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Rustic DIY Hangers That Are Way More Fun than Wall Hooks

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I know what you're thinking: Stick hangers? They've taken this whole crafting hobby far too far!

But bear with me in recounting the undeniable truths that make them a good idea (besides that this is the first installation of Art Hour at #f52summercamp).

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  • Wall art shall not be limited to paintings in frames (examples 1, 2, 3).
  • Bringing a little nature indoors is never a bad idea (examples 1, 2, 3).
  • Beautiful things don't like to be hidden (examples 1, 2, 3).
  • The simplest, least expensive DIYs are the most satisfying (examples 1, 2, 3).
And you thought picking up sticks was a silly idea.
And you thought picking up sticks was a silly idea. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Which brings us to decorative hangers made from sticks. I love the naturally sculptural quality of sticks, especially when brought inside: They give posture to otherwise wilt-inclined arrangements, and can even be spray-painted before finding a home on the shelf. Especially if your home decor skews minimal, a natural touch from the raw, bark-splattered wood will warm it up more than you'd expect.

What you hang on them depends on where you plan to suspend them. If you have an apron you'd love to show off, look for slice of wall space near that kitchen that's begging for coverage. If you've got your eye on a blouse you like to look at even more than you like to wear, try hanging it on the back of a bedroom or closet door.

Because in the same way this brass hanger is designed to be seen, rather than stowed deep in a closet, so are stick hangers designed first and foremost to be decorative (albeit far more rustic). Here's how to make a decorative hanger from sticks, in just a few steps.

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I found these artisanal sticks on the sidewalk in Brooklyn.
I found these artisanal sticks on the sidewalk in Brooklyn. Photo by Bobbi Lin

What you'll need:

  • Sticks about as long as hangers and no less than an inch thick
  • Plain metal hangers (the kind you get from the laundromat)
  • A power drill and an assortment of small drill bits
  • Wood glue
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Twine, for hanging (optional)

How to make them:

1. Drill a hole through the middle of each stick.

Before you do this, consider how you want your stick to look when it's hung up, by holding it against the wall horizontally and twisting it around until the ends point in a way you like. (I turned these so they'd curve over like a frown, the way a traditional hanger would.) Then mark the top side of the stick in that position.

Since the hole you're about to drill is for shimmying a hook through, so its orientation will determine how the stick looks when it's on the wall.

A friend can help you drill through a stick.
A friend can help you drill through a stick. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Choose a drill bit that's about the width of your metal hangers (very skinny!) and start with that; you can always size up later (but you can't make the hole smaller). You'll want the hole you drill to be only barely wider than the metal, to ensure that it stays tight. Secure the stick with clamps on either end or have a friend hold it steady atop a small trash can, then drill through the middle where you marked it.

2. Clip the hook off a hanger, then thread it through.

There are two ways to do this. In the first method, you'll cut just the hook off the hanger (see below), right above the intersection where it starts curving out towards the shoulders of the hanger. Thread the hook, curved part first, up through the hole you just drilled, then pull on it, twisting gently, and finish by easing the thick, twisted part of the wires up through the hole.

This should require a little shimmying and prying if your hole is small enough; the result is that your hook is tightly connected to the stick.

Pull until your hook feels secure.
Pull until your hook feels secure. Photo by Bobbi Lin

For the second method, clip off the hook of the hanger about a half-inch past where it starts to curve out like two shoulders (see below), and then push it up through the hole you drilled until those little "feet" press the underside of the hanger.

A hanger hook with feet, getting pressed through the stick.
A hanger hook with feet, getting pressed through the stick. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Especially if you've found that your hole is a little larger than the hanger wire—so wide that the twisted part of the hanger pulls through without resistance—these feet will ensure that the hook stays put. If the final construction is still looser than you'd like, apply some wood glue to the hole to help secure the metal hook.

If you want to spray paint the metal of the hook (I chose gold but any color would work), do so after the hanger's constructed; cover up the places you don't want painted with tape and craft paper (if you spray paint them ahead of time, like I did, you'll pull off a lot of the paint as you thread the hook through the holes).

Voilà! We hung these up in the studio using long loops of twine, but you can loop them onto hooks or simple nails to get them up on your walls. Just add apron, and marvel.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

Tell us what you'd love to know how to make at home, in the comments.

Tags: hangers, nature, diy