Rope Bowls | It’s All About the Ropes

western lariat rope bowls

I love getting creative with these old ropes. It’s the ultimate upcycle. Sometimes called western ropes or cowboy ropes, these retired lariat and team ropes are transformed into beautiful rope bowls, handy rope baskets, and big rope bowls and buckets.

As a fruit bowl on your kitchen table, or use a rope bowl to catch your keys and phones at the door. Use a big bucket or bowl to gather up your towels or hold your wood kindling by the fireplace. These rope bowls add a rustic charm and a unique ranch style to your home decor. Each one is different and has its own character and functionality.

 Have a look through the WattRanch Shop to add some rustic charm to your farmhouse or ranch home decor.

It all starts with a rope.

Ropers have a lot of factors to consider when choosing a rope. Typically, these ropes are 30-35 feet long, made of nylon and/or poly, and sometimes a blend. There are lots of name brands and different types of ropes, depending on their job. Head & heel ropes for team ropers, calf ropes for the tie-down ropers, breakaway ropes, ranch ropes, and the list goes on.

The ropes are retired when the fibers break down, get twisted, lay the ‘wrong way’, or are just plain tired and no longer doing their job for the roper. That’s when they are ready for a new life.

gather up old lariat ropes and retired team ropes

Each rope has a story of their life lived. Some bear the black burn of a long dally, running out over the rubber on the saddle horn. For some, their original color is still fresh while others are weathered and frayed from a long life.

After a good cleaning and scrubbing, sometimes several times over, they are hung to dry. I’ll pick through the ropes and choose which ones to leave in their original rope color, usually a soft and subtle shade of the original.

While others may get hand-dyed to add some color into their new life as a rope bowl or bucket. Maybe it’s a contrasting dyed color to add interest. Or I may dye the rope the same color as the original, to add depth and vibrancy to the original color.

Ropes of many colors.

It’s all a matter of choice when I start out with my ropes on the workbench. It just depends on the look I’m going for. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two, original and hand-dyed ropes. If you’d like your own custom bowl, you may have a specific color in mind. If you’re just not sure, browsing through the variety of shapes, styles, and colors of our rope bowls, baskets, and buckets in our Ropes Gallery is a good place to look for inspiration.

original colors of lariat ropes

original rope colors (above)

hand-dyed lariat rope colors

hand-dyed rope colors (above)

Red on red rope bucket.

The original red rope on the left (below) has lots of character. The original red color is well-worn and weathered to a soft red. 

But, for this particular custom order, my client has a vibrant red color in mind, perfect for her kitchen. So, I hand-dyed a red rope… RED. You can still see the black burn from the rubber on the saddle horn as the cowboy dallied his rope. It has added some interest at the bottom of this finished rope bucket. 

hand-dyed red rope bucket

Each rope bowl is custom by design.

I start out with the basic size and shape in mind. But I never really know how it’s going to look when it’s finished. Sometimes the rope is intentionally run through the honda (eye of the rope), sometimes it’s pulled out before I start. If the ‘tail’ of the rope is in good condition, I may weave that into the design. Overlapping and layering the ropes to add interest to the design is all part of the creative process.

custom rope bowl made with hand-dyed and original rope colors

 Have a look through the WattRanch Shop to add some rustic charm to your farmhouse or ranch home decor.