Hanging Pictures from a Boat Cleat with Rope

Here’s part 2 to hanging our family recipes in the kitchen, and the trickier part (hence the delay in getting it done). I’ve seen the idea to hang pictures from boat cleats in Pottery Barn, Costal Living, Restoration Hardware, on Pinterest,  and in restaurants (like our fav, Shelter), so I knew I wanted to do this in our house somewhere.  I actually bought rope from Lowe’s awhile ago for decorative reasons, and another day I impulse bought a boat cleat, knowing I’d do something with it eventually, so I had most of the items on hand when I was ready.

Nautical Picture Hanging from a Boat Cleat

What you’ll need:

  • The frame(s) you’ll be hanging
  • Rope – mine is 5/8″ thick, from Lowe’s
  • Boat cleat
  • Wall anchors (2)
  • Screws (2)
  • Drill
  • Sawtooth hanger
  • Nails (10)
  • Hammer

frame2

So here’s where things got interesting.. You see all these pictures with the boat cleat / rope combination, but you rarely learn how they did it.  I found one website that used a staple gun to keep the rope attached to the frame — this is also how The Shelter did it (I flipped their frames over one day to inspect).  Unfortunately, most of those frames were the thick wood kind, as opposed to the thinner, float frame with lots of glass, where stapling would destroy the frame in the process.

One day after work I stopped by Lowe’s to get their idea on what to do, which involved D-hooks screwed into the frame and knotting the rope at the ends.  After going down this path, we realized that the knot would be too fat and push the frame awkwardly off the wall.  Option #2, use the D-hooks, but instead of knotting it, clamp the ends with a metal clamp (?) that we didn’t have.  Option 2 didn’t last long because the Wilds were picking us up for dinner that night, and we knew Hunter’s dad would have a good solution.  This brings us to option #3 — letting the rope hang down the middle (of the back) and simply nailing it into the frame multiple times at the top and bottom of the frame.

For option #3, start by getting the boat cleat screwed into the wall where you want it.  Definitely use wall anchors here — we didn’t the first time and the cleat was a little wobbly, so we pulled the screws out, patched the wall, patched the wall again (my bad there), and started over with the wall anchors to keep it sturdy enough to support some weight.

boatcleat1

Next, measure out how much rope you need.  This includes figuring out how you want the rope to hang from the cleat (a knot or not) , where you want the frame to hang on the wall and if you want rope showing below the frame.  I ended up cutting 2 different pieces of rope between option #1 and option #3, so I was happy to have enough rope!  Plus Cleo liked playing with the extra..  I used electrical tape to mark on the rope where the top of the frame should be on the rope, so we could keep it straight.

Then you attach the rope to the frame — easier said than done.  We used a sawtooth hanger (which actually came with the frame, but I bent by accident so we used another I had on hand) to secure the rope at the top of the frame.  I wrapped the end of the rope in electrical tape so it wouldn’t fray.  Then we put 4 nails in the top and 4 nails in the bottom, through the rope and into the frame (but not all the way through) to keep the rope secure.

boatcleat2

Finally, hang the frame from the cleat!  If you’re doing a knot, or just draping it over, make sure it falls straight.

boatcleat4

boatcleat3

Hopefully you learn from my mistakes and it takes you less time, effort and trips to Lowe’s!

boatcleat6

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