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September 22, 2007

How to make a trellis from coat hangers

Low_and_wide_angle_on_trellis Trellis About Yourself

Here’s how to make fast, whimsical trellises for the clematis that's out of control or the morning glories that crave more vertical real estate. The Coat Hanger Trellis  installs easily over a fence or gate via the built-in hooks at the top.


Stuff You’ll Need

About 15 wire coat hangers

Light gauge wire

Linesman’s pliers

Needle-nose pliers

Tremclad paint (optional)

Pliers Start by untwisting the neck of a coat hanger by holding the hook in one hand and slowly rotating the ‘shoulders’ of the hanger with the other hand. If you do this too briskly you’ll create metal fatigue and the hook will snap off. TIP: Some coat hangers have 3 twists in the neck, some have as many as 5 twists. The more twists there are, the harder it is to get it apart without snapping the metal. No worries; just set the busted hangers aside for later.

Next, straighten the wire using linesman’s pliers to un-bend the corners of the coat hanger.

After you’ve straightened about 5 coat hangers, hang them over a fence to check and adjust length. If you want a taller trellis, form a loop at the bottom of each piece of wire and add another length of wire, chaining them together by forming loops in the ends where they join.

Next, add the cross pieces. Chop up more coat hangers, or use some of the busted, hookless ones you wrecked earlier. Use needle-nose pliers to twist both ends of each cross-piece into a decorative spiral. 

Lay the long pieces down on the ground so you’re not fighting gravity for this next part. Add the first cross piece, weaving it under and over the long wires.

Cu_wire_lashingTie each joint with an 8-inch length of light-gauge wire (26 gauge is good) wrapped in an over-and-under pattern like those goofy God’s Eye decorations we had to make in Grade 3 using popsicle sticks and yarn.  That project was slightly more fun than watching a barren seed-pot.

Add more cross pieces, alternating the weave pattern, and tie off the joints. If the shape of your trellis is wonky, slide the joints up, down or side to side until the piece is somewhat square.

At this point you have the option of spray-painting the trellis using a paint formulated for metal. Choose a rust-inhibiting paint that won’t fade. Tremclad, historically available in only staunch utilitarian colours, now comes in juicy greens, bodacious pinks, racy blues and specialty colours like anodized bronze.  Tremclad will protect your trellis from rusting and because it’s so durable, I’ve even used it on thresholds and window trim.  And bicycles, because why have a plain blue two-wheeler when you can make it Candy Pink like the one you’ve wanted ever since Grade 3?   

...and this is how the trellis looks once the glories take over.



keith hunter

i am going to be mounting steel concrete reinforcement mats on my brick garage for a trellis and i think i will add your coathanger curls to the edges. they ought to embellish and soften the mats hard edges

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