Do you like those s-hooks? You can make them for 80 cents or less each - smaller ones would be much less. If you don't need them to be pretty they can cost next to nothing except for your time.
I've always loved the look of pots and pans hanging above sinks, islands, and stoves in magazines and stores. And I've always felt insulted by the prices of the racks and the s-hooks. Granted, some of the hooks are fairly heavy-duty stainless steel, but five dollars EACH?
I'm not above buying s-hooks when the price is reasonable, but the only good deal I've found was during a sale at Ikea. Since the nearest Ikea is many miles from our home, I don't get up there often. And besides, I had made smaller ones from coat hanger wire for years. Finally I found a great material to use for larger sizes - copper grounding wire.
A simple wooden jig is all you need to get started. In each step I'll list "in case" options I thought of for tool and materials substitutes. Everything I've used is pretty simple, but there are alternate ways of getting the same results - perhaps with a little more labor.
1) 10 feet of 8 gauge copper grounding wire
2) 2x4 scrap
3) dowel scrap (broom handle)
4) 2 screws
5) 1 large (12d) nail
6) emery cloth (optional)
9) bolt cutter
10) metal file
12) small tubing for bending
Options (by materials/tool numbers above)
1) for smaller hooks you could use 6 or 8 gauge ground wire, or other materials suggested later in this instructable
2) 2x4 was just a convenient size; anything solid you have would work
3) electrical conduit would work well
4) I used 2" drywall screws - size is not critical
5) for the holding pin - it just needs to be solid. A screw would work, too.
6) for finishing the ends - that's up to you.
7) hand drill / brace and bit would be adequate
9) the wire is pretty heavy; if you don't have a bolt cutter, you'll need either a cable cutter or a hacksaw
10) for rounding off the ends - I actually used a Dremel tool with a grinding bit
11) if you don't have a suitable vise, you could always screw the jig onto a workbench.
12) I used some water outlet pipe from my plumbing junk drawer. You could use pliers, but that might mark up the wire. You could also drill a 1/4" hole in a short length of wood - that would be a little clumsy, but it would give you the leverage needed.
Step 1: Buy the wire
What you see in the picture is ten feet of 4 gauge grounding wire from Home Depot, currently (10/07) $1.28 per foot in the electrical department. That's pretty steep, but for this project I was willing to pay for heavy duty and convenience. I noted that smaller 6 gauge was half the price, and 8 gauge even less. But I found that the hooks required only 8 inches, so the ten feet would yield fifteen hooks for a bit over 80 cents each.
If I wanted to make more, I'd look for a cheaper source. Electrical supply houses would be an option, though they might sell grounding wire only be the reel, not the foot. Grounding or lightning arrestor kits might be a cheaper option - I'll check Radio Shack next time I'm there. Does anyone have some good source ideas?