This is a perfect solution if you are running out of desk space and you want to make a highly customizable unit for your documents and nicknacks.
To build this you will need:
Plywood (enough for 5 1x1ft squares)
A table saw (or any tool for cutting wood)
A drill (or any tool for drilling)
30 ft of strong rope (cotton works well, especially if it has a core)
Shears (or any tool for cutting the rope)
Tape for collecting the frayed ends (or a lighter if using synthetic rope)
A metal rod
A clamp for bending it (or it can be done by hand)
Step 1: Cut Wood
Of course you should feel free to add more shelves or change the size. There are many places throughout the tutorial where you can customize the design, but I will not mention each one. It is really up to your discretion as a maker.
Step 2: Drill Holes
I've placed mine a half inch away from the edge and made the holes 3/8" thick which is just larger than the diameter of the rope I have.
Step 3: Cut Rope to Length
Each shelf is held up by 3 ropes, so you need 3 ropes of 5 different lengths, the difference between them being the height of each shelf.
I've made my shelf 2 ft high, but you need to leave around 4 inches for the knots on either end, so the longest rope is 32 in (24+4+4).
Therefore, I cut the rope into 3 x 32 in, 3 x 27 in, 3 x 22 in, 3 x 17 in, 3 x 12 in.
Step 4: Bend Rod
Step 5: String Rope and Tie Knots
Next, you might find it helpful to put a loop of tape around the end of the rope if the end is fraying and the hole is a tight fit so it will feed through better. Then tie a simple overhand knot, but keep it loose in case you want to make minor adjustments later.
Step 6: Layout
Step 7: Attach the Ropes to the Support Rod
Step 8: Hang It Up and Balance It Out
You may find that it takes some time to get it balanced (if it balances at all), but either way it will be level enough to hold anything with a flat bottom surface.