For this month’s craft night with the ladies, I wanted to make something functional and decorative. I saw someone selling a set of wooden hanging shelves and figured it would be the perfect home decor to replicate. After reading several blogs explaining different methods and styles to make, I decided to take on the adventure through a little trial and error.
Given the right tools, this is such a simple and adorable craft to make for your home. I only made one myself, but I am highly considering a second (or third… or fourth…) now to complete my set.
The supplies you’ll need for this are:
- Piece of wood for the shelf itself (used 4.5 inch wide by .75 inch thick wood from Home Depot cut to make 16″ long shelves)
- Power drill
- Drill bit for putting holes into the wood (I used a brad-point bit to help with more precise drilling into the wood)
- Steel ring (I used 2″)
- Sand paper (I used 120 grit)
- Wood stain
- Paint brush for the wood stain
When I picked up the wood at Home Depot, I had them cut the long board of 3/4 inch thick by 4 1/2 wide board into multiple 16 inch long pieces for each lady coming to craft night. If you don’t have a saw at home, don’t worry! Home Depot can cut your wood for you at the store. You will have to pay for the entire board though, even if you only need one-16″ piece. Keep that in mind when picking out your wood at the store.
I also picked up the stain, paint brushes and sand paper at Home Depot. Also, make sure you have the right drill bit for your drill before leaving the store. I like using the brad-point bits as they have a pointed end that helps for more precise drilling (for those of us that tend to be clumsy). I find the cheap small paintbrushes to work perfectly fine, even at $1.50 or less a piece. I do usually throw them out after I use them for a project, as I find them difficult to clean back to good working condition without losing a lot of bristles (at least with the cheap ones).
The first step is to measure out where you want your holes to be. I found that whichever flat part of the wood was where the drill bit popped out of, I got a little bit of wood chipping away. For that reason you want to make your markings on the side people will see. You’ll be starting to drill through the side you make the markings, so consider that your “good side.” You’ll be able to erase the pencil marks, so don’t worry about that!
I positioned the center of my holes 3/4 an inch in on each corner. You’ll need 4 holes total, one on each corner of the board. This is where the chording will get strung through. (See the above diagram for clarification.) To do this, I used a ruler and marked 3/4 inch in on each side of the long side of the board with pencil. I then took the straight edge of the ruler and drew a line across the board to help in positioning the holes. Using that line, I marked 3/4 inch in on the line itself on either side with an “X”. This perfectly positioned the holes 3/4 inch in coming from either side of the wood. Repeat this for the other side of the wood as well.
Now it’s time to drill! You want to drill a hole slightly bigger than your chording, but ensure that when you tie a knot at the bottom of the string, the knot will hold the chording from slipping through. My chord was 4mm in thickness and I used 1/4 inch thick drill bit. Using the spots you marked on the board, drill 4 holes through the wood going all the way through the wood each time. This is where it is important to have the right drill bit, making sure its meant to go through wood. I recommend the brad-point bit as it allows for more precision.
Once the holes are completed, use your sand paper to sand out any rough edges along the sides, in the wood itself and where you drilled the holes. If you can, do this outdoors to reduce the amount of sand dust all over your house.
Using your paint brush and stain, paint one side of the wood, ensuring you get all edges and sides as well. Don’t over stain! If you want more color, plan to do a second coat. Also, be mindful that the brush tends to splatter the stain, so wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and put down plastic if you can. Plastic drop cloth is very cheap at Home Depot and a great way to contain the mess.
While one side of your board dries, you can start working on the chording. I chose to make my board hang down about 20 inches (give or take after tying it to the hoop and tying knots at the bottom to hold it in place). You can make it shorter or longer depending on your desired look and style. Whatever approximate length you want it to hang at after accounting for the knots, double it. To do this, I cut 2 – 40 inch long strips of chord. I purchased the chord at Hobby Lobby. The type of chording you us is up to you, but you will want to ensure it’s thick and sturdy enough to hold items on the shelf.
Pictures help better in explaining the next process, so be sure to take a look at the corresponding photos. Take your two chords and match up the ends. Find the middle of the two, matched up pieces of chording, and bend the two chords together in half there creating a loop.
Pull the loop over and through the hoop, so it bends over the edge of the steel ring.
Take the four strands of the chording and pull through your loop you made. This will tie the 2 strings to the hoop and create 4 dangling strands. These are the strands that will go through the holes you created on the board. Don’t tighten the knot too much as this will allow you some wiggle room in balancing the shelf once you are ready to test it by hanging it. If you tighten it too much, don’t worry you can almost loosen it.
Wait until your stained board is dry. If you can, and for the purposes of avoiding getting stained fingers, try to wait overnight. For our craft night, we use hair dryers to help speed up the process, but the boards will still be slightly wet, so a mess is guaranteed. Once it’s dry enough to touch, you can start stringing the chording through.
Tape comes in handy, depending on your type of chording, to get the string through easily. I use a tiny bit of tape on the very tip of the chording and wrap it around to resemble the end of a shoe string. Avoid putting the tape up too high onto the chording, because sticky duct tape may be tough to pull off the string. I found it easier to just use that on the edge of the string I was willing to cut off to avoid having to try to peel off the tape later. Once all four edges of the string are taped up, it’s time to begin pulling it through and tying your knots.
Looking at the hoop, divide the chording into two – so that two pieces of chord go to each side of the board. I looked at where the string naturally hung and divvied it up that way. Push the shoe-string like tip of each chord through its respective hole. Don’t worry about length yet as this can be adjusted, but try your best to keep things even. I tied two overhand knots at the end of each chord to hold the chord in place, preventing it from slipping back through the holes. You may need to adjust this based on the size of your holes and the chording you purchased.
You want to stay consistent in how much chord you leave at the end, but some wiggle room is okay as you will be able to level the board when you hang and tighten the top knot during the leveling process. This means you should aim to tie the end of the chord using about the same amount of chording each time. I used about an inch to an inch and a half for each corner.
Once all of the knots are tied, snip off the ends of the chords and hang the shelf on a nail for the leveling. Gently push down on the board to make it level on all sides. Doing this will also tighten the top knot on the steel hoop. If you’re having trouble leveling it, loosen up the top knot on the steel hoop and try to level again. Once leveled, gently place your items for display and enjoy!