Tools + Supplies Mannequin with Wire Hanger Arms (1 of 1)

Published on February 20th, 2011 | by Julie Finn

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Closet Clean-Out: Five Ways to Upcycle Wire Hangers

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Wire hangers make serviceable arms for a dressmaker's dummyAre you capable of looking at a wire clothes hanger without flashing back to that one particularly disturbing scene from Mommy Dearest?

Yeah, me neither.

I think we all share this same cultural trauma, because wire hangers are one of the most loathed aspects of our commercial society, and yet also, curiously, one of the most ubiquitous. Nobody wants to actually use wire hangers for their clothes (those bumps they put on the shoulders of your shirts!!!), and yet to just throw them away…ick.

Fortunately, wire coat hangers have one absolutely fabulous thing going for them. They’re made from wire! You can do so many wonderful things with wire! You can completely transform an awful wire hanger into something else, amazingly useful or amazingly beautiful, simply by remaking that wire.

Here are five projects to get you started:
wreath made from a wire hanger base
I got really into making wreaths from natural and upcycled materials this holiday season, so I am all about this wire hanger and Christmas ornament wreath, courtesy of Eddie Ross. The wire hanger forms the infrastructure, which is the trickiest part of making your own wreath since it’s so tempting to buy those pre-made Styrofoam wreath forms- yuck!

To make this wreath into a festive decoration for a different holiday, or perhaps an all-season decoration for your front door, you could actually use any kind of bauble with a hole large enough to thread a wire hanger through–vintage jewelry pieces, paper mache ornaments, Life Savers, etc.

[The image on this page is the property of Eddie Ross.]

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



  • Ceggydoo

    I do love the yarn covered hanger! My Aunt June taught me how to make them many years ago and we have an abundance of them… My daughter oohed and aahed over one two days ago when one made its way into the front hall closet and she is excited to make her very own special hanger… Seriously? I have to hunt down a couple of wire hangers on purpose now? UGH!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O2YNNMWOTBNV7AWDF2NTTTHMGU Mad Scientist K

    LOL you can do yarn covered plastic hangers, too!

    I use wire hangers to make wings; just wrap the wire with scrap fabric and stretch pantyhose or tights over them. Then you can break out the fabric paint to decorate then if you like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Julie-Finn/740858676 Julie Finn

    I JUST made wire hanger butterfly wings! I’d seen some that were made with millinery wire, but they just didn’t look very sturdy, so I tried out wire hangers–not too hard to work with, and VERY sturdy.

    I get wire hangers now from one friend whose husband takes stuff to the dry cleaners. Are dry cleaners the only place left in the world that still hands out wire hangers? Possibly…

  • Kltaylor

    These are such great ideas: I especially love the vine trellis. I am currently working on a few upcycling projects of my own. It’s amazing how many cool things you can make by upcycling and as I have found, they make really great conversation pieces when visitors come over as well.

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