Personalized wire hangers were definitely popular even when I was getting married but at the time I had a mile long list of DIY projects I was working on and so I didn't make one for myself. However since then I have seen more creative versions of the personalized hanger and so I started recommending it to other brides. Most people thought the online price plus shipping didnt seem worth it and this piqued my curiosity about them and what was really involved in making them. I recently decided to attempt to make my own wire hanger as a gift for a bride and several of our mutual friends loved it and have ordered personalized hangers of their own as gifts.
Firstly I looked online for what materials I needed to bring this project to life. The basics needed are:
Wooden shirt hangers
12 gauge floral wire
Drill or eyeglass size screwdriver
Needle nose pliers
Any additional accessories or embellishments
Surprisingly enough, just finding the first thing on my list was tricky! I couldn't find shirt hangers anywhere. To be clear, a shirt hanger is a basic wooden hanger with no bottom bar. I went to Walmart, Target, Home Goods, Marshalls, and all I could find were velvet hangers, plastic hangers, suit hangers,... basically all kinds of hangers except the one I wanted. So I nearly decided to just get my friend a different gift and scrap the idea of the personalized hanger. But for me giving up just doesn't come easy! I decided to try one last place, Bed Bath and Beyond, and to be honest I really could have saved myself a lot of time by going there first! I walked into their hanger section and I felt like I was in hanger heaven! They had every possible kind of hanger known to mankind!!!
This store carried them in packs of 5, so I decided to get one pack in dark cherry wood and one pack in white wood. Once I had the hangers, I went to Joann's and then Michael's for the wire. I happened to already have most of the other accessories and tools I needed.
I couldn't find my needle nose pliers so decided to make do with a regular pair of pliers. To be honest I didn't really use it at all. Although it might be useful to know that if you do use a pair of pliers its best to wrap it in masking tape to prevent it from scratching the wire.
Next, I looked online for some sort of template for shaping the letters. I found this one which served as a fairly good guide. It is probably easier though, to just draw out the letters in the size you want and then use that as a template instead. I realized later that there were several tutorial videos out there with detailed descriptions of how to shape specific letters but I was just anxious to get started so instead I pulled up several images of personalized wire hangers and paid attention to the way the letters were shaped. Then using just my hands I started shaping the letters of the first word "Mrs".
Contrary to what I saw on other sites, I chose not to cut the wire until the word was completed. So I basically worked on the wire straight off the roll. The first and last letters are usually the easiest to shape out, it's the letters in the middle that can get a bit tricky. The key is to think of it, as writing the entire word in one continuous movement that requires clever looping back and forth without getting kinks in the wire. Once the wire gets kinked or too twisted it loses some of the appeal and you have to discard that piece and start over. I found that certain letters like T and K were a lot more tricky to shape out and it took me several tries to get it. It took a while before I started being remotely happy with the look of the letters. It takes practice to get the hang of it!
Once I finally finished shaping the letters, I had to attach it to the hanger. But before that, I wanted to add some embellishments to the hanger. I experimented with a a ribbon bow and crystals and then ultimately decided to just use their initials instead. Less is always more in my book.
Once that was done I needed to make holes in the hanger to attach the wire. It turns out my husband didn't have the right drill bit for this job and he drilled right through the hanger! I can tell you right now, I wasn't too please about that! But ultimately it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it forced me to design a new hanger and I ended up finding pretty sparkly letters shown above, which look much better than the original one! This time around I pulled out my mini eyeglass screwdriver that I keep for my guitar battery and I manually drilled the holes in the hanger.
It was quick and easy. Then for the first time ever, I experimented with E6000 glue. I've avoided this glue for years but decided to give it a try because I was worried the hot glue gun wouldn't hold up as well.. I did the gluing outside because of all the fumes and to be honest I wasn't all that impressed with this glue. For the second hanger I made, I went back to my trusted hot glue gun!
Once I had measured the hanger and cut the wire to fit, I squeezed glue into the holes I had created and pushed the wire in! In no time I had my very own handmade personalized wedding hanger!
After it was dry, I came back to inspect my handiwork, as I looked at it, all I could see was everything that was wrong with it, and a billion imperfections with the letters, so I thought about not giving it to the bride since it was surprise anyway, she wouldn't miss it because she wasn't expecting it.
But in the end I decided to just add it to another gift I had for her, I felt the worst that could happen was she wouldn't use it, no harm there. However when she unwrapped it, her face lit up, she loved it and thought I had ordered it on etsy, she didn't believe me at first when I told her I made it. She immediately offered to send me the photos of her wedding dress on the hanger once her wedding day rolls around! A mutual friend who saw the hanger when I gave it to her immediately wanted one and ordered one as a Christmas gift for a family member so the very next week I had to make another one!
|My second "Kelly" hanger right before I trimmed the wire and attached it to the hanger|
I can definitely say the second one was actually more nerve wracking because this was my first real "sale" and I didn't want to disappoint her. Since then a few others who saw the first two hangers have requested a personalized hanger hanger of their own so I guess you could say I'm in the hanger business now? How exciting!!