Easy Hanging Rope Shelf

Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Do you have a bunch of prints you want to hang but don’t want to commit to framing them or want to make a bunch of holes in your wall?  Well Elsie did, and she asked me to make her some shallow shelving for her prints and photographs. Since the house we work in has all plaster walls, hanging and screwing in shelves is a big hassle. So I decided to make a shelving system that could be hung from only two hooks. This a quick and easy solution which you could be placing stuff on today.

Easy hanging rope shelfSupplies:
-1.5″ x 5/8″ pine furring strips
-1″ x 1/8″ wood strips (which I ripped from 1/8″ hardwood ply, but you can find something similar at the store if you don’t have a table saw)
-rope (I used 3/8″ woven)
-wall hooks
-wood glue
-wood filler (optional)

-miter saw (a hand saw works just as well)
-tape measure
-table saw (optional)
-nailer (optional)

Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Step One: After you figure out where you want these shelves and have your measurements, cut out all the pieces. I made ours 5′ long with five shelves.

Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Step Two: Once I had the pieces cut and sanded, I attached skinny pieces (they act as a lip so things don’t just slide off all willy nilly). I glued and nailed them on, then filled the holes with wood filler. I think just gluing the strips on would have sufficed. It’s not like they’re going to have a huge amount of force against them. After they were attached, I gave each shelf another good sanding, then painted them with a couple coats of glossy white.

Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Step Three: After the paint dried, I measured in an inch on either side, then drilled a hole through. Since the rope was 3/8″ wide, I used a 3/8″ bit.

Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Step Four: This step is probably the hardest, only because I did it by myself. If you have a helping hand (to measure while you hold the rope), it’ll be a breeze. First I wrapped the frayed ends of the rope with painter’s tape so it would slide through the holes easily. Then I started with the bottom shelf by threading the rope through both holes (the rope ran along the bottom) and made sure the rope was equal on both sides. Then I measured up a foot on the rope, marking with a Sharpie, and tied a knot on either end. After that I slid the ends through the second shelf, and then it was just a matter of measuring, marking, knotting, attaching, and repeating till all five shelves were attached. Then I screwed two hooks into the wall and tied the rope ends to them. You could also pre-tie some loops and just slip them over the hooks. Be sure to find studs, or use anchors, and try to get the shelf to hang as close to the wall as possible.

Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) Hanging poster shelf (click to learn more) There you go, easy as 1, 2, 3…4 steps! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. -Josh

Credits // Author Joshua Rhodes. Photography: Joshua and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • I love the look of these shelves, but unfortunately they wouldn’t work in our house (cats and clumsy people) unless over a dresser or such. We even use sticky tack to hold things down–and we don’t live in California!

    Question: I love those hanging terrarium planters! Did you make them? I would love to make (or buy) some plastic ones. Oh, I hope you made them–too cute!

    Thanks For Sharing Such A Great Post

  • such a great idea, really want to give this one ago. Might try to experiment command strips/ hooks to avoid having to screw into the wall completely. Thanks for another super post xxx

  • I am thinking the wood I bought isn’t heavy enough.
    My shelves are not sitting straight against the wall all but one of them are tipping forward making the lip more like the ledge.

    Any thoughts, or advice how to get each shelf to hang against the wall like it’s supposed to?


    Love this idea!

  • Such a clever idea. I love being able to mix and match small photos easily.

  • Loved it seems to be perfect for my workplace many thanks for sharing these wonderful set of pictures too..

  • This is a really great idea and something that is pretty simple to do! I think this is definitely what I’ve been looking for to add to my room. I also really love those hanging glass pots by the way. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • I love the look of these shelves, but unfortunately they wouldn’t work in our house (cats and clumsy people) unless over a dresser or such. We even use sticky tack to hold things down–and we don’t live in California!

    Question: I love those hanging terrarium planters! Did you make them? I would love to make (or buy) some plastic ones. Oh, I hope you made them–too cute!

  • What an amazing idea, I can’t drill into my walls so this is the perfect shelving unit for my new flat!

    Thanks for providing yet another great DIY A Beautiful Mess team, you never disappoint!


  • I love the way this looks! Can you tell me where you got the hanging planters?

  • great idea. I’m also a renter with plaster walls and have discovered nailing isn’t good. Happy to try screws. This is a great idea. Thanks.

  • As I was bringing this up to show my boyfriend as a suggestion for putting up a bunch of photos we framed but never hung, I had an even better idea.

    He paints minis- miniature metal/plastic figurines for use in Dungeons & Dragons type games and has tons of little plastic paint pots about 1″ high by 1/2″(?) diameter each. I think I want to make one of these with many more shelves much closer together so he can display them in all their colorful glory. Eee, I can’t wait to get supplies.

  • Love this idea! I’m constantly changing around the pictures in my room and I’m left with ugly holes in my wall! I definitely have to try this!

  • This is really cool! I take sooo many shots of my kids and this would be a super easy and lovely way to display a good amount of my photos!

  • So cool! Definitely have to try! I’m always changing things in my room and leaving ugly nail marks, this looks like an easy fix. Thanks!

  • This is such a good idea, I love this!

  • This looks awesome. I like the idea to place a lot of pictures on a wall without having to use nails or screws for every frame.

  • This is so sweet! I think I am going to make this myself. :))


  • Wow! Thanks, I love this idea! I’ve been looking for something like this for several months now, but the only thing I could find were too wide shelves that made me drill all the wall 🙁

    I’m not very good with this stuff, but I’ll give it a try :]

  • This is so neat! I looove these shelves! What a cool way to display things and still be able to change it up. Great idea for a project!

  • This is such a brilliant idea! I love how simple and chic it is! I would also love to see it with a little contrast with the rope, maybe a brown jute looking colour! Amazing, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • I looks so good! I always hesitate to hang framed photos because I hate putting a bunch of holes in the wall, but this is a great solution!

  • awesome idea!..like everything else I seem to find here.. great job!
    ..I’m an artist and illustrator so of course my apartment is literally filled with my artwork… and the walls are painted…and the art in general all changes according to my mood so I’m constantly hanging new illustrations and art prints and painting different quotes on my walls, according to what I’m digging at the moment, whether it is sad or joyful or hate.. this just gave me a whole new perspective on décor..

  • I’ve seen something like this on pinterest before and loved the idea! thanks for sharing how to acheive it, looks simpler than I though, Thank God!


  • Hey K, I think if you’re just putting prints and other light weight, papery items it’ll be fine. You can always use command strips to adhere it to the wall.

  • Wow, this is so brilliant and yet simple – a typical “why didn’t I think of this”-thing 🙂
    LOVE your site – just stumbled upon it from Sweden – def coming back!

  • Great shelving option! I can’t wait to try this out. Now if only I could get to printing more pictures…


  • I love this shelves for kid´s books!
    i bought two in ikea, cannot wait to have them in my son´s bedroom ; )


  • I love, love, LOVE these shelves, and the artwork you have displayed on them is wonderful. Pinned to my diy decor board on Pinterest for future reference. Your photos are really great!

  • Thanks for the great tips. Plaster walls really are a big pain, aren’t they? That’s good to know to avoid nailing and use screws instead!

    Hope you have a beautiful day!


    the bbb blogger

  • I was looking forward to this DIY since elsie shared her room, knew that this was a DIY.. just perfect for displaying photos and prints.. have to push my husband to do this one!



  • Such a wonderful project (and it seems pretty doable for those who have a fear of involved project aka me). Thank you so much for writing and sharing this!

  • There’s been over 600 earthquakes in California in the past week alone! Nothing too crazy, but definitely enough to sway the shelves a bit.

  • The shelves didn’t hang away from the walls did they? You didn’t need to secure it at the bottom at all?

  • Oh my gosh how stinking cute is this? I have a bunch of framed records, I wonder if I could sit those on top of these shelves.

  • Love this! It’s be great to cover a blank wall in a more detailed way rather than a picture wall or collage. And you could have little plants on it too!


  • Does the weight of the framed prints not push the shelves away from the wall as they lean against it? It appears in the photo as if it doesn’t but I want to make sure they are not adhered the wall in some other way that prevents that from happening.

    Thank you so much. I definitely want to do this!

  • Love this idea! I have plaster walls too, they’re beautiful, but a pain. I was wondering if leaning so many frames makes the shelves pull away from the wall? I’m always nervous of things falling.

  • I love this idea! Anything to avoid commitment! ;-P
    The Accidental Mama

  • Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been wanting away to put up different art pieces without framing them and this is perfect! <3

  • What a great home DIY project! I love this and will definitely have to give it a try for my home office! XO


  • SO fun! I’ve been loving these home improvement ideas. This one is so simple! Thanks for sharing! I’ve got a small apartment, so this would be a fun addition to any wall!


  • Such a great idea. I’m amazed by your site more and more each day! How do you come up with these wonderful things?!?!? http://meowemily.blogspot.com

  • Erin -my mom swears by Command hanging tabs, which adhere to the walls and don’t leave any marks. But not sure about the weight limit for those!

  • Loving this photography going on! This would be a great idea in a office room of a house!


  • Love this! We live in an apartment and have to be careful about how many holes we are putting in the walls around here. This is such a great way to take advantage of a large space and leave minimal wear on the wall.

    the erie diary

  • These are awesome, but I don’t know how well they’d hold up in California! 😉


  • Hey Morgan, I love LIFE books, good idea! Plaster walls are a big pain. The only advise that I can give first hand, is that screwing into them is no problem, you just want to avoid nailing, because the pounding will jar the plaster.

  • I LOVE this!!! 99% chance I will be doing this in the next 4 weeks. Promise to post pics 🙂
    thank you for the idea. Genius!!

  • This is a really neat idea! From far away, I couldn’t even tell it was a hanging shelf.

  • Hey Kelly, It really is as easy as just screwing into the wall. the lathe is pretty sturdy. I would just avoid putting a bunch of screws in one area (the reason for this idea) because It might compromise the integrity of the plaster. I didn’t pre drill, but it wouldn’t hurt. Just be mindful that the wires could be lurking in the wall!

  • I love this and it’s almost exactly the answer to the prints that have been leaning against my bedroom wall for six
    Months. But! Do you have any thoughts or recommendations for those of is unable to put any holes in our walls at all?

  • Good idea Lindsey. I wanted it to be almost invisible so the prints could shine, but you can make it as colorful as your heart desires.

  • Yes! It’s so easy to make. Remember you can scale it down if you need to.

    • Hey there! Would you sell this to me? I want it, but I don’t have the hand saw etc. I would need to make it!

  • ohhh well this answers my question! i’d asked on elsie’s office update where the shelves were from. i should have guessed they were DIY! i’ll have to see about giving these a try 🙂

  • Love this! I’m going to use these to hang some old LIFE books I got from my grandfather. I’ve been trying to find a way to display them, and this is perfect!

    Also wondering if you could expand on how you screwed the hooks into the wall. I also have plaster and wood lath walls and I’ve had trouble hanging things in the past. Thanks!!

  • this is such a cool idea… very refreshing especially for renters who don’t want to leave the wall looking like swiss cheese.

    can you expand a little more on how you screwed the hooks in the wall? i also have plaster walls and i’m skeptical of how to attach items through plaster to wood lathe. is it as simple as drilling a hole and then screwing in? is there any concern with the “spring” action you sometimes get with wood lathe?


  • This is perfect! I’ve been wanting a floating shelf for ages but reluctant to drill huge holes into my renter walls – two small hooks and all’s solved. Thanks!


  • Josh- I love how detailed you make your projects both in directions and photos, but my favorite part about your posts is how approachable and inviting you are. You always end your posts with an invitation to leave comments or ask questions in such a friendly way.

    Thanks, Josh!


  • Cute! What a good idea too! It’s a little hard to see the shelves since they are white on a white background. I might try these but dye the rope or make each shelf a different color!

  • OK, I am a TOTAL wall hanging commitment-phobe! This is awesome. I also like how this can look minimalist but interesting at the same time. I need to find a wall for this in our little home.

  • I love this! I would love to have this in my home. Great idea, thanks for sharing this Joshua!


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