Winter is coming. This is always true, since after one winter is before the next, and this is nowhere more true than in the vincinity of the wardrobe. Scarves, mittens, gloves, caps, legwarmers - even the odd plushie - they take it upon themselves to clog up whatever space you have alotted for such things whenever it gets cold outside.
The hangers presented here are meant to be a seasonal solution (although you can arguably leave them on all year). The idea is that once summer returns and all the winter garments go back into their boxes or wherever, you can simply unhook these pieces and store them out of sight until it gets cold again.
Keep in mind: This is a solution for that problem. If you do not have that problem, maybe you can use the solution for something completely different. Maybe you have the problem but the solution does not work for you - but to find out, you will have to read on anyway. Either way, there is always room for improvement, so long as you remember to be Inspired!
Unlike my other Instructables, I will put the "how this works" part before the list of tools and materials, not only because the idea is more important here than the actual execution, but also because there are two varieties that I can offer, each with different tools used.
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Step 1: Watch the Video(s)!
I encourage you to check out the video I made for this project. It might answer some questions that I missed here, or pose some that you will find answered here. It is really a symbiotic relationship, and I would be happy if you checked out my channel. Thank you!
Oh, and there is also a German version of the same video - maybe you know someone who would benefit from it, so please share as you see fit!
Step 2: The Basics - How It Works (and Alternative Solutions)
It boils down to this: a vertical rack of hooks for use with smaller items attached to your wardrobe in a way that does not damage it. The main advantage is that you can remove them without leaving a trace when you do not need them anymore, which can be a deal breaker if, say, the wardrobe is not yours to marr. There is also flexibility type and positioning of the pegs.
Both variations presented here are based on the same idea - and since I find myself unable to paraphrase is in few enough words, please consult the image provided. In the first one you can see the profile of our wardrobe, which as you can see lends itself well to this technique. Since your mileage may vary, there are some ideas how to make use of it in other ways in the second picture. Also, the variations I used make use of different tools, which might also be an important factor for you.
If you are going for this idea, I recommend that you use a cardboard template to get the measurements you need, rather than the way I took (measuring thin air and hoping). On cardboard, you can use a few measurements, cut out what you think might work and give it a reality check to see whether the tilting-off-action really works. Then fix the spots that do not until everything fits, and then move on to wood - no matter which variation you chose. The essence is to recreate the shape that works in a sturdy fashion, and while the two versions I made work there are bound to be other ways to get there. If you find one, please share it with the rest of us!
Also worth mentioning is that since this build depends largely on your wardrobe and your choices, I will not go that deep into the detail here but rather give you the overview of how it could be done. As such take the tool lists the same way you should take an ice-slicked sidewalk - with a grain of salt.
Step 3: Version 1 - Finger Joints (Tools & Materials)
With hindsight on my side I will tell you that this I prefer version 2 to this one, but since I am not an authority on style in any respect I think this one has merit, too.
- Table saw - this is the main tool used for this version, and having or making a crosscut sled for it is highly recommended. Barring one, you can do some of the cuts with the miter gauge of your saw, but you will have to improvise somewhat (as described in the next step).
- Table saw sled - this accessory is highly recommended to improve the safety of your saw by allowing you to clamp down pieces for otherwise impossible or unsafe cuts. It can be done without one, but you will miss it. Search for "crosscut sled" here to find out how to make one.
- Sanding tools (optional) - handy in case you need to finess your joints, either to make them fit properly or to even out mating faces. I know, if you have perfect tools and skill you will not need to do that. I did...
- Mallet (optional) - to convince a joint to close up properly. I used a rubber one, but you can also make due with a wooden mallet and a piece of scrap to prevent dents.
- Router or Router Table (optional) - to round over the edges. An aesthetic choice that can also be achieved with sanding tools mentioned above.
- Wood - this version requires the stock to be slat-like, somewhere akin to a 2x4.
- Wood glue - anything that bonds wood will work here. Something that dries transparent will be more forgiving, though.
Step 4: Version 1 - Finger Joints (Execution)
You need a sturdy slat for this version, and you need pieces that meassure each as long as the parts of your design - no substracting material thicknesses in the corners.
Making the "fingers" is pretty straight forward. You cut away from one end equally from both sides in order to create a finger or tenon, then you remove material from the mating piece to create an opening for that finger - basically a mortise.
Now actually doing that can get tricky if you do not have a crosscut sled for your table saw. You can make the finger by using your mitre gauge (that is, if your saw came with one), and rather than flipping the piece (we will get to that below) you can clear out the fingers by moving the piece along, removing a kerf-width of material with every pass. It takes longer, and you will not regret making one for the time it saves alone, not to mention safety. You can make the mortise if you have enough of a daring streak by running the piece upright through the blade, similar to how you would do it with the sled, but you need to use a larger support piece behind it so it has something to rest against - and something to actually push it through.
With a sled, things get simpler and safer. As you can see in the pictures, you make the fingers by running the piece through with the blade set to slightly less than a third of the material width (first image). Then you slip the piece on end and set the blade to the hight needed to meet the first cut (second picture). Clamp a piece of scrap to the sled in a position that aligns the blade with the first cut to cut away the shoulders. Once you have the tenon, use it to mark the mating piece (third picture) and use the sled to cut out the tennon. Using another stop block makes sure that you have it centered by making cuts on both sides till it fits (fourth picture). I used a smaller piece for the angled part (as you can see in the last picture), and made the mortise to fit.
If necessary, you can use a chisel or a sander to trim the joint in order to make it fit. I also rounded over the edges as a personal design choice.
Step 5: Version 2 - the Sandwich (Tools & Materials)
I am a little partial to this solution, mainly because I think it is easier and looks better than version 1. Still, I will let you be the judge of that.
- Bandsaw - This is the main tool for this version, but it can be substituted by any saw that can cut a lone with at least moderate curve capability, like the scroll saw, the jigsaw or even a coping saw.
- Drum sander - or virtually any other sanding implement that is able to turn two offset pieces into a single surface after the glue up. A belt sander, spindle sander or a sanding pad with lots of elbow grease come to mind.
- Clamps - to keep the pieces in place for the glue up and keep the forementioned sanding to a minimum.
- Wood - for this solution, you need a board that is large enough to accommodate about three times the size of your template. Three separate pieces would work as well, but also keep in mind that you can nest the template to cut down on scraps.
- Wood glue - you probably guessed that.
I should add that for this version I actually sketched the design onto the board, something that I should have done to begin with on cardboard. And unlike the first version, I added some design features like curves and points to the outside here.
Step 6: Version 2 - the Sandwich (Execution)
I use the bandsaw to cut the sketched piece out and then use it to trace out a second one - and a third on a piece that is too small for it. I do this in order to get a shorter center piece that will create the "mortise" to connect the actual hanger to.
Since I am not restricted to straight lines on the bandsaw (and other saws of the kind), I add a few curves to the outside of the design. As an experiment, I changes these curves for the center piece. After the glue up and taking a look at the end result I wend back to the bandsaw to remove that particular design feature.
Removing glue residue and smoothing over the curves is a great job for a drum sander that I use in my drill press, but a spindle sander would work just as well. Just like on the first one, I rounded over the edges on my rounter table.
Step 7: The Hanger Bar
In its simplest form, the hanger bar - that is, the piece where the actual hangers will get mounted to - is a simple piece of slat. It needs to be attached to the top piece, and since in my design the head piece needs to be able to tilt I added a simple hinge with a piece of dowel.
To that end, I make another mortise and tenon joint, with the bottom piece of version 1 as the tenon and the mortise in the slat. For version 2, with the built-in mortise, the slat will be the tenon in this joint. In order to turn this into a hinge, though, I drill through the assembled joint with a drill bit the size of the dowel, then widen the hole in the tenon. I also loosen the joint by removing some material on the sides of the tenon. Doing this after drilling makes it easier to keep the pieces aligned. Then the dowel gets pounded into the tight-fitting holes, leaving the tenon to turn.
- Wooden slat - long enough to reach from the bottom of your head piece as far down as you want it to go on your wardrobe. This is especially important if you want kids to be able to reach it - or to keep the youngest from messing with your stuff.
- Wooden dowel - to create the hinge. Size does not really matter as long as you have a matching drill bit. Should be sturdyer than a toothpick, though.
- Drill - in order to drill a hole. What did you expect?
- Drill bit - matching the size of your dowel.
As for the actual hangers, there are again two solutions, and depending on what you need these hangers for one might be better suited for you. Again, there are countless other ways of doing this, so please share what you come up with!
Step 8: Hangers 1 - Pegs
This one is pretty straight forward - pieces of round dowel or, say, an old broom handle, attached at an angle.
- Wooden dowel - a round piece of wood. You could use a square one, too, if that fits your demands better, but in this case you will either have to chisel the round hole square to make them fit or sand the ends round. Or simply screw them in place at an angle.
- Wood glue - for, well, gluing things.
- Drill Press - While a drill can also make use of a spade bit, a drill press with a tilting table makes short work of getting everything aligned at the same angle. For a hand drill, I would recommend using a larger piece of scrap, drilling through it and then cutting it off at the desired angle so you can use it as a guide for the drill bit.
- Space Bit - the same size of your dowel.
- Dividers - or a ruler, or a compass, to make sure your pegs will end up evenly spaced.
- Rubber mallet - does not hurt to get the peg into the hole.
This step is pretty straight forward. Tilt the table of your drill press to the desired angle. I used 20°, but as long as things do not slide off of the pegs once mounted, anything goes. Use any method described above to space marks out evenly along the slat and make sure to put them along the center of the hanger mount.
You can actually drill through the wood if you want to, but stopping short will allow you not to worry about the pegs protruding on the wrong side. A little glue in each hole, followed by a peg, and you are done!
Step 9: Hangers 2 - Prongs
If you are actually making this for winter garments you might see the merits in this version. On top of it, you do not need to drill anything.
- Wooden pieces - I am a little vague here because you can make these prongs from both square as well as round stock. You need a flat surface to glue it to, but you can sand a flat spot onto almost anything. I went with a small slat here.
- Wood glue - as usual.
- Clamps - Spring clamps work best, and so do quick release clamps.
- Dividers (or a compass) - to space the prongs out evenly. Make sure to make your mark on the sides so you can glue them on top of it.
- Sanding equipment - for rounding over the square stock or for slattening the round stuff.
For each set of prongs you need two equal pieces, although you could experiment with different lengths if you so desire. If you are using square stock I recommend sanding it at least enough to break the corners in order to prevent scarves and the likes from getting caught.
Mark your holder base as described above with dividers and make up your mind regarding an angle. You can actually eyeball it here, because as long as the angle is "relatively bearable" for a wardrobe. I have tried clamping two opposing pieces together at the same time, but keeping them in place while trying to force the spring clamp on proved to be too much. So I start out gluing up one side, then the other.
And in case you are wondering why this solution is especially great for winter wardrobe, wait till you want to hang up your mittens! Plus, it kinda doubles the capacity of this hanger.
Step 10: Hang Up!
I hope you found this Instructable and the ideas therein helpful! If you get inspired to make anything based on this, please share it here so we all can see it. Do not forget to check out my video, and thanks for reading this far. If you have anything to add please let me know in the comments below.
And as always, remember to be Inspired!