How-to Make Plate Hangers

by Diane Henkler on 12/14/2009

Back in 1994 I wrote a book entitled, Instant Decorating. It was a project driven how-to book using the tips and tricks I learned as a display designer. Display designers use simple, unconventional methods to minimize time, expense, and effort. I basically had to rely on ingenuity to get the job done. No curtain rod for a display window – I would have to figure out a way to hang it without purchasing a rod, while still making it look stylish – a wire coat hanger worked well. I learned early in my career that what you can’t see can easily be faked-which leads me to this project.

I love to use plates as wall décor, not only are they decorative, and easy to change, but they are also inexpensive to buy at flea markets and retailers like Home Goods, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx. This trick to make plate hangers works well for hanging desert size or lightweight plates, not heavy plates or platters. It is as simple as hot-gluing a paperclip to the back of a plate.

How to use a paper clips to make plate hangers

 How To Make a Plate Hanger Using a Paper Clip



Hot Glue Gun and Hot glue

1.  Lightly roughen up the area on the back of the plate where you are going to attach the paper clip with sandpaper or an emery board. The best place is usually right under the rim.

2.  Make sure the area is clean and dry.

 3.  Bend the paper clip a little to create the hook.

Plate-hanger made with a paper clip

4. Place a bit of hot glue the size of the paperclip on the back of the plate and holding the bent portion of the paperclip (don’t burn yourself) quickly press the paper clip into the hot glue.

How to make a plate hanger using a paper clip

  1. Add more hot glue onto the top of the paperclip and wait until it is cool before handling the plate.Once cooled, hang the plate.

Plate Wall Hanging Ideas

These decorative saucers have been hanging on this wall with paperclips for approximately 10 years. I have taken them down to clean, paint the wall, and to create different arrangements with them from time to time. The paperclips have never come off.

If you don’t have a paper clip, try a soda pop top, or a metal washer that you would use with a screw.




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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pat December 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Great idea! I honestly don’t care for the regular plate hangers. This method allows the beauty of the plate to show without the typical ‘metal and wires’.


2 Diane@inmyownstyle December 14, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Hi Pat- I came up with the idea because the plates were small and all the plate hangers I found were too big. I agree with you that wire plate hangers with the springs on the back can take away from the plates design. Thanks for the comment.


3 Mitzi Curi December 20, 2009 at 6:41 am

I think your idea is genius! I detest those wire hangers. Recently I attached some hangers called “D” hangers from the hardware store to the backs of some silverplate trays. I used E-6000 and it worked very well.


4 patricia December 29, 2009 at 8:28 pm

What a wonderful idea
Yesterday I purchased some small white saucer size plates for my wall and I am THRILLED to have read this idea~
Thank you for sharing and I am now a follower of your site~ it is AWESOME


5 Diane at InMyOwnStyle December 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Hi Patricia- I am so happy that you found me and that I provided you with an idea that you are going to use. Thanks for the comment and joining my site. Diane


6 Kati December 30, 2009 at 10:26 pm

truly genius!! I started a plate collection 2 months ago, and recently purchased 4 more lightweight plates that I wanted to display on the wall! Thank you soooooooooooooooooooo much for the idea!


7 patricia January 7, 2010 at 7:27 pm

it works… it really works and i am posting about it tomorrow on my blog!!
thank you Diane!!!!


8 Plate Hanger January 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm

If the plate hangers are too big, you can also get the cloth adhesive disc plate hangers and cut them to a smaller size. They also work really well, but cost a little more.


9 Cris January 8, 2010 at 6:46 pm

That is just a fabulous idea!!! I have lots of pretty plates and saucers…Thank you :)


10 Andy Porter January 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Wow! I’m surprised! When I saw hot glue I thought surely they would fall down! 10 yrs!! Can’t beat that! Good to know! Plate hangers can be so expensive! I’m excited!

Poppies at Play


11 Becky January 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm

So smart. I like free! Thanks for linking up to my first party.


12 fleamarkettrixie January 16, 2010 at 10:51 pm

I do the same thing with my plates, I use epoxy and twist ties, it works great and no ugly plate hangers.


13 Laura February 11, 2010 at 12:50 am

Oh YEAH!!! I can’t wait to hang my plates now! I hate traditional plate hangers. And these are perfectly in my budget! :)


14 Tracey February 24, 2010 at 11:25 am

Thank you!!! I recently started using plates to decorate (I know, I am late to the party) and often the plate hangers don’t allow the plates to hang flat. This solves the problem.


15 Mel May 28, 2010 at 10:08 am

I’m late to the party also (only 6 months), but I wanted to say that I love this tip and will definitely be using it soon.


16 Amy at The Red Chair Blog July 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm

What a great idea! Thank you for sharing this!


17 Infarrantly Creative July 11, 2010 at 2:52 pm

It really is strong enough? I really love that idea. It is a great idea! I hate those plate hangers that clip onto the plate and I am too cheap to buy dischangers, although I think they are brilliant. Thanks for the tip!


18 Lori....Lovin Life July 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm

@Infarrantly Creative,
I had no luck with the DISC hangers…I applied them correctly just as the directions said and the plate was not too big or heavy and they came off the plates and caused my plates to fall after a few days. The adhesive is temperature sensitive, the heat in the winter seemed to make it lose its stickyness! So, I’ll definitely be trying the paper clip method!!!!


19 Lori....Lovin Life July 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Oh my goodness! Thanks for posting this! I do not care for the hangers that show the wires and I even tried the DISC adhesive hangers, but they came off the back and the plates fell after a few days!!!!! I am going to try this….if it has worked for you for 10 years hopefully it will work for me!!!! How heavy do you estimate your plates are?


20 Diane July 16, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Hi Lori-

I use mostly dessert plates and tea cup saucers, but have a few in my kitchen that are a bit larger. The key is to rough up the back and clean it before applying the hot glue. I hope this helps. I have them all over my house and not once have any of them fallen off.


21 Melanie J September 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Awesome quick solution. I run to Dollar Tree often to buy those plate hangers! Now I can just go to my junk drawer or my desk, whichever is closest! Thanks so much! I was a retail merchandiser and paper clips were big lifesavers! lol


22 Diane September 12, 2010 at 10:15 am

Hi Melanie-

Nice to connect with a fellow “display-ette”. I am sure you have plenty of little tricks like this that you do when putting up merchandise displays also.

My best- Diane


23 Mary December 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Hi Diane! I’m so glad to have found you! I have your book Instant Decorating (bought it in 1994) and love it. I use a method similar to yours to hand plates, etc. only I use the pop top from soda cans, bend them and glue them on. Love everything you do!!!!


24 Linda June 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I hung about a dozen plates using the paper clips. After about two months, they started falling off the walls. I followed the directions so I`m not sure what went wrong.


25 Diane June 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Hi Linda-

I am not sure what you might have done wrong. I wish I could see how you did it, then I could pinpoint exactly what went wrong. Mine have been hanging for years and have never come off. Did you rough up the back of the plate where the hot glue goes? Was the area clean? Hmmmm – What size plates did you hang? Mine are all dessert size or teacup saucers. I also hung ceramic masks that my daughter made in art class this way. They hung in her bathroom for years and never fell off. One of these 3 things is probably the reason they fell off – Plate too heavy, did not rough up the back surface where hot glue went with an emery board or sandpaper to create something for the hot glue to adhere to, or the hot glue was not hot enough when you applied it. I wait until the glue is very, very hot and apply a big glob. A cold glue gun will not work. Let me know if this helps.


26 Linda June 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

Thanks, I`ll give it another try.


27 Lisa October 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I have a friend that did this BUT she used super glue. Her plates have been hanging for years. Super glue dries hard and I think the glue from a glue gun is much different. She also used a paper clip but it’s in the super glue. Maybe this is a good idea? I’m debating hanging my haviland, hand painted plates this way. The wire hangers can actually chip plates. Mine are very collectible so I want to do this right.


28 wendy January 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Hey there, great idea! I am looking for something that will work on a frameless beveled mirror. Of course it is larger and heavier, but I am wondering if this idea or something similar might work. It was actually oneof those felt back mirrors that you lay on a table, but I am hanging it in a mirror grouping in my LR. It was the perfect size and shape and only $3!! So what do u think, any guesses.


29 Bake And Sew June 7, 2013 at 12:37 am

I am giving this a go right now! Thank you for the post.


30 Donna June 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Just found you on Pinterest and am going forward from your first posts. Love this idea…I scored some nearly free 4 inch plates with Live/ Love/ Laugh embellishment and had no idea how to hang them til now…thanks!


31 Ruth December 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I wanted to hang these plates and did not want to spend on plate hangers so I googled how to make your own plate hangers. I just did three plates, and so far it looks like they dried very quickly and the connection feels strong. Thanks for such a great especially since I am on a budget!


32 Louisa January 31, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Love this idea! I’ve been looking for a way to hang a few plates without spending extra for, either spring backed hangers, or sticky hangers. This solves my pickle!!! Thanks for sharing your applicable knowledge and helping me achieve a happily decorated space :)


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