How to Make a Simple, DIY Rope Shelf

Front view of a hanging rope shelf

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Yield: 1
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $30-50

Wall-mounted shelves are a great storage solution that frees up your floor space and they're perfect for displaying your favorite items in a way that catches your visitors' eye. Sometimes store-bought shelves are too boring, too expensive, or just don't fit in your room the way you want them to—a DIY project will give you more control over the aesthetic of your space. If this sounds like you, you're in luck with this simple DIY rope shelf. With numerous possibilities for shelf width, length, and color, this project is sure to tie any room in your home together.

Additionally, who doesn't love an easy project to add some texture and personality to their home? This rope shelf consists of three major components: the length of rope, equal-sized pieces of wood (three to four are best for this project, but more can be added in depending on the strength of your wall mount and rope), and wooden dowels for extra support—gather your supplies and get started on these few simple steps for creating a DIY rope shelf.


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What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape Measure
  • Drill
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Hammer
  • Scissors


  • Equal-sized pieces of wood
  • Nylon Rope
  • Paint or Wood Stain (optional)
  • Sanding Paper or Sponge (optional)
  • Wood Dowel
  • Hook
  • Nails


Materials needed to build a rope shelf

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  1. Measure, Mark, and Drill Your Holes

    Having equal-sized pieces of wood is key to making this shelf balanced. Using a tape measure, pencil, and drill, place two holes on either end of each slab of wood. Depending on the thickness of your rope, you may have to make your holes larger, so keep that in mind when measuring how far apart you want them to be. For more stability, drill your holes closer to the edges of the wood rather than the center to prevent wobbling when you place heavier items on it.


    To account for mistakes such as splitting when drilling, keep one or two extra planks of wood on hand.

    Marking the hole where to drill

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Paint or Stain Your Wood (Optional)

    Here's a fully customizable part of this DIY project. Not enjoying the color of your wood? Want to add a little bit more brightness and flair? Change your wood's appearance by staining it with an indoor wood stain or painting it with matte-finish paint. If this look isn't enough for you, try using sandpaper to weather the wood for a more rustic look.

    Person staining a plank of wood

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Thread the Rope

    Nylon rope is recommended for this project because it is stronger than manila and polypropylene. Cut your rope to your desired length—make sure to leave extra length for knots underneath each shelf. Now that your wood is fully prepared, it's time to thread the rope. Thread the rope upwards through the frontmost holes on the right side, and downwards through the frontmost holes on the left side (or vice versa).

    Repeat this step for the holes in the back of your wood as well. The goal here is even weight distribution and security. Threading the rope this way ensures that the top of your rope shelf, where the rope will hang from the hook, will be a stable portion of the rope and not a knot. However, knots in the rope will be at the bottom of your creation, supporting the weight of your bottommost shelf.

    Threading the rope through the hole in the shelf

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. Tie It Off and Add Dowels

    Once you're satisfied with the slack and distance between shelves, tie a knot in the rope under each shelf. The knot doesn't need to be fancy—you could add a bit of flair with a bowline knot if that suits you. However, it does need to be sturdy, so make sure your knots are strong enough for not only supporting the shelf but all the items you plan on putting on it.

    If you plan on placing a plant on a shelf, don't be afraid to double-knot it. Once you're satisfied with your knots, level it off and add wooden dowels for extra support. Don't forget to cut off the excess rope at the ends.

    Adding dowels to the rope knots

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  5. Hang and Style Your Shelf

    It's time for the fun part! Hang your newly constructed rope shelf on a wall hook and start decorating. Grab photos, plants, statues, or anything your heart desires to make this DIY project come to life!

    Person styling the rope shelf

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic