Miss Kopy Kat: 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. Here is a deco mesh pumpkin... ...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 hanger...it 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 sturdy...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... ...in 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 colors...orange 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!