I’m so excited to show off today’s DIY throw pillow storage solution – mainly because it’s both pretty and functional – but ESPECIALLY because it’s so easy and what an impact!

Remember this corner of my basement?

I made up the paper art piece to try to fill a gap above our workout storage unit (formerly TV stand that I haven’t moved out of the room yet) – but it wasn’t enough.  Not big enough, no impact – just sort of stop-gap until some better idea came along.  (I think the ceiling hook is leftover from a toy storage hammock or something?)

Well, a problem arose when putting away my Christmas decorations – actually, the problem has existed long before that, but it didn’t irritate me until now – I have too many throw pillows.

Or rather, I have the perfect amount of throw pillows, but I have nowhere to store them when they are out-of-season.

I found a beautiful photo on Pinterest where a store (ahem, Restoration Hardware) had created rope shelves to display some of their throw pillows …

the heavens opened and angels wept…..  you get the idea.

I needed some DIY rope shelves for my throw pillow storage.

After pricing out a few alternatives, I found the least expensive way to build my dream shelving was to go with a 1×16″ piece of melamine.

I know, I love wood – but to buy a board at 16″ wide is a bit pricey, then I’d have to stain, varnish etc.  The wood alone would have come in at around $49.  I bought this gorgeous grey melamine 5/8″ x 16″ x 97″ for $27.99 with very little finishing required!

Grey melamine, melamine shelf

There are a few downsides to melamine however; one being that it is difficult to cut or drill without chipping the melamine surface.

I YouTubed a few videos (yup, that’s a verb much like “Googled”) and it was suggested that 1. you use a saw blade with a lot of teeth (it will have it written on the face of your blade), 2. you should cut with slow, even pressure and 3. you should tape off with masking tape before you cut.

Well, I don’t know how to change my table saw blade out and my mitre saw which does have 80 teeth, is too short to cut through a 16″ board in one swoop – so all that was left was to tape off and hope for the best.

I marked off where I wanted to cut – in my case 32″ shelves to get the most out of my 97″ board – covered over the markings with tape and pressed it firmly into place on BOTH sides of the board, then marked my cutting line again on the tape.

I ran it slowly and carefully through my table saw and….

PERFECTION!  No melamine chips whatsoever!  (or if they are they are too small for my eyes to see).

Drilling was another dilemma though…

The Youtuber suggested I buy a special bit – but let’s be honest, if I’m trying to cheap down my project by using melamine, I’m not really going to go out and buy a special (and expensive) drill bit to drill through it.

Instead, I taped the board where I planned to drill through (both sides), then I clamped a piece of scrap wood to the top and the bottom of the melamine board.  Having these boards in place won’t eliminate chipping, but it will cut the amount of it considerably.

Drilling through melamine, cutting melamine

I used the same top board for each hole, thinking that it would make sure all of my holes were even – and it did – but, by not having a fresh board to add pressure to the melamine in the spot where I wanted to drill, it did leave room for a bit more chipping.

Cutting melamine, drilling through melamine

You can see above that the edge is just about perfect, but the hole does show some chips.

Not to worry though – rope is going through the hole and then the rope shelves will be covered with throw pillows, so for my purposes this was not a big deal.

The rope – I forgot to mention about the rope….  the thickest rope I could find in my neck of the woods was 5/8″ sisal.  There were all kinds of synthetic and nylon ropes available in varying thicknesses, but I wanted the rustic look of real rope.  One spool of 5/8″ sisal rope at 50 ft long came in at $9.49 and was more than enough for this project.

Once you know the thickness of your rope, you drill your holes at 1/8″ larger – enough to thread the rope easily, but not enough that a knot will slip through.  In my case, that meant drilling with a 3/4″ spade bit.

I’m not sure what these hooks are called (Hubby picked them up for me), but you will need two with a loop large enough to easily thread your 5/8″ rope through.  Drill into the studs in either your wall or ceiling using 2 1/2″ – 3″ wood screws.  Because I had already drilled the holes in my melamine boards, we drilled the hooks into the ceiling studs so as not to have to use wall anchors (my boards are 32″ long and therefore wouldn’t line up with wall studs).

From here you’ll thread your rope through each hook, with even lengths on both sides.  Better to leave long tails on the ropes so you’ll have enough length to tie off knots at each shelf height.  My sisal rope hung from the ceiling to just a tad longer than the floor and this was more than enough for 4 rope shelves.

Thread your rope through the ‘good’ side of your melamine shelf.  Determine the height you want your top shelf to hang at and pinch the rope with your finger.  Now tie a knot and wiggle it up until it reaches where your finger is pinching.

Add a level to your shelf and repeat on the remaining three sides.  This does need some head balancing here if you don’t have a second set of hands to help.

Throw pillow storage, DIY rope shelves, rope shelf, throw pillow organization, organizing throw pillows

You may have to wiggle and jiggle your knots a bit to get everything level, but I found the pinch technique the best way to get it on the first try.

Throw pillow storage, DIY rope shelves, rope shelf, throw pillow organization, organizing throw pillows

Once your first shelf is in place, thread the second board and decide on spacing for it – then repeat your knots.

Throw pillow storage, DIY rope shelves, rope shelf, throw pillow organization, organizing throw pillows

Over time you will probably have to adjust your knots; the rope will stretch differently depending on the weight of the items on each side of the shelf.

That’s it!  All that’s left to do is style your shelves and set them up for your throw pillow storage!

Throw pillow storage, DIY rope shelves, rope shelf, throw pillow organization, organizing throw pillows

I did not cut a fourth shelf and take my throw pillow storage to the floor; 1. because I didn’t want to buy another board and have 5 feet of waste and 2. because I had this neat storage basket to fit underneath.

Throw pillow storage, DIY rope shelves, rope shelf, throw pillow organization, organizing throw pillows

These are just the throw pillows that are not in use at the moment – extras that came with the sofas, ones for the front porch and bedroom…. if I’m being honest, this is less than half of all the throw pillows in the house – but the rope shelving will easily hold another 6 or so.

Throw pillow storage, DIY rope shelves, rope shelf, throw pillow organization, organizing throw pillows

My throw pillow storage / DIY rope shelving is tucked nicely out-of-the-way, and is a pretty way to both organize and decorate your home.

Throw pillow storage, DIY rope shelves, rope shelf, throw pillow organization, organizing throw pillows

I may go back and paint the edges of the melamine boards in a matching grey (they didn’t have veneer in the same colour) – but for now I’m so pleased with my new throw pillow storage!

Throw pillow storage, DIY rope shelves, rope shelf, throw pillow organization, organizing throw pillows

Throw pillow storage / DIY rope shelving:

  • 5/8″ sisal rope (50 ft)  $9.49
  • 5/8″ x 16″ x 8′ grey melamine  $27.99
  • two hooks  $11.98
  • $49.46 and less than two hours of time.

Throw pillow storage, DIY rope shelves, rope shelf, throw pillow organization, organizing throw pillows

I love it!

You may see this in a future post titled “Desk organization”. lol

Have a great one!

Too funny

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