If you are using a photographer, chances are they will take the classic photo of your dress still on the hanger before you wear it. Some brides forget this and use a basic wire hanger or whatever hanger the cleaner used to hold the dress. This can detract from what can be a beautiful shot. There is no need to go out and buy a fancy bridal hangar, however. Use these easy instructions to make your own braided bridal hangar from basic plastic grocery store bags and stop them from going to the landfill in the meantime. This is also a great trick to use on hangars that hold clothing items that normally slip off their hangars. After that, buy reusable grocery bags!
What you will need:
- A plastic clothing hangar
- Approximately four (4) plastic bags per hangar you are making in contrasting colors if available
- Ribbons or sachets to embellish your hangar (Optional)
Cut the bottoms off the plastic bags you are using and discard. Unfortunately, there is still some waste with this project.
You will need to prepare a supply of plastic loops. Cut the bottom off the first bag and discard this piece. Cut straight across, two inches from the new bottom edge, to make your first loop. Repeat until you get to the top area of the bag. Discard the part with handles.
Join five loops together to make the first plastic string. This is done in the same way that children make strings of elastic bands. To join loops, thread the top of one loop through the bottom of another loop. Catch the bottom of the loop being attached and thread it back through the top of the same loop, pulling the resulting knot together. Make two strings of contrasting colors, each five loops long. You will need to add more loops as the work proceeds, as required.
To begin braiding, use two plastic strings. To make the project easier to describe I will reference the colors white and yellow but you can use any colors you have. Find the middle of both strings and place one string across the other one at the center so that, if the strings were stretched out, they would make a cross shape overlapping in the middle. Pinch the overlapping center of the strings between your fingers.
Hold the clothes hanger with your knees, with the hook pointing away from you. Hold the overlapping center of the strings firmly against the tip of the hook, so that two white strings fall on the left of the hanger and two yellow strings fall on the right.
Push the top right yellow string under the hanger so that it goes between the two white strings on the left. Bring this yellow string over the top of the hanger to the right, so it is now the bottom right string. Take the top left white string and pass it under the hanger so that it goes between the two yellow strings on the right. Bring this white string over the hanger and back to the left, so it is now the bottom left string. Repeat this pattern all the way around the hanger, adding loops to your strings as needed. (Braiding around the curves may be easier if you temporarily push the braided part back a little, continuing the braid until it can be pushed around the curve.)
When you have braided back to the base of the hook, tie off the strings. Embellish with a ribbon or sachet if you choose.
Once you get the hang of this technique try a few variations. Use nylon stockings instead of plastic bags. Salvage old wire hangers instead of using plastic by taping two wire hangers together to decorate as one hangar. You can also use just one color plastic bag but that is a bit difficult until you learn the technique pretty well.