In our last home, we had a four-inch-thick stone mantel over our fireplace. I also had a toddler and a baby on the way for our Christmasses in that home, and though I wanted all the luxuries of a happily decorated mantel, I didn’t want the risk of injuring small children. Or myself, for that matter.
The problem with most stocking hangers is that they rely on the weight of the hanger– usually several hefty pounds– to hold up the stocking. But in many cases, all it takes is a little extra stuffing or a tug from a little one to send those cast-iron pretties careening into the floor– or worse, a foot– or worse… You see where I’m going with this.
So, I came up with this easy-to-make hanger that
- Won’t ruin your mantel with screw/nail holes or sticky adhesive hooks.
- Works on thick, rental, or stone mantels like a charm!
- Holds plenty of stuffed stocking weight (I have one currently hefting 3lbs).
- Doesn’t fall off easily.
- And won’t send anyone to the ER if it does!!
It’s the perfect stocking hook!! So, want to learn how?
For this tutorial, you’re going to need:
- A sturdy wire coat hanger, or heavy-duty 12-gauge or thicker wire (the thicker the better! The example below is not ideal gauge, but will work.)
- Two pair of pliers (one will work, two is ideal)
- Washi tape and/or ribbon to decorate
Step 1: Open up the hanger. Use the pliers as needed.
Step 2: Begin straightening out the hanger. Use a pair of pliers in each hand, clamp on either side of a bend, and straighten it out. The first few feel a little tricky, but you start to get the hang of it pretty quickly. Don’t worry about the last 4″-6″ of the wire (the twisty bit), as the next step is to…
Step 3: clip off the very ends, where it’s too twisted to try and straighten. You won’t need the full length of wire, anyway. Most pliers can handle this if you’ll grab the excess wire and work it back and forth while applying pressure to the pliers, and the excess will snap off. You should have around 25″-30″ of straightened wire.
Step 4: Find the middle of the wire (roughly, it doesn’t have to be exact), and set it over the top of your thigh (wear jeans, preferably). Spread your hands on wire to either side of where it sits on your leg, and begin pressing downward in a rolling motion. Work the wire into a smooth curve, pressing around your leg until it forms a nice U shape.
Step 5: Measure down the U approximately 2.5″-3″ and use the pliers to bend one leg until it’s perpendicular (90-degrees) to the other leg.
Step 6: From the bent corner, measure about 4″ along the bent leg and use the pliers to bend it to form a loop or triangle as a stand (shortest leg of the triangle facing the hanging leg). This is the part of the hanger that rests on the mantel itself.
Step 7: Ideally, make the stand loop broader than shown below (at least 2″ wide; I wasn’t paying enough attention– my bad!). It will provide a good base to keep the hanger upright on your mantel. Near the original bend, you can choose to attempt to bend the remaining wire back along the original U shape, or simply clip off the excess.
Step 8: Begin to bend the remaining leg of the U further under the stand loop you just completed. Start just off the end of that loop, or a little below (just off the tip of the pliers in the below photo). Use your hands to gently curve the long leg of wire backwards under the hanger until…
Step 9: it looks roughly like this. The further back the end goes, the more stable the final hanger will be.
Step 10: Use the bottom 4″-6″ to form a small hook. Create the shape as desired; the photo below is slightly exaggerated (see Step 12 photo for better view of improved curve). Ensure the final point of the hook has at least 1/2″-1″ excess for step 11.
Step 11: Bend back the end of the hook to round it out.
Step 12: View the hanger from above. It should mostly form a straight line. If it’s leaning one way or the other, gently bend it back into shape.
Step 13: Finally, test and decorate your hanger. Hang a stocking on it and make little tweaks in the bend of the wire until it hangs the way you need it to. Then, using washi tape and/or ribbon, decorate the hanger to suit your holiday style.
Finally, here’s a quick video to demonstrate how the stocking hook works. First it shows the one made for this tutorial, and the second is one of my undecorated originals (and it shows ;P )It has some flex and give to it (the sturdier the wire, the less flex there is), but it works to counter-balance and distribute the weight of the stocking directly under the hook. If it slips off, it’s not killing anyone, and it’s easy to reshape and reset. Remember: sturdier wire will hold more, and if you’re especially worried that it won’t hold your stocking, try using a few together. 🙂
Thanks for reading! I hope this makes your holiday decorating a little easier (and safer!)