into a painted wood board with a spade bit.

Using the 1-inch spade drill bit, drill holes through the boards at the corner marks.

Tie Knots
A person tying a knot in a length of rope.

Tie a knot at one end of both 10-foot rope pieces.

Thread Rope and Tie
A person tying the end of a rope that is threaded through three shelves.
  • Using the unknotted end of both ropes, thread the rope through the front left hole of all three shelves, starting from beneath the bottom shelf.
  • At the top shelf, cross the rope over and thread it through the back right hole of all three shelves. Leave plenty of slack at the top for hanging.
  • Thread the second rope through the front right hole of all three shelves and then cross over at the top and back down through the back left hole of all shelves.

Tip: Wrap tape around the unknotted end of both ropes for easier threading through the holes.

Level the Shelves
A person inserting a wooden dowel into the rope under the shelves.

Before tying off the rope sections in knots beneath the bottom shelf, make sure the rope slack at the top is about the same for both sections.

Insert Dowels
A person inserting dowels into the rope and checking the level of the shelf.
  • Pierce the rope with the 2-inch dowel pieces beneath each hole of the top two shelves. 
  • Space the height between shelves at your discretion.
  • Check that the shelves are even using a standard level.
Hang the Completed Shelf
A DIY hanging rope shelf on the wall of a bathroom.
  • Hang the shelving from the two slack pieces at the top using a hook of your choosing. 
  • Make sure the hook you select can hold the weight you plan to place on the shelves.

DIY hanging shelves are a great and inexpensive way to add storage and character to a room. Ready to find the best drywall screws and nails for your needs? Use The Home Depot Mobile App to locate products and check inventory.