How to Make a Rope Cargo Net

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Rope cargo nets are inexpensive and easy to make, and great for keeping things in place. Not sure what type of rope to use? The material is often determined by the net's purpose. For example, creating a cargo net to hold down luggage on the top of the car or groceries in the hatchback can be done with 1/4-inch nylon rope. If you're on a ship and need to make sure the life preservers stay on the deck during a storm, you may want to make a larger grid with a thicker rope, perhaps 1/2-inch or more.


While some cargo nets knot the rope in a diamond shape, the steps in this tutorial result in a square grid.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rope (polyester, climbing or high performance fiber)

  • Measuring tape

  • Utility knife

  • Lighter

Step 1

Determine the height and width of the net and the webbing within it. You'll want to use more ropes and a tighter grid to hold down smaller items. For example, if you're making a net to hold together footballs or other sports equipment, you want to be sure none of the equipment can slip through the holes in the net. Measuring the size of the space you're planning to cover may also make sense to be sure the net will canopy the area, taking the cargo into account.

Step 2

Cut the rope for the vertical "columns" of the web. Keep in mind that you may lose some of the length of the rope to knots. It's best to measure these sections and then leave 20 percent extra or more that can be trimmed off later, if necessary.

Step 3

Line up the vertical strands on the floor or a large workspace, and remember the size of the final grid. You may want to use a measuring tape to make sure the "columns" are equidistant.


Step 4

Using a lighter, melt or burn the frayed ends of the rope so none of the pieces unravel.

Step 5

Starting at the leftmost rope, tie a double overhand knot equidistant down the length of each vertical rope, keeping in mind the intended size of the resulting grid. For example, if you want to end up with a 4-inch grid, each knot should be 4 inches apart.


Step 6

Cut the horizontal "rows" of rope, adding 10 to 20 percent extra for the knots, if necessary.

Step 7

Lay the horizontal ropes over the vertical ones, with the horizontal ropes right up against the knots that have been created in the "columns." The result should look like a grid of squares all the same size.


Step 8

Pick up the top horizontal cord, wrap it around and through the leftmost double overhand knot and tie the knot. Then repeat the step with the next column until the knots are tied horizontally. Start with the next horizontal cord and repeat the process until the entire grid is knotted. If the ropes seem to be getting misaligned, tape the top ends down. Check that each of the squares are at a right angle, and the knots are tight. If the knots don't appear tight enough, you can secure them by wrapping the knots with electrical or duct tape.


Step 9

Trim off any extraneous cord.

Step 10

Attach the net to the cargo holding area.



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