Coathanger Christmas Tree
by Sunni Bergeron as taught to me by my Aunt Ruth
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6 wire coathangers
Lots of twist ties, tape or string
1 string of Christmas lights (35-50 bulbs)
2 to 4 garlands (the thicker they are, the fewer you'll use)
Click on any picture with a green border for a closer look.
Group the hangers into three pairs. Secure one corner of each pair with a twist tie, a sticky tape (i.e. duct tape) or piece of string. See figure on the left. This will temporarily hold the hangers together while you assemble the frame. Working in your lap, take ahanger pair and place them on your left thigh with the hooks pointing toward your right leg and the tied corner toward your knee. Take another hanger pair and place them on your right thigh with the hooks pointing toward your left leg and the tied corner toward your knee. See figure on the left. Using twist ties/tape/string, tie the corners toward your knees together. Arrange the hooks neck to neck. Take a twist tie/tape/string and secure the two hanger pairs together just above the hooks as shown in figure on the left. . Some wire coathangers have straight wire from the hook to the curve. My demonstration has the "neckline" shaped into the hangers. Extra twist tie/tape/string can be added at the bends in the wire if desired. Pick up the remaining hanger pair and, holding them with the hooks pointing toward the floor, place the tied corner with the tied corners of the two hanger pairs in your lap. Make sure the hooks on hanger pair you are adding pass below the other two sets of hooks and stick out on the floor side of the hangers. See figure on the left. Using the existing twist ties/string, tie the three corners together. Again using the existing twist tie/string in the center down by the hooks, secure all three hangers. At this point you should have three "legs" - one on your left thigh, one on your right thigh and one up the middle of your torso. Now remove the temporary ties on the corners. Spread the hanger pairs out until they look like a tripod and place them on the floor in front of your feet. (Or on a table in front of you.) See figures on the left. Pick up a twist tie/string and, starting with the pair of hooks facing you, spread them apart. Using the twist tie/string, secure the hook on your left to the wire of the hanger to the left of the hook. Pick up another twist tie/string and secure the hook on your right to the wire of the hanger to the right of the hook. Turn your tripod so another pair of hooks is facing you. Repeat the process for this pair and the next pair. Securing all six hooks to all six wires ensures the stability of the tree, prevents any wobbly legs and allows for some pretty rough handling.
Pick up the string of lights with the plug hanging down toward the floor. Dangle the string down the middle of the tree so the first light up from the plug is down by the hooks. Secure the string at the top and bottom of the "tree trunk" with twist tie/string. See the figure on the left and note the arrows.
Wrap the lights in circular fashion or up and down the hangers, whichever works best for you. Secure here and there as needed with twist ties/string to keep the light string in place.
I wrap mine in circular fashion so I secure them now and then with scotch tape as I go along to make absolutely sure they won't move around. If one string of lights isn't enough, simply plug the next string in and simply continue wrapping until you get to the last bulb. Be sure you have lights all the way down to within the last inch of the base of the hangers.
Pick up a garland and dangle about 3-5 inches of it down the center of the tree frame. Secure it at the very top with a twist tie/string. Secure the dangling end if you like things tidy.
Wrap the tree by going round and round until you've reached the bottom. Keep the garland wrapped tightly so you get no gaps and it will stay nice and full. (Don't worry about the lights not showing through just yet - we'll come back to that.) If you run out of garland before you get to the bottom, tuck the last few inches between the previous wraps and pick up the next garland. Secure a few inches of one end between the previous wraps and then continue wrapping. Repeat this until you have the entire frame wrapped down to the tips of the hangers. Tuck the last few inches between the previous wraps. Secure here and there with twist ties/string as you see fit. If you have excess garland secure it to the frame where you judge it should end, and - for now - let the excess dangle free.
Now tip the tree over on its side and poke any lightbulbs you see through the garlands to the outside. When you've done that, stuff any excess garland up the middle and secure it with twist ties/string so it doesn't fall out.
Place your tree upright and decorate it. Plug it in and enjoy it!
NOTE: The lights do get warm, but not hot enough to be a hazard. I have used these trees several years in a row and have left them plugged in 8-10 hours at a time. Just follow normal safety and unplug the tree when nobody's there or everyone's asleep! Or just get the new L.E.D. lights.
Polymer Clay Projects
Online Jigsaw Puzzles of my polymer clay projects or
Online Jigsaw Puzzles of photographs I've taken in Oregon
Different desktop backgrounds.
Different craft offerings for your enjoyment. My way of saying thank you!
1) Coathanger Christmas Tree
2) Coathanger Wreath
3) Origami Giftbox
4) Tiny Hinges
Copyright 2004-2013 Colleen D. Bergeron.
Last revised: February 20 2013