How to Make a Rope Swing Shelf

by Allie Merrill


If you want a quick and easy project that pays off in good looks, this is the one for you. I built this in about thirty minutes!


5/4 x 6″ board

You can use whichever size board you prefer, but since I was planning in putting towel hooks on the bottom, I wanted something a bit sturdier. Going with a 1×6 would save you a few dollars, but would give you a little less strength.

Wood Stain

The stain color I used is called Kona by Varathane. For the purpose of a shelf that won’t have much wear and tear, almost anything should do. If you want some help with applying wood stain, check out our post!


Don’t underestimate your need for rags! I scrambled to make mine out of an old t shirt, but when applying stain, it’s nice to have a few lying around.

1/4″ Rope

This is also a personal preference, but again, think of your uses and how much weight it will need to hold. I went with a rustic rope, but you can find so many different kinds to fit your own style!


Prices are approximate, and only parts of each product were used.
There was so much stain and rope left, that I can use those for many other projects to come.

Wood: $10
Wood stain (1 quart): $9
Rope (50ft roll): $9

Total: $28

Step 1

Measure your hole placement. This is personal preference, just allow enough room for your rope to go through without getting too close to the edge.

Step 2

Drill all holes with a spade bit ¾ way through the board, just until tip of bit pokes through the other side. Don’t drill all the way through, or the other side will splinter at the opening. Turn board over and complete drilling process. 

Step 3

Apply stain. For a distressed look, you can sand your board before and after stain for rounded edges.  [Check out this article on how to apply stain properly]

Step 4

Insert hooks. If you want to add hooks to your shelf, just measure the length of your shelf, and divide that number by one more than the total amount of hooks you want to use. For example, if you have five hooks, divide the length of the board by six so you have five placements total. Make a mark at each spot, and screw in the hooks so that they all end up facing the same direction. 

Step 5

Attach rope. Cut rope to desired length, and put ends through holes. Cut your rope a bit longer than you want to give you room to tie a knot and even out both sides. Tie a cute knot on the end to add the finishing touch!

There are a few different ways you can attach the rope, as you can see from the cover photo and gallery below. 

You’re done!

Super easy, and it will make you feel like a woodworking rockstar. If you’re a beginner, it’s good to choose a project like this to get your foot in the door to the craftsman world.

ALTERNATIVE USE: I lovingly call this the rope swing shelf because if you wanted to use it as a rope swing instead, all you would need is to up your commitment level to a stronger board and rope. Check out this article from Handyman How To for more detailed (and safe!) instructions.