I hope one day when I look at this bookcase I forget about all the nightmares and hot glue gun burns (until I figured out I should wear gardening gloves). I hope that when my friends come over I get compliments that make me beam with pride.

This darn IKEA hack nearly killed me. One night I had Mr. Wonderful help me with just feeding the rope around the legs and he turned into Mr. Grumpy and when I told him I was done with his help he went to bed and didn’t stay goodnight. Yep, that’s how terrible this was.

Still determined to do it? Well, here we go. Please do not email me when you’re upset in the middle of it, I’m giving you fair warning.

Even if you don’t plan on doing this, at least follow along on this DIY so you can see all my hard work and because I sure have some stories along the way.

Supplies Needed

IVAR pine shelf, $55
 / additional shelf, $6 + 610 ft manila rope 3/8 in wide, $81 +
Hot Glue Gun, $11  / Full Size 10″ Hot Glue 20-pack, $7 (You’ll need 2 packs) + Pandora, patience, and maybe alcohol


Optional Materials

If you want to stain the shelves as it was suggested to me and I think definitely important, grab some stain. I used Minwax Gel in honey maple, an 8 oz can for $7.50. You can also pick up 200 grit sandpaper as suggested, if you are staining.

Honey Maple Stain, can find also at Ace Hardware + Clear gloss, $20 on Amazon (cheaper at Ace), don’t forget 200 grit sandpaper + 3-inch spring clamp, $9 + deerskin gloves, $18

Also consider a drop cloth if you plan on making this inside.


  1. Assemble IVAR bookshelf. Say bad words in your head because you can’t understand why the darn thing won’t stand up on its own until you install the cross bar.
  2. Wrap rope starting from bottom. You can get away with putting hot glue gun on 3 of the 4 sides, but start on all 4 the first half inch to secure rope. Use clamps to secure the shorter pieces of rope that don’t wrap all the way around the post (due to a shelf in the way).
  3. Stain shelves if you want. Let dry.
  4. Apply top coat in finish you prefer.


  • Use garden gloves to avoid burns and your delicate hands being chafed by the harsh rope. I used deer gloves.
  • Much more helpful to have a friend wear gloves and wrap rope around the poles as you use the hot glue gun – so much faster!
  • When figuring out how much to grab, I did about 30 feet at a time to not break up the rope.
  • Use clamps from Home Depot to hold down parts of the rope that won’t stay put.

Anthropologie Rope-Wrapped Shelf, $1898 (Inspiration)


Rope-Wrapped Shelf, on sale $1499.95

DIY IKEA Hack, $205+ 2.5 days of labor


My IKEA hack
Rice baskets: Fringe Supply Co.

Bookshelf styling is later – sorry have to wait on a few more items!

Project Cost

$87 rope (tax)
$74 IKEA shelf (tax and shipping)
$20 hot glue gun sticks
$8 gel stain
$13 quick dry polyurethane in gloss
$3 foam brushes
My sanity

$205  TOTAL

What do you think?

There were a few modifications I had to make but I like the way it looked overall, and the memory of how much I dreaded working on it has quickly faded, thank goodness!