10 Smart Household Uses for Rope

By Paul Michael on 11 November 2015 0 comments

Thick or thin, long or short, nylon or sisal, there are a seemingly endless number of rope varieties available to you these days. Although we all know the most common uses of rope, particularly in sailing, trucking, and other industrial applications, there are some wonderful ways to use rope around the home. Here are 10 of my favorites.

1. The Rope Tire Ottoman

There are several variations of this one floating around on the Internet, and I myself opted for the small side-table version for my bedroom. But depending on the tire, the type of rope, and the other materials involved, this could be good for any room in the house. If you find a really big tire, it could even work as a big table for the man cave.

You can read the complete instructions here, but the basic steps are very simple. Take an old tire (or a new one if you're feeling flush), and wrap a long length of rope around and around the tire until it is completely covered. Apply hot glue as you're winding. Then top with the material and finish of your choice. Very easy, super-stylish, and a fun craft project. (See also: 12 Smart Uses for Safety Pins)

2. Rope Shelving

A rope shelf can be as simple as two lengths of rope holding a shelf to the wall, like this example here. I like this because it literally takes about 30 minutes of your time, from cutting the holes to hanging the finished shelf. If you're feeling more adventurous, add several shelves and hang them from something simple, like an old pipe of pipe. This version is over $300 at Restoration Hardware. You can do the same yourself for less than $50, and all you need to do is learn how to tie the hangman's knot (which you can do right here). Go for it, and make a stunning set of shelves quickly, and easily.

3. Rope Rugs

With a length of rope, some glue, and a little patience, you can create a study rug for your entrance in no time at all. This Instructables project will show you the most simple rope rug to create, and it really is easy as pie. If you are feeling like you could go beyond that simple spiral design, try this one over at SuperTopo. It's a real tied rope rug, and requires no glue or cardboard. However, it does need an awful lot more skill and patience, as the author states it takes about two hours from start to finish. It also makes a fabulous gift.

You should also check out Martha Stewart's very easy-to-follow instructions for a braided rug, right here.

4. A Floating Bed

Be warned — this is not for anyone dabbling in DIY. If you don't do this correctly, it could lead to some expensive repairs, and possibly some pretty nasty injuries. Having said that, do it right and it's a terrific way to raise the bed off the floor in a stunning and eye-catching way. The most important part to get right is securing the ropes from joists in the ceiling, and making sure the knots tied on each end are very secure. This video gives you a great insight into the process.

5. A Thick Rope Handrail

Here's a great way to give your simple staircase some personality. All you need is a large length of thick rope, preferable in a material that is not too coarse, and some brackets. StairRopes has a lot of ideas and materials for this kind of project. You could buy directly from them, or use materials you have at home, or that you find in the local hardware stores. One of the things you will need to master is the "manrope knot," which is used to give the handrail a beautiful, ornamental finish. You can see it being tied right here. And by the way, the Manrope Knot is also a great door handle.

6. A Rope Wall

How do you create a room divider that gives someone a semi-private area in which to work, or relax, and at the same time keep the natural light flowing throughout the home? Well, one of the best ways I have ever seen is the rope room divider. The Brick House has detailed instructions, but all you really need to do is build a series of long wooden boxes to house the top and bottom of the walls, and a lot of rope. Then, drill holes in the boxes, evenly along the length, and thread ropes between them, tying a very simple knot at each end. The tricky part is getting the ropes to hang evenly spaced, and taut. But get it right, and it will definitely be a talking point.

7. A Refined Cat Scratching Post

As the owner of two cats, I have gone out of my way to find projects that can help me create cat furniture that is not an eyesore. I don't know about you, but the cat trees available at most pet stores are horribly over-priced, and just as gaudy. DreamALittleBigger was my first port of call. I used a piece of carpet that I actually liked, and 100 feet of sisal rope (never use synthetic for a cat). You can read the instructions here. Once you master a simple post, do a search for some more complicated trees that used sisal rope.

8. Rope Letters

When my second child was born, I bought wooden letters spelling out her name, painted them, and hung them in the nursery. These letters were quite expensive. But, had I known about rope letters, I could have achieved the same result on a much lower budget. All you need is a length of rope in the color and thickness of your choosing (jute is good), and some Elmer's glue and cornstarch. Lovegrowswild has a great tutorial for beginners. Give it a try. There is also a variation that uses hot glue and foam core.

9. A Rope Chair

If you were to see this particular chair in a trendy lawyer's office, you'd think, wow, that must have cost a fortune. And you'd be right. That one is very expensive, BUT you can make your own for almost nothing in comparison. With just 50 feet of ½" thick rope (any color), some plywood, threaded bars, and a few other bits and pieces, you can do it yourself and create something that is both comfortable, and stylish. Katie Cordeal's video shows you the step-by-step instructions right here.

10. Rope Mirror Frames

If you have some of those standard frameless mirrors that come with the houses, you don't have to replace them with expensive ones from the store. You can create stunning frames using a variety of different ropes, with different colors and textures. I framed my half-bath oval mirror with black rope, gluing it to the edge with hot glue, and doing it three times to give it some definition. You can choose large untreated sisal rope, or small rope that is 15-20 layers deep, like this one. Martha Stewart also has a great tutorial for beginners.

What else have you made with rope? Let us know in the comments below!

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