Make a Special Clothes Hanger




About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

My wife has one of these hangers left. A friend informed me it is called a drapery hanger. This past Sunday I had to use it to hold up the lower third of my clergy gown so I could transport it to a church where I would have the sermon. My wife informed me I had most certainly better not forget and lose this hanger! I did not forget. And, I decided to make a copy better than the original so we would have a backup.


Step 1: Materials and Tools

The photo shows the original hanger with a cardboard roller across the bottom. At the top of the photo is a dowel rod about 3/4 inch in diameter. The cardboard roll on the original is a little larger in diameter, but this is what I had. Also pictured is some steel rod about 1/8 inch in diameter. It is from a folding tripod floral stand like those used at funerals. I officiated at a funeral and no one wanted the floral stand afterward. The funeral director said it was fine for me to take it for my welding projects. The steel has some bends in it that will need to be straightened.

  • 1/8 inch steel rod
  • Larger diameter dowel rod
  • Wood saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Drill and bit
  • Vise-Grip pliers
  • Measuring tape
  • Hammer
  • Pipe to form bends
  • Vise
  • Welder

Step 2: Straighten the Bends in the Steel Rod

Some preliminary straightening can be done with a Vise-Grip pliers. Then pound the steel flat on an anvil or the flat area on a vise. Twist the rod as it is pounded and most of the bends will disappear completely. See the second photo. Grind a rounded end on one end of the steel rod.

Step 3: Cut and Drill the Dowel

The standard width of a clothes hanger is 18 inches. Cut the dowel for this width. Locate the center of each end. Drill into the center of the dowel about 1 1/2 inches from each end with a bit the size of the steel rod. 

Step 4: Measure the Two Halves of the Original Hanger

Use a piece of string or a flexible tape measure to take two measurements. One is defined by the blue line. The other is defined by the green line. In my case, the green line was 19 1/2 inches and the blue line was 13 inches. I added 1 1/2 inches to each as indicated by the black lines. Measure the longer dimension from the rounded end you ground on the steel rod in step 2 and cut the rod. Measure 13 inches from the remainder and cut. 

Note: There will be a little welding in step 7. If you do not have access to a welder, you can leave the 13 inch piece an additional 3/4 inch longer beyond the extra 1 1/2 inches and bend a loop around the other piece at the neck of the hanger where the green line and the blue meet each other.

Step 5: The First Bend

Measure in 1 1/2 inches from the blunt end of each piece of rod and make a 90 degree bend.

Step 6: The Second Bend

The finished hanger should have symmetrical bends. I ganged the two pieces of rod together with a Vise-Grip pliers. Then I measured 2 1/2 inches from the 90 degree bend and clamped the two pieces in a vise with a piece of pipe. The pipe will form the gentle radius in the second bend. This will closely approximate the profile of the original hanger.

Step 7: Third Bend

Remove the Vise-Grip pliers from the two rods. Bend the rounded end of the longer piece around a piece of appropriately sized pipe to form the hook at the top of the hanger. You may need to tweak this a little by hand with a pair of ordinary pliers.

Insert the 90 degree bends into the holes in the ends of the dowel rod. Pull the pieces together as you see in the photo and weld them together. Again, if you do not have access to a welder, you can bend some of the extra length discussed in step 4 around the other piece to join the pieces together.

Step 8: The Finished Hanger

I added another bend in the neck of the hanger just below the hook loop held by my finger. This is for the purpose of finding the point at which the bottom of the hanger hangs as close to level as possible. This is a good sturdy hanger, and my wife is impressed.  She likes it.

We probably could have waited until the next time my wife sends drapes to the dry cleaner to get another hanger. I am not sure either of us remembered where we got the original hanger. At least now we have a second hanger. 

I considered cutting and bending a commercial clothes hanger to fit into holes in a dowel rod, but the wire hangers we have in our closet are not the older, heavier kind. Rather, they are the very light gauge white wire hangers. So, I could not illustrate my idea for converting a commercially made hanger. For anyone who needs a special hanger, this Instructable could be of help to you.



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    13 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I guess the steel rod fits snugly into the ends of the wooden dowel. Otherwise the dowel would spin (roll?)... With your attire that might not be a problem, but often, when I fold my pants around a slippery horizontal member of a similar hanger, in no time the pants end up on the floor. :-) I suppose the cardboard roller comes with a notch at each extreme precisely to avoid that problem... As always, all the best.

    1 reply
    Phil Bclaudg1950

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    The steel rod fits snugly enough that the dowel does not roll, even with a pair of pants hung on it. Thanks.


    5 years ago on Step 8

    Suspended ceiling wire might work too, although it might only be 12ga and galvanized. It could pass thru a piece of 1/2" PVC, folded, twisted and hooked, rather than welded.

    1 reply
    Phil BNinzerbean

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    You are good with craft projects. Would you ever consider tracing my steps, more or less, and making one? I am just curious.

    NinzerbeanPhil B

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    No, I thought about how much I liked my hangar when I used to have it, and I looked to see how it was made and I just thought at that time that I would collect some tube if any came in the mail and cut a hangar and put the tube in place of the wire I had cut away. The one I had, had the wire folded over to fit snuggly inside the tube, it was not going to budge. Your way looks too hard compared to my way. But I know you and I know you made it right. So the simple answer is that I would maybe make one if I did not now own the most fantastic hangars in the world (black fuzzy thing I got at Costco), but I would make it my way.

    Phil Brimar2000

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    You are correct, Osvaldo. We like the high throat and the roller across the bottom. (It actually does not roll, but provides a larger diameter for holding the bottom third of a gown up in a compact package.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Neat one Phil..
    I bet your wife didn't rolled her eyes when you made this instructible.. :)

    Thanks for sharing..

    1 reply