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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Craft Paper Is Not Wine Resistant

Since July, a nail sticking out of the wall has served as my bag hook in my office on campus. Last week I finally decided this had to change. Not only was the nail scuffing up the faux leather handle of my schoolbag, but it only allowed me to hang one thing at a time. Come winter, where would I put my coat? What if I had office guests who also had coats?? A solitary nail could not meet these needs. Winter is coming, and the code of good hostessing requires coat hooks. Clearly a crafting session was in order.

I found a piece of wood in the shed that was roughly 14" x 5". I sanded the edges and applied a single coat of stain to the side with the most interesting grain.

After stain
Before stain

I had saved the knobs that came with my armoire before I refinished it, so repurposed 3 of them as "hooks" for this project. I spray painted the knobs using an oil-rubbed bronze color left over from painting planters. This gave them a subtle bit of shine.

On the back side (unstained side) of the wood I marked where the knobs should go then drilled the holes for the screws. When pre-drilling a screw hole, remember to choose a drill bit that the same size or slightly smaller than the screw itself so the threads can grip the wood rather than rattle around inside a too-large hole. Also, the old adage of "measure twice, cut once" applies here as well.

I now had the basics complete: a piece of wood with 3 "hooks." The next step was to spruce it up a bit. If you recall, my office on campus is a peculiar combination of dried blood-colored walls and teal trim. I needed a to design a hook that was neutral in palette but still visually interesting. I also wanted a texture that contrasted with the wood but still felt organic. I had some craft paper on hand so I played around with color and pattern combinations.

Mondo Guerra: pattern guru
For those of you who are/were Project Runway fans, my decorating aesthetic runs parallel to Mondo Guerra's fashion aesthetic: more pattern, more better! Not surprisingly, then, I chose two papers with contrasting patterns: a dark grey diagonal stripe and a golden honeycomb design. Both were geometric in nature and contrasted nicely with the organic swirls of the wood's grain.

I chose the diagonal pattern as the base paper and layered a narrower piece of the honeycomb paper over it using ye olde Elmer's gluestick. No need to get fancy, folks. I made three of these then glued them to the board, one centered over each screw hole.

Then I spilled a glass of red wine on it. Herein I discovered that craft paper is not wine resistant. Happily, I had extra paper but there's a life lesson here: when crafting, go stemless.

With the knobs screwed in over the (new) paper background, I was pretty pleased with the overall effect. Plus, I had now tripled my "storage" space. The fact the wood was faintly scented with pinot noir was an added bonus.
A piece of gardening twine serves as a practical and durable hanger. Tying each end of the twine around the outside screws and then tightening the screws keeps the twine secure. As the knobs made the piece front-heavy I took two small nails, hammered them partway into the board, and bent the rest over the twine on each side near the top of the board. This anchored the twine firmly against the board, preventing the board from leaning out away from the wall when hung.

And there you have it! A homemade hanger that has my office ready for the demands of winter apparel. A few scrap materials, a little ingenuity, a little wine, and a little time. That's how I do nesting.

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