March 31, 2014

Coathanger Deco Mesh Carrots

When I was looking at deco mesh carrots on Pinterest recently,
I saw a lot of questions under the pictures "pinned" about 
what kind of frame is used to make them.  I'm not sure what
most folks use to make these carrots but I thought I would 
try a technique that I have used in the past to make deco
mesh shapes into door hangings. 

...and a deco mesh heart with arrow that both use
 long poufs of deco mesh on wire frames. 

The pumpkin uses a traditional wire wreath form that
can be purchased at craft stores that is already sturdy.
  The heart uses aluminum craft wire to create the
 heart shape.  The wire is easy to bend and cut but
 it needs  something rigid to provide some stability.
With the heart a wooden dowel was used and then 
disguised as an arrow. 

For a frame for the carrots I tried using 
coat hangers for stability to use with aluminum wire.
The aluminum wire is found in the floral section of craft
stores.  It is about $4 for 5 yards.  You can also find it at
Dollar Tree in 2 yard sections.  A gold-ish color is best
if you can find it for this project.  You can always
 paint the wire orange if you can't find this color.

Bend the aluminum wire into the bottom part of a carrot
shape. Twist the top parts of the wire "V" shape along
 the horizontal bar of a plastic coat hanger to attach the wire .
(Actually, you can cut the wire with regular scissors...probably not so great for the scissors but...)

How big you want to make your carrot is up to you.
The picture above shows a child's coat hanger being used.
That carrot is 27" long.  I also made a carrot shape using
an adult size plastic coat turned out 36" long. 

To help hide your frame once the deco mesh is on
paint at least one side of the coat hanger orange except
 for the hook part.  Paint the hook part green.

To attach the mesh to the coat hanger/wire frame you will
 need pipe cleaners...chenille stems is the new term for them.
You can use half a pipe cleaner for each attachment if
you want to...saves amount needed. 

Orange pipe cleaners are best but you can paint some 
orange if you need to in order to make them orange-ish. 

The photo above also shows a wire carrot frame that I 
made out of two wire coat hangers in case someone 
 didn't want to buy or couldn't find the aluminum wire.

On one wire coat hanger I pretty much left it intact 
 and twisted the hook part into a closed loop.
The other coat hanger was untwisted and reshaped
into the "v" shape and added to the first one. 

Honestly, this was harder than I thought it was going to be.
I had to use needle-nose pliers to do the twisting/untwisting
 because the wire was so sturdy.  Then it had some kind of
"tourque" to it that was hard to make it lay flat.

After some more playing with it and making the
horizontal wire arch forward, it did lay down. 
This wire coat hanger frame does not need any
additions to make it is fiesty!

I painted the white wire with orange acrylics to help hide
 it once the mesh got on.  The mesh is very see-through. 

Here is a photo of the three wire coat hanger frames
with the pipe cleaners added and then what they look 
like after the mesh is attached with the pipe cleaners
to give you an idea of where this is going: 

Attach the pipe cleaners to the frame by twisting them as
tightly as possible on then leaving the "arms" open on the
front of the frame. You are going to working mostly side 
to side with the mesh. Place the pipe cleaners in horizontal
 pairs across from each other (or at a slight angle).  
The pairs will be about 2"-3" apart from each other 
going down the frame. 

To keep the pipe cleaners where you want them
and not sliding on the frame, it is good to glue
them down. You can use regular glue if you have
time to let it dry.  Hot glue works well too.
Backside of frame

 My favorite way to glue the pipe cleaners down is to
turn the frame face down and glue from the back.
Be sure the pipe cleaners"arms" are open to the front
 before gluing.  Run the glue not only on the backside
 of the pipe cleaner twist but on the wire on either side of it. 

When the glue is dry you can start attaching the mesh.
This 21" wide orange mesh is from Hobby Lobby.
It is regularly $10 for a 30' roll. It is on sale frequently.
You will need less than one roll per carrot. 

For the top of the carrot you can attach the mesh
poufs along the line of the coat hanger or horizontally.
following line of coat hanger

going horizontally

Either way, leave a very generous "tail" of deco mesh
before your first pouf.  When you tuck the tail behind the
carrot shape at the end of attaching process it will
 help visually fill in the top of the carrot.

To make the mesh poufs gather the mesh along the width
in your fingers keeping it pinched as you go. 

Place your gathered/pinched mesh on top of a pipe
cleaner attachment then use the "arms"  to hold your
gathered mesh in place. Twist two times. 

Move down the mesh roll further than the next attachment
point is in inches and make another gather. Test to see if you
like the way the mesh poufs when you place it on the next
set of pipe cleaners "arms".  If you do, twist it down. 

After you have the top of the carrot done, start moving
from side to side on the wire part of the frame using the same
technique but in bigger/longer poufs. 

Try to keep enough (but not too much) mesh pouf over 
the side of the frame so that it visually covers it in most places.

Also leave a "tail" of mesh at the end of the carrot.
Pull the beginning and ending "tails" to the backside
of the frame.  Tuck each tail into the back of a nearby pouf.
Usually it will stay by itself but if you need to make
it more secure, use a pipe cleaner to attach it to the frame.

You can use the ends of the pipe cleaners to help
the edges of the poufs cover the wire frame. 

Poke the pipe cleaner through the weave of the mesh and
kind of "sew" it onto the frame. Twist any remaining pipe
cleaner to the back of the frame. If you painted your pipe
cleaners and the color is not great and it shows, you can
dab a little more paint on it at this point. 

For the plastic hangers I added another piece of floral
wire to the hook portion so that the wind would not blow
 the carrot off of the door hanger. Paint that wire green.

To make the carrot "leaves" I got this stem of plastic
grasses at Hobby Lobby on sale for $5.

If you wanted to be extravagant you could use the whole
thing on one carrot but I am cheap so I cut it up to use on three.

Wire each carrot's portion (if you cut it up) back into a bundle.
Then place it in front of the hanger and wire it to the vertical
portion of the coat hanger hook. 

Here are the three deco mesh carrots made using the
large horizontal poufs...
Made on adult-size plastic coat hanger

Made on child-size plastic coat hanger

Made on two wire coat hangers to make frame

The carrot made from the wire hangers used the horizontal
deco mesh on the top too so here is a close-up of that:

The shape that this carrot turned out reminds me of a
well-endowed lady.  I came across this photo of 
 carrot-topped actress Christina Hendricks:
Her dress even has that horizontal ruching that our carrot does!
Mae West once said that the only carrots that interested 
her were the ones in her diamonds. 

If you like the look of a deco mesh carrot that has
smaller poufs, here is a way to achieve that with a 
coat hanger too....

Start with a package of floral netting.  This one is from Joann's.
It is only $3 for a 12" by 48" piece (or less with coupon).

Poke the hook portion of a plastic coat hanger through the
floral netting about 8" from the end and in the middle.

Fold down the end and bend the cut ends of the wires around
the horizontal bar of the hanger also catching the other side
of the floral netting with the cut wire ends.  You are making
like an wire envelope around the hanger. 

Shape the upper points of the netting to conform to 
the shape of the hanger.  It is easy to bend. 

Decide how long you want your carrot to be. 
Instead of cutting the floral netting, I just bent it up
at the length I wanted the carrot to be.  Not only was
that easier than cutting the wire, it also added strength. 

Bend the end of the netting into a point.

Paint most of the coat hanger and the floral netting with
a coat of orange acrylic paint...doesn't have to be perfect. 

Twist on some cut-in-half orange pipe cleaners to the
 hanger part of the frame to get you started... a pattern similar to this:

No gluing necessary since the netting keeps the pipe 
cleaners from going very far. 

I have made a deco mesh carrot with lots of small poufs
but the frame was different. I think this mesh netting frame on
a coat hanger is  easier to make and gives very similar results. 
Deco Mesh Carrot made on a frame made with wire and wooden dowels

I wasn't sure where to put the pipe cleaners on the 
netting ahead of time (makes attaching the mesh much
 easier) but here is a diagram of where they ended up being.
This shows the carrot from the backside in case
you want to know where to place pipe cleaners:
The "x" shows pipe cleaner attachment placement.
The "o" shows the beginning and ending tail tie
down on the back using pipe cleaners. 

Feel free to add more pipe cleaners where ever
you think they need to be as you attach the mesh.

You make the mesh poufs the same way as the carrots
also in this post but they are smaller and more numerous.
You work your way down going from side to side
making and attaching poufs on the pipe cleaners. 

An advantage of this frame is that you have built in 
places to attach carrot "hairs" made from deco mesh
tubing  if you want to.  The tubing is in the same section
as the other deco mesh at Hobby Lobby but it only comes
in a limited number of is not one of them.

You can pull out that paintbrush and acrylic paint again
and paint you some white tubing orange. It is only $6 for
25 yards (less with coupon or on sale).

Make the tubing "hairs" by making a very lop-sided bow
with 3 - 5 loops on it.  Wrap the side with the short loops with
floral wire leaving long "legs" on the wire so it can be used
to attach the "hairs" onto the wire netting. 

It is easier to paint the "hairs" after you loop them than 
while it is still long. I tried mixing red and yellow to get
an orange close to the color of the main mesh. 

When they are dry you can decide where you want them 
on your carrot and then push the base through the netting.

Use the floral wire "legs" used to secure the loops to also
attach the "hairs" to the frame. 

You can also use the mesh tubing to make curly green
 toppers for your carrots. 

Using floral wire (available in craft stores floral section)
cut a piece about 24" long.  Bend the ends into a small flat
loops (so it won't poke out the sides of the tubing as you 
are threading it). Thread the wire through a length of tubing.

When the wire is all the way into the tubing, push it in 
a few more inches.  Tie the end of the tubing, trapping the
wire. Then, making sure you have enough tubing to enclose
the wire, cut the other end leaving several inches and 
tie it off also in a knot. Clip excess tubing past the knots.

Paint the wire and tubing green.  I thought it was easier to
paint the wired tubing flat before curling. 

When dry, twist your wired tubing into spirals.
Gather them into a bunch and wire the bases together. 

Attach the bunch to the front side of the coat hanger hook.

Well, for such a big carrot I think I need more curly
top spirals or add something else to them. 
Some Dollar Tree plastic greenery from the attic gets
a "greening up" with acrylic paint...

...and then they get added to the big carrot.

The possibilities of how to top off your carrot are endless
but here are a couple more ideas...
Cut a 12" section of 21" green deco mesh.
Roll it into a tube shape and pinch it in the middle.
Use a pipe cleaner or floral wire to hold the rolled mesh
in place. Use the wire to attach several of the rolls to the
coat hanger top. 

This next idea is from a cute tutorial by Mardi Gras Outlet.
They sell all kinds of deco mesh products online at good prices.
(They don't pay me or give me product to say that.)

Cut three or four 10" sections of 10" green deco mesh ribbon.
If you want a variety of greens in this carrot topper you
can buy different colors of green mesh or (surprize!) you
can paint some with acrylic paint. 
These short pieces of mesh will naturally roll up. 
With the sides rolling up towards you, pinch the center of
a square of the mesh. About 2" from the point of the pinch
wrap the pinched mesh with floral wire.  Gather 3 or 4 pinched
and wired squares together to form a carrot top.  For a bigger
carrot you can make more bunches of pinched/wired mesh.

For a price breakdown for each carrot I'm going to assume
that you have a coat hanger and some acrylic paint.
aluminium wire $1
pipe cleaners $1
orange mesh $10
green floral wire $2
green topper $3-ish (depends what you pick)

The floral netting (if used instead of aluminum wire) is $3. 
 This and any of the above prices could
be 40% - 50% less with sales or coupons.

That's a fairly large door door decoration for not 
much money at all!  Plus you will have fun making it!


  1. Your carrots are so cute! I love how you gave such a detailed tutorial on making them. :)

  2. Wow, these mesh carrots are so beautiful. I especially love the one made with chicken wire! Wow again!

  3. WOW!!! I am SO HAPPY to find your post!!! I had wanted to do a carrot for my door, but couldn't justify the expense of a cone frame I'd seen at Hobby Lobby for the purpose ($11.99 for the frame only) Your post makes this a FAR MORE ECONOMICAL project!!!

  4. WOW, that is fantastic. And all the clever ways. So cute:)

  5. Now that is both gorgeous and cute at the same time!!!...You did an incredible job!...

  6. Excellent all possible ideas we have to rule out options that give us the Hanger factory that are absolutely classic

  7. Excellent instructions. Very detailed and through.

  8. Thank you for all the wonderful details.....I didn't have to ask myself "how did she do that?"

  9. YOu are my idol!!The instructions were spot on..Easy to understand all the way thru..thanks so much.

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