Intro: Cheap/Free DIY Pegboard Hooks
The previous occupant of the house I moved into kindly left me a 16 foot by 4 foot pegboard wall in the garage. The only problem is that I don't have enough hangers to utilize it. So I decided to make my own. This is very simple to do and allows you to really customize the hangers to any specific needs you may have.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
To make the pegboard hooks you just need some sort of stiff wire. I prefer to use metal coat hangers from the dry cleaner, but rebar tie wire will work as well.
In addition to your choice of wire you need a way to cut it, and a pair of pliers to bend it into shape. If you have a pair of pliers with a cutting edge (linesman's pliers, needle nose, etc) you can get by with 1 pair, but at times it makes things easier to have 2 pair.
If you want to smooth out the sharp edges you will also need a file or some sandpaper. (Optional)
Step 2: Coat Hangers Vs Tie Wire
As mentioned in the previous step I prefer coat hangers. The reason for this is they are closer in size to real pegboard hooks. I don't have a way to measure the differences precisely, but as best I can tell the actual pegboard hook is about 1/8" diameter, the coat hanger about 1/16" and the tie wire is 1/32" - 3/64". The difference in size is easily discernible in the picture above.
The heavier the item is that you are hanging, and the further the hook sticks out from the wall the more force you will be placing on your hook. Since the tie wire is lighter gauge and more flexible it will fail before the coat hanger will.
Step 3: Get Your Wire Ready
If you are using tie wire, just cut off a piece. Around 3 - 4 inches (76 to 102 mm) is a good place to start.
If you are using a coat hanger you will need to do a little bit of work to get it ready.
- Remove any paper wrapper from it so there is just a bare hanger (picture 1).
- Cut off the section where the 2 ends twist together (picture 2).
- You now have a nice section of untwisted hanger to work with (picture 3).
- Cut off your working piece (3.5" for me in picture 4).
You can also use the hooked part that used to go over the rail in the closet. I find that the twisted section can be difficult to insert or remove from pegboard if you use it as the mounting part of a hook. It can work as the section you hang tools from, but I usually cut it off and toss it (pictures 5-7).
Step 4: Make the Bends to Create Your Hook
The mounting portion of the hook is just 2 bends. The part you actually hang things on is limited only by your imagination. If you already have a factory hook I would use that as a guide so your DIY hooks fit the board the same way. Just be sure to make a few adjustments for the different thickness.
The first bend I match the same height as the original hook - about 15/32" - 1/2" (11 - 12 mm) (Picture 1)
For the second bend I match the inside of the 2 bends on the original hook. This is to compensate for the different thickness of the materials. If you make it the same size as the thicker gauge piece then it sticks out a little bit and wobbles more. About 1/4 " (6.35 mm)
- Picture 2 shows the start and end points to measure.
- Picture 3 shows the approximate measurements if you don't have a piece to compare to.
- Picture 3 shows my coat hanger piece laid over the original to get an idea of where the bends should be.
You are done with the mounting portion of the hook. Now you can bend the remaining tail end into whatever configuration you need.
I stop at this point, but the cut ends of the hooks can be pretty sharp. If you wanted to make them a bit safer you could file/sand down the rough edges.
Step 5: Put Your New Pegboard Hook to Good Use
Pop your new hook into your pegboard and hang something up!
Tips and thoughts:
If you are planning on making a hook that goes into more than one hole (like the one holding the knives, shears and saw in the first picture) make sure you measure the distance between the holes so everything lines up properly. I believe the standard in the U.S. is 1" (25.4 mm).
For any odd holders think your design through. The hanger holding up the knives is a terrible design. To get any item down I have to remove the entire thing from the wall, fish out what I want and re-hang it. I threw it together to get stuff off of my workbench while I unpack from my move, so it does what it was intended to do. But... I probably should have invested a little more time and made it more functional.
You can use a vice to hold the piece while you bend it, but I haven't found the results to be as good or as fast as just using pliers.
Round nosed pliers would probably make smoother bends, but I don't have any available.
You can get 1/8" rod from your local hardware store, (Lowes / Home Depot) but it is probably cheaper to just buy a factory made pegboard hook assortment at that point (unless you need a custom solution).
Step 6: Edited to Add...
After reading comments user wilwrk4tls left, and then checking out his similar instructable I have added another option to make hooks out of rebar tie-wire. Wilwrk4tls twisted tie wire in his design to make the end results stronger. This was a huge improvement over using a single piece. His input inspired me to make a cable of multiple strands of rebar tie-wire, which makes it thicker and stronger. I will be experimenting with this more in the future, but this new step is the process I went through tonight to test out the new idea.
- Tie wire
- Pliers (as above)
- Sandpaper/File (optional, but you will have more sharp ends so may be a good idea)
- Vice, vice grips, or some way to clamp down the loose ends of the wire
Cut 2 pieces of the tie wire and fold them both in half. Since they are about 1/32" diameter 4 of them should add up to be about 1/8" like the factory hook (picture 1).
Clamp both of the folded ends into your clamping device (picture 2) by using the rounded ends as the outside of the hook you won't have jagged edges to cut yourself or snag things on.
Pull the wires tight so there is no slack in them and then trim off the loose ends of the wires flush (pictures 3,4,5).
Chuck the 4 loose ends of the wires into your drill. You should now have one side attached to your clamp and the other to the drill (picture 6).
Hold the clamped end (if you are not using a vice) of the wires so that it can not rotate. Then use your drill to twist the wires into a cable. Go slowly. The cable is going to shorten as the wires twist up, so if it is a particularly long section you are making be ready to move with the process. The end result should look like picture 7. Pictures 8 and 9 show a close up of how the clamp and drill look after this is done.
Now you can remove your new cable from the drill and clamp. You will have one smooth end (picture 10) and the other end will be 4 exposed pieces of wire. We are going to use the smooth end as the exterior part of the hook and the ragged side will be the mounting portion, and will be safely stowed behind the pegboard.
Bend the piece to shape and install it in the pegboard as in the instructions for the coat hanger version (remaining pictures).
* Note: when you cut the cable it is better to try and snip each individual wire one by one. If you try and cut through all of them at once it flattens the cable out.
I think this is a good way to improve upon using rebar tie-wire to make pegboard hooks. You can make a large length of cable at once and then cut off sections to make hooks as you go. Just be sure to file down or cap the exposed ends off so you don't run into problems later.
You could also just make each hook one by one and have the nice rounded ends. I do think there will be a lot of waste material if you went this route, so it may not be ideal.
I think that my cable wasn't as tight as it could have been, and that impacts how the hook sits in the wall. Next time I make some hooks I will go slower with the drill, and keep more tension on the wire. Hopefully this will take the slop out of the cable.
I think I will also try doing this with 5 or 6 strands to bulk the cable up a little more. I want to see if this improves how the hook sits on the board. If you decide to do this keep in mind 5 strands will have at least 1 raw end in the hook, 6 strands (3 strands doubled over) would have a smooth end on the hook.
Thank you to wilwrk4tls for his comments and instructable. If anybody else has tips to improve upon this, please post them up!