How-to Make Plate Hangers

How to make DIY plate hangers using paper clips instead of having to buy store-bought hangers.

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… plate hangers.

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

supplies needed:

  • Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue
  • Paperclip or Safety Pin, Pop Top, or Metal Washer

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, or a safety pin.

To see more decorating tips and tricks you can browse through 35+ tips on how to paint anything here. You will be a confident painter, decorator and DIYer in no time!

DIY Plate Hanger you can make in minutes with two things.

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  1. I need to hang my plates on an outside wall on my deck . There pretty heavy what can I use I know to use goreail glue. But what about the holders

  2. A paperclip and hot glue worked a treat. To remove cured hot glue use rubbing alcohol, it works like magic!

    Thanks for the tip!

  3. I’ve used hot glue and pipe cleaners to hang plates for years! Works great!

    1. how did you do it i am trying to find away to make my mom a plate holder for the plate my brother and i made her for cheap before i go

    2. Great idea, thank you! I just found several blogs suggesting paperclips + hot glue. Those are great ideas, but I will need to go buy paperclips before I can use that idea. I read your suggestion of using pipecleaners and got excited, because I already have those on hand. I bet the fuzz on them helps them bind with the melted glue a little better than paperclips too. Thank you!

  4. Thanks for your quick reply! I didn’t rough up the back of the plates, and saw that after I had commented. Perhaps I’ll give that a shot. And yes, I used hot glue with a hot glue gun. Thanks! Hopefully I’ll have better luck this time around… :D

  5. I recently created an arrangement of plates on my kitchen-to-dining room wall. I created loops on the back with a heavy duty hemp cord and hot glued the loop to the back of my plates. Since it’s getting warmer out, they’ve begun to fall (mostly in the middle of the night, creating a large crash!) Nothing is wrong with the thread; the hot glue becomes mooshy in the heat. I’m afraid using paper clips will give the same result because, as I said, the hot glue becomes melted. Are there any other ways to hang plates without temperature being a factor? I really don’t want any hardware to show, like wire and such. I want the plates to appear like they’re floating on the wall. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Brittany – Did you rough up the surface with sandpaper where you placed the hot glue? Are you using hot glue? – not cold melt glue. You could try Disc Hangers. They sell them at Home Depot and Michaels. Check out DiskChangers dot com. They stick to the back. I have not used them, but have heard all good things about them.

  6. 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 :)

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. Bake And Sew says:

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Thanks, I`ll give it another try.

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

  14. 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!!!!

  15. Melanie J says:

    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

    1. 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

  16. Lori....Lovin Life says:

    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?

    1. 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.

  17. Infarrantly Creative says:

    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!

    1. Lori....Lovin Life says:

      @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!!!!

  18. Amy at The Red Chair Blog says:

    What a great idea! Thank you for sharing this!

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

  22. fleamarkettrixie says:

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

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

  24. Andy Porter says:

    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

  25. Plate Hanger says:

    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.

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

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

  28. 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!

  29. Diane at InMyOwnStyle says:

    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

  30. 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

  31. Mitzi Curi says:

    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.

  32. 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’.

  33. Diane@inmyownstyle says:

    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.