Thank you all so much for the encouraging and sweet comments about Knox’s big boy room! Today I wanted to share how I made the rope hangers for the photo wall above his dresser. It turned out to be much easier than I originally made it out to be so I’ll tell you what to do as well as what not to do.
I knew I wanted to do some kind of art or photos over Knox’s dresser. With the map mural taking up the largest wall in the room and the wall near the bed being for books, over the dresser was pretty much the only spot left for art.
I can’t take credit for this idea as I originally saw it about a year ago at the Restoration Hardware Kid‘s floor (aka, heaven) on Newbury Street. I must have stared at this thing for a good 5 minutes, taking photos from every angle. At the time I had no idea if or when I’d ever be able to use such an arrangement but as my iPhone will attest, I take A LOT of pictures (like 700 every 4 weeks according to my recent download) of generally pretty or inspiring things that I want to reference later. This was one of those things that stuck in my brain and when Knox’s room took a turn toward the nautical direction it popped back up like “OH! REMEMBER THAT?”
Here are the materials I collected for the project.
1″ Manilla rope (Home Depot sells Manilla rope but mine only had 1/2″ which wasn’t thick enough for me)
Ribba frames (I used 8x10s in medium brown)
Hot glue gun & rubber bands
Nails, tape measure & a serrated knife (not pictured)
The first thing you need to figure out is how much rope you need. I knew based on my ceiling height that I wanted the overall rope height to be about 55″. I added another 10″ or so to allot for the knot at the end (which eats up a good foot of rope). I then doubled that number (for the left and right side of each rope hanger) and came up with 10′. Based on the width of my frames, I knew I had room for 3 rows of hangers so I ordered 35′ of rope (extra just to be safe).
I found the best way to cut the rope was to use a serrated knife (a bread knife works great). It will make quite a mess but sawing back and forth like this worked great for me. After I divided my rope into 3 equal parts (1 for each hanger) I folded it in half to find the center. Leaving a loop at the top, I added a bunch of hot glue and a rubber band to glue the loop end.
I left the rubber band on and then wound several rows of the thinner Manilla rope over it, adding hot glue as I went. I finished it off with more hot glue on the back.
Here’s the part where I’m going to tell you to not do what I did. The original wall had frames secured to the ropes as you can see here.
I attempted this and it was a miserable failure. I laid out my frames on top of the rope and then did all this intricate measuring and marking. I glued the back of the frames to the rope and the entire thing felt like one very wobbly, dangerous mess. Time for plan B.
This whole thing is an illusion. It LOOKS like the frames are hanging on the rope but the easier way to do this is to secure the rope to the wall and then hang the frames as you normally would – on the wall, just using much longer nails (to account for the added depth the rope adds behind the frame.)
I hung my frames first, THEN went back and added the rope. Here I am arranging and training the rope into position – shaky, out of focus photo by Knox himself. “mommy, why are you standing on my dresser?” Um…just don’t do this ok Knox?
Once I was happy with the placement I literally just nailed the rope onto the wall. Don’t worry, you can’t see the nail at all…it just kinda disappears into the fibers.
As you can see, I went with a more pronounced arc type look to the top of my rope vs. the way RH had it just straight down. Their way is easier and if I had referenced the photo more closely, I would have done that because duplicating the arc over and over on these was challenging.
Another tip I learned from the first hanger to the 2nd and 3rd- tie one end in a knot but leave the other end free until you’ve gotten the rope up on the wall and feel good about it’s placement. I found it harder to maneuver it all once the knot was on both ends.
Overall, a fairly simple project for what results in a pretty impactful visual I think. I love that we can rotate family photos on this thing. Something about it feel slightly less permanent than a perfectly curated and measured gallery wall. I think it would be really fun in a navy room with big thick white cotton rope too! Or do it with wide satin ribbon in a little girl’s room with bows at the top!