How to build a hanging plant shelf

When I first moved into my home (12 years ago!), the living room came with white faux wood blinds cut to size.

I kept these blinds until last year when I took up gardening and my backyard turned into something I actually wanted to look at.

Because of my outside gardening and because my sister had taking up indoor plants at her home, I realized that I had so much unused window space. With the blinds gone, it opened up a whole new world for plants!

I searched Pinterest and Etsy and came across a hanging shelf that I loved. However, I couldn’t afford to buy it. I looked at the picture and figured I would give it a shot making it myself.

I worked with my Dad and the associates at Home Depot and figured out a design that could work. See below for the instructions. I didn’t take pictures of all the steps so I’ll try to explain the best I can!


Note: The length of the wood you need will depend on the space you are building the shelf for, how many levels you want on the hanging rope and how many shelves you are building. The measurements below are for the shelf I built for myself.

  • 1- 1x6x10 pine board (cut into 4 – 29.5″ pieces)
  • 1 roll of 1/2″ X 50′ twisted sisal rope (heavy duty)
  • 2- screw eye hooks (length will depend what you have to screw through to get to the wood beam you’re screwing into. For mine, I had to screw through 1/2″ moulding, 3/4″ drywall and then at least 3″ into the wood above the frame)
  • Wood stain
  • Old rag or foam brush for applying the stain
  • Rubber gloves to wear while applying the stain

Tools needed:

  • Circular saw or mitre saw (to cut boards)
  • Electric sander or sand paper (to smooth the edges of the cut boards; not necessary but personal preference for me)
  • Drill
  • 1/2″ drill bit (you could also use a 1/2″ spade bit- I think I would try using the spade bit if I ever made these again)
  • 1/4″ drill bit (to drill a pilot hole for the eye hook)
  • Screwdriver (to screw in the eye hook – trust me on this; I will link a video below)
  • Measuring tape
  • Level


  1. Start by cutting your board into 4 pieces. Mine were 29.5″ each in length. Remember to cut one piece at a time – don’t mark them all out beforehand. I’ve done this in the past and didn’t account for the 1/4″ that the saw blade takes away!
  2. I prefer a more rounded edge, so use your sander to round the edges.
  3. Measure a point 1/2″ from each side of the corner (see diagram below). This is where you will drill the holes for the twine to feed through.
  4. Drill the holes. I found it easiest to drill halfway down and then flip over and drill from the other side.
  1. Stain the top sides and end of the boards. Let dry. Repeat depending on how deep you want your stain to be.
  2. Once you’ve achieved your desired look, flip over and do the same on the underside. Your shelves are now ready!
  1. Determine where your screw eye hooks are going to be installed. Right above your window should be a stud that frames your window. It’s the perfect spot for your eye hook.
  2. Drill a pilot hole at least an 1″ into the stud (so through the moulding and the drywall) for the eye hook.
  3. Using your fingers, screw the eye hook in so that it’s part way in. I used the old school method of using a screw driver as a lever but afterwards, found this amazing video on how to use a drill instead. I would absolutely do this next time!
  1. Take your twine and feed it through one of the eye hooks. Be very generous with this amount – keeping in mind that you’ll be doing 4 knots just on this one side.
  2. Measure the same length for the other side and leave them both hanging.
  3. Take one of the boards and feed it down through the left back corner. At your desired length, tie a knot underneath the board.
  4. Do the same for the left front corner, making sure the same amount of rope is used on each side.
  5. Now it’s time to line up the right side. It’s easier if you have someone else to help you to hold the level while you tie the knot under the boards just to be sure it’s straight.
  6. Repeat again for the second shelf.
  1. If you’re doing more than one hanging plant shelf, repeat steps 7-15.
  2. When you’re all done, cut the hanging pieces of twine.
  3. Put your plants on the shelves and watch them flourish!

This is when I first installed the shelves.

And now….I have a *little* bit of plant addiction!!

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