Suspended Shelving

Introduction: Suspended Shelving

My sister has the dumbest basement: exposed pipes running along most of the walls. If no pipes, cinder block walls prevented hanging any organizational elements so I designed a suspended shelf that could be packed up and shipped to the next house.

You can spend as much as you want on your materials: I garbage-pick when I can, but most of these materials can be purchased pretty cheaply at the hardware store.

My sis found that she could load that shelf up with a ridiculous amount of stuff, the knots just got tighter as the shelves settled. Just a word of caution, suspended things might swing, so plan accordingly.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

This project was born from clutter and wacky plumbing. Carefully consider where you place this shelf. Once constructed, it can only be moved by a) deconstructing or b) cutting. I built this one over some water pipes, but the top shelf does not place pressure on this pipe. ***Don't break your house.***

All of the materials were laying around the basement. I used five sections of closely sized shelving that I rescued from a burn pile.

Shelving of choice (4-5 shelves)

nylon rope, mine was about 1/2" diameter. The length of rope is going to be determined by the space you choose for your shelving. I used about 6 yards for my shelf, but it is one piece (when disassembled, I'll have a nice long nylon rope).

Drill, with selection of drill bits, 1/2" drill bit (or slightly bigger than your rope) for the shelves

(2) heavy duty threaded eye-hooks (you'll want a bit slightly smaller than your eye-hook to anchor into the stud)

(2) 1" cinch rings

Step 2: Prep and Assembly

Drill a 1/2" hole into each corner of each shelf. You can be really particular about measuring but the beauty of this design is that it doesn't need to be perfect. Measure the distance between the holes in the TOP shelf: use this measurement for placing your eye-hooks. It is imperative to sink your eye-hooks into a stud. Pre-drill the holes for the eye-hooks and screw them into the stud.

Once your holes are done, you can start threading your rope. Since everything is held in place by a series of knots, this is the most complicated part of the project. Cutting the rope into two equal lengths will make this part way easier, but then again, are two short ropes in the future better than one long one? IDK, but I took the longer road on this one.

Using one long rope:

1. thread the rope from the underside of the bottom shelf longways, so that it runs along the underside of the board. Make sure you have equal lengths coming from each end of the shelf.

2. measure up about 12" and make a knot in each rope. This knot will hold the next shelf, so the distance between them is your call. I actually made mine about 18" so I could fit bigger things.

3. once you have your knots, thread on the next board. Do this until you reach the top shelf. Slip a cinch ring onto each rope.

4. at this point, you'll need a buddy to hold the shelf up while you work. Thread the rope through the eye-hooks, and back through the cinch ring. This is the point where you are committing to the height of your shelf: when you're satisfied with the total height of your shelving, cinch the cinch rings down completely.

You SHOULD be able to let go of the shelf at this point and it will hang on its lonesome, with each shelf just kinda hanging down like shutters or something.

Step 3: Completing the Assembly

If your shelf doesn't come crashing down, you can start threading the rope through the shelving, knotting as you go. The ends of the rope are knotted below the bottom shelf. I razed the ends with a lighter to keep them from fraying. Done.

*** I found that my shelves were super crooked at first. I tightened up some knots, loosened others, and with a little weight, they evened out beautifully. ***

If you decide to go with two ropes, you'll start at the top of the shelving and need the buddy sooner.

1. Thread one rope through each eye-hook, keeping the lengths equal.

2. Thread both ends of each rope through the cinch ring, slide up to the eye-hook, and cinch down.

3. You'll have four lengths of rope dangling at this point. With the help of your buddy, begin by threading on the top shelf and knotting underneath to hold in place. Continue with each shelf, all the way to the bottom.

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