Roping in Some Shelves

So last time I left off with what I fancied as a cryptic photo of another bedroom project. CAN YOU HANDLE THE SUSPENSE??

A refresher:

Zoom out a little, and BOOM. Rope Shelves.

I decided we needed some shelving somewhere in the bedroom to display knick knacks, and after brainstorming with the husband and going through various options, such as floating shelves (too hard to build), and bracketed shelves (take up too much visual space) we settled on making this Pinterest inspiration our own:

The Nate Show via Pinterest via

They were the perfect solution because 1) fewer holes in the wall, 2) easy peasy to make, and 3) cheap! How can you say no to that trifecta? We started with the proper lengths of 2×12 and I sanded them with the random orbital sander using 2 successively finer grits (hmm…probably 60 and 300? Again, this was PB – pre-blogging – so I wasn’t the, ahem, journalist I am now). Then, M drilled four 1/2” holes (using a spade bit) on each board, two on each side about 2 inches in from the end, kind of like this low-budget powerpoint mock-up of the plan view:

After staining with Minwax English Chestnut and sealing with Minwax Wipe-On Satin Poly, began the rope work. I estimated the space I wanted between each shelf (if I recall, about 18 inches) and started the trial and error of knotting and re-knotting and re-knotting again (x~53). I made sure the bottom shelf would hang high enough to allow our TV to sit on the dresser underneath and calculated upward from there. There was a lot of finagling and balancing the boards upright with my toesies as I measured rope lengths. I do my best DIY in sweatpants.

I threaded each length of natural jute rope (from Homey Deeps) up through a hole in the board, measured approximately and made a simple knot, then threaded it up through the next board. At the top, I tied a butterfly knot

and then repeated the process down the other hole on the same side of the board. Rinse and repeat for the other side of the boards.

Meanwhile, M had been devising an anchoring system for the rope shelves to hang on. Because we live in an ancient and piecemeal house, our studs are nowhere near the normal 16” on center. Consequently, he decided to screw a 1×4 scrap to the studs we could find at the top of the wall. (Side note: Whenever it comes to hanging something load bearing, I always defer to Mike. I have no time for finding things like studs and have the broken artwork to prove it.) We then caulked the seams and painted the whole schmear with the wall color (Benjamin Moore Newburg Green) for a seamless enough finish. Then, we screwed in two large stainless hooks at the appropriate distances and we were in business for shelf hanging. You can see the pre-painted anchor board at the top of this stunningly bad pic:

And the painted version here:

Ugh, if you could only have seen the first go at hanging the shelves. (I can’t wait to start blogging current projects. I am a pic maniac now!) The shelves would have looked perfectly at home in the carnival fun house. But with a little lifting and knot adjustment, we were in business!

The only issue left to take care of was the raw ends at the bottom of the shelves. Lucky for me, M has some knot know-how, he was On the Mayflower, after all. Click the link if you don’t believe me ;)

Yes, that really is him

So he ‘whipped the line’ with some  yellow string we had left over from the wedding to prevent any fraying. Parfait!

Then all that was left was to accessorize those babies…it’s still a work in progress, and accessorizing is not exactly my strong suit. Sometimes I feel weird just displaying things for display sake (“Why yes, that is a moss covered Styrofoam ball, doesn’t it just make the most stunning vignette?”), so I try to use things that are at least marginally meaningful to us. Anyway, here is how the shelves look today:

And much to fishy’s delight (on the bottom left), the shelves have hung tight. Anyone else made a Pinterest project their own?

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. Lizzie

     /  January 6, 2012

    Those shelves are truly amazing, and best of all so unique and totally match the decor with the rest of your folksy theme. Great teamwork!

  2. Love how your rope shelves turned out!! So awesome!! I featured them tonight!

  3. Hi, saw these on the Nate show and I liked them . seeing them done and placed in a real home, looks great. I’m thinking of using these in my Bugalow, trying to do a cottage (Florida look) I’m nowhere near water, but do live in fl. Did a great job.

    • Thanks so much! I think they’d go great in a cottage style house, totally understated but interesting and functional. I’d love to see your finished project, feel free to link a pic when you’re finished!

  4. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple,
    yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appearance. I must say you have done a excellent job with this. Additionally, the blog loads super fast for me on Chrome. Outstanding Blog!

    • Thanks so much! I really appreciate it and am glad you find it an effective theme. Exactly my intention!! :)

  5. I am really inspired along with your writing abilities as well as with the structure
    to your blog. Is this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself?

    Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing,
    it’s uncommon to peer a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

  1. Then & Now: Bed Side « Folksy Home
  2. Upgrading from Cardboard to Wood: A Seed Packet Storage Box « Folksy Home
  3. A Year of Blogging! « Folksy Home

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

%d bloggers like this: