Mini Shepherd's Hook for Potted Plants

About: I am a Mad Scientist and IT gal with a passion for projects. I love figuring out puzzles, solving problems, and finding out new ways to get things done!
One of the easy ways we were trying to brighten up our new home was by getting a couple of potted plants.  We found some pretty annuals, vincas to be specific, on clearance at Walmart and brought them home.  

The trouble was, I kept forgetting what type of flower it was and I had to keep picking it up to look at the tag on the bottom.  I thought it would be a lot easier if I had some kind of pretty name-tag on it to show what kind of plant it is.  I looked at all the normal cutesy ways to label plants, but none of them really appealed to me.

I've always loved the look of shepherd's hooks in gardens and along outdoor paths.  They are a simple and elegant way to hang signs and lamps in any outdoor environment.  I decided I had to make some miniature shepherd's hooks to place in my new potted vincas.

What You Will Need:
  • 17 Gauge Galvanized Steel Wire
    • I used electric fence wire, about $20 for 1/4 mile at Home Depot or Lowes, useful to have around.
  • Heavy Duty Wire-Cutters
  • Heavy-Duty Pliers
  • Optional:  Jewelry Pliers for Wire Rings (The pink handled pliers, about $5 at Hobby Lobby)

Step 1: Cut a Length of Wire

The first thing you'll need to decide is about how tall you want your hook to be.  I don't recommend making hooks above 18" tall with this wire.  The wire is good to for making sturdy hooks of a small size, but the taller they are the more likely they will droop and the less weight they will hold.  I've made hooks using this method from 3" to 15" tall.

Cut off a length of wire about 1-1/2 times how tall you will want your final hook to be.  For this one, I wanted mine to be about a foot tall, so I cut off roughly 18" of wire.  (I did not do any actual measurements for this project, but you can measure for more exact-sized hooks.)  

You'll end up with a curve of wire.

Step 2: Straighten the Wire

To make the long body of your shepherd's hook, you'll want to straighten about 2/3 of the wire.

Use the heavy duty pliers to grip one end of the steel very tightly, so that it cannot wiggle or rotate  Gently pull your hand down the wire away from the pliers, straightening any curves or bends in the wire as you go with your fingers and thumb.   

Note:  If you have kittens, they absolutely love to help out with this project, so be careful not to poke them if they play with your wire.

Your wire should be mostly straight about 2/3 up with the rest left in the normal curve.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but try to get it straight as possible.

Step 3: Forming the Hook

Using your hands and the same method as before, gently pull the wire and bend into a smooth curve of the desired size.  If you have jewelry pliers, it can be very useful to use them for starting the curve in the exact spot you'd like.  However, you should still use your hands to actually form the curve to ensure smooth results.

Use the remaining wire to form the curve into an "S" shape, with the bottom having a slightly smaller diameter to the curve.  

Using your wire cutters, cut the bottom of the "S" shape halfway from to the top of the hook.  Be sure not to cut too low or it won't hold on your items as well.    For best results, the top, middle, and bottom lines of your "S" shape should be parallel.

Step 4: Bending the Base

Now, while your mini shepherd's hook will work right now, you will get MUCH better results if you bend the last few inches of the base into an angle, as shown in the pictures.  Tip:  Use your heavy duty pliers to get crisp, clean angles.

This will keep your shepherd's hook from swinging freely in the ground, and make it much more stable.

Step 5: Make Your Plants Pretty!

Voila!  A simple and elegant way to hang small signs and other items in your potted plants.

Simply slide the hook into the soil at an angle to bury the angled end of the hook and stand upright!  It is ready to hang out with your signs or other small decorations.



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