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Salvaged Style: An Easy DIY Upgrade for Dry Cleaner Wire Hangers

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Salvaged Style: An Easy DIY Upgrade for Dry Cleaner Wire Hangers

April 8, 2020

I remember a friend in high school making fun of her mother for reusing tinfoil and thinking to myself, “What a good idea.” I grew up in New England and Yankee thriftiness is part of my DNA—which perhaps explains my love of doctored everyday objects. I collect white cotton pillowcases that Depression-era brides embroidered modestly on the edges. I love suitcases that someone long ago improved with travel decals. And one of my favorite Remodelista posts is Justine’s DIY closet makeover in which she wrapped her wire clothes hangers in a layer of muslin to keep the clothes from slipping; see $10 and a Day.

On a recent brief stay in Madrid,  I was excited to see the same hanger technique in use at two of the city’s chicest shops. So before you toss those skinny metal dry cleaner hangers, take a look at what you can turn them into with a bit of scrap fabric. Here, three ways to wrap and elevate them.

1. All-White Hangers à la Justine

Made from cotton muslin hand-cut in half-inch-wide, yard-long strips, Justine&#8
Above: Made from cotton muslin hand-cut in half-inch-wide, yard-long strips, Justine’s hangers have a ballet ribbon-like elegance.
Starting at the neck, the wrapped muslin is simply double knotted in place. Justine points out, &#8
Above: Starting at the neck, the wrapped muslin is simply double knotted in place. Justine points out, “This project is all about recycling: an old sheet, pillowcase, or even a worn T-shirt will do.” Good fabric shears also come in handy. For detailed instructions, go to Justine’s DIY Closet Makeover.

2. Pez Madrid’s Patterned Approach

Pez (which means &#8
Above: Pez (which means “Fish”) has two locations in lively Malasana: one devoted to fashion and a newer outpost showcasing household design. At the former, owners Beatriz Mezquriz and Patricia de Salas create cloth-covered hangers several times a year to go with their seasonal palettes. Shown here: “The ice cream colors of spring-summer.”
Beatriz and Patricia buy remnants at the fabric and sewing stores near Madrid&#8
Above: Beatriz and Patricia buy remnants at the fabric and sewing stores near Madrid’s Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. “Many of these shops have leftovers that they sell at a good price. It’s hard to tell when they date from; some look like they’re from the eighties, some older than that. For wrapping hangers, what’s important is that the fabrics have small patterns, so that you can appreciate them in such a thin stripe.”
The fabric is hand-cut in long, two-centimeter-wide strips and secured to the neck of the hanger with a few stitches: &#8
Above: The fabric is hand-cut in long, two-centimeter-wide strips and secured to the neck of the hanger with a few stitches: “We sew the fabric at the top, wrap it around the hanger, and sew it again at the neck making a triangle. If we run out of fabric, we stitch another length to the end of the first, and try to hide it.”
A tip from our book, Remodelista: The Organized Home: &#8
Above: A tip from our book, Remodelista: The Organized Home: “Use matching hangers. You’ll fit more in and your closet will look much tidier.” (For more secrets to an organized closet, see pages 98-121.)

3. String-Wrapped Hangers at Do Design

Artist Lucia Ruiz-Rivas neatly winds twine around the hangers at Do Design, her concept shop and cafe in downtown Madrid&#8
Above: Artist Lucia Ruiz-Rivas neatly winds twine around the hangers at Do Design, her concept shop and cafe in downtown Madrid’s Chueca neighborhood. Note that while the other DIYers leave the wire hook exposed, Lucia wraps the whole hanger. She uses a variety of string—”the stiffer, the better”—including hemp twine (shown here) and Do’s Red and White Cotton Packing String.
Lucia uses a little piece of masking tape to secure the twine at the tip of the hanger, then tightly rolls her way around.
Above: Lucia uses a little piece of masking tape to secure the twine at the tip of the hanger, then tightly rolls her way around.
Lucia ties off the cord at the neck of the hanger with a simple knot. &#8
Above: Lucia ties off the cord at the neck of the hanger with a simple knot. “You can’t know how much twine you’ll need,” she notes, “so instead of cutting a length, it’s best to use the whole roll and go with it until the end.”

N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published on The Organized Home on June 6, 2018.

Take a look at 10 more Display-Worthy Clothes Hangers.

We’ve got plenty of closet organization ideas too, including:

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