Running out of room for plants? Make a rope shelf by a window!

IMG_0644 It was a gorgeous summer, and your houseplants have enjoyed their extended stay on sunny porches and decks, stretching their branches and adding new leaves to their foliage. But, as the nights grow colder the need to find the space to keep your plants happy indoors in the pending months may post a challenge. At least, that’s my predicament as I roll into September, and with so few windows in my city rowhouse, it’s time to think outside the planter for some new shelving solutions for my plants.

Believe it or not, this DIY Rope Shelf project took only about 2 hours from start to finish- including the time it takes for the paint to dry. If you’ve got a drill, you’ve got everything you need to create a customized shelf that’s easy to install just about anywhere in your home.

DIY Rope Shelf


  • Power drill
  • Drill bit (for making the pilot holes for your rope; choose a bit that’s slightly larger than the rope)
  • Level & Ruler
  • Roping (we used sisal rope, but feel free to use thick ribbon, strands of yarn, or anything else that can hold weight)
  • Paint or stain
  • Ceiling hooks (we recommend a hook that can hold at least 45lb)


Step 1: Cut your wood to size and drill pilot holes for rope. The example shown is 25’’ long, so we drilled our pilot holes 1 inch in from the edge of the board on both sides.

Step 2: Paint and prep your wood shelves. You can use virtually any color paint, or if you prefer a more natural look, we recommend using stain. Tip: for a more interesting look, paint the edges of the shelf with an eye popping color. Or, use a stencil to create a unique design.

IMG_0639Step 3: Feed the rope through your shelf, tying loose knots where you want the shelves to hang. Cut and measure out 4 lengths of rope. It’s really important to use loose knots, as you’ll no doubt need to readjust slightly when installing the shelves. Tie the ends of the ropes together on each side of the board to create a loop from which you will hang the shelf. Tip: Sisal and jute rope tends to unwind when cut, so taping the end of the rope with electrical or painters tape allows you to feed the rope through the board without fuss.

Step 4: Install the ceiling hooks into your wall. Using a level, mark the spots on the wall where the hooks will be installed, spacing them the same distance as your shelf length. If installing in drywall, install your hooks into a stud or use a heavy weight anchor if installing directly into drywall. Use a concrete anchor if drilling into concrete. When in doubt, ask your local Ace Hardware store for advice on which anchors to use.

IMG_0641Step 5: Hang your shelf and adjust height using a level. Hang the shelf using the loop you made in Step 3. Place a level on each shelf and adjust the knots until your shelf is flat. Start with the top shelf, and then readjust the knots under the bottom shelf to eliminate any slack that may have been created during the adjustments. Voila! Your shelf is complete!

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