Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tutorial: DIY Vintage Sock Stretchers (Christmas decor!)

I was browsing through my "inspiration" photo folder the other day and came across an image that I'd forgotten about.

Aren't those vintage sock stretchers a-freakin-DORABLE?! Then I recently came across this photo of a child sized pair and decided I just had to try and make some of my own.

I've written up a little tutorial in case you'd like to try this project yourself.

DIY Vintage Sock Stretchers

sheet of 1/2" thick MDF or wood
2 C clamps (optional)
jig saw
electric drill
hole saw attachment (1" for child size stretchers, 1.5" for adult size)
electric sander and/or sand paper
sponge brush
ribbon or twine

First, draw your stretcher shapes onto paper to make templates and cut them out. I used my inspiration photos to mimic the shapes I wanted to cut.

If you have clamps, secure your sheet of MDF (what I used) or wood to a tabletop or saw horses to stabilize it while you cut. Let enough of the sheet hang over the edge of the table so you can cut out your shapes without cutting into the table.

Trace your sock shapes onto the wood, fitting them as close together as possible, then cut out with your jig saw.

Mark on your paper templates where you want your large holes to be, then poke small holes in the centers with your pencil and transfer these small marks onto each piece.

Here's a picture of the kind of hole cutting attachment you'll want to buy for your drill. You can buy them in individual sizes, or as sets. I bought a set of 4 from Home Depot for about $13. Just make sure the kind you buy is meant to be used on wood.

Using your small pencil marks as your guide, cut out each hole.

I found that if I cut about halfway through on one side, then flipped the piece over and came through from the other side, I got much neater results. The drill bit that's part of the mandrel will poke through the other side before the hole cutter does, so when you flip the piece over you can just place the drill bit right into that hole so you're cutting in the right place. (Hope that made sense.)

Next, smooth out the edges and the insides of the holes using a hand sander and/or sand paper. I used an electric sander for the outside edges then just folded a piece of sandpaper and curled it up to fit inside the holes and did that part by hand.

Now you're ready to paint!

I just used regular acrylic craft paint and a sponge brush, but you could also use spray paint if you wanted.

I did a pretty messy job, but I knew I'd be distressing them quite a bit later so I didn't care.

Once your paint is dry you can distress the sock stretchers as much or as little as you want. You could also use a little stain or glaze to antique them even further.

I also wiped mine with a little bit of polyurethane, but this isn't absolutely necessary.

When you're done, thread some ribbon or twine through the top hole (or drill a smaller hole closer to the top if necessary) to use for hanging. Here are a few of my finished ones.

This one is hung with a strip of cotton fabric that I tore off then frayed the edges.
They're not genuine vintage sock stretchers, but can you really tell the difference? Let me know if you give this project a try- I'd love to see the results!

Wouldn't these be cute as everyday decor? I really want to make a few wood ones and leave them natural. Or how about using those itty bitty ones in a nursery? *gasp! So sweet. But I really love the idea of using them as Christmas decorations.

Now if only I had a fireplace to hang some of these from...


ioannaoi said...

i like it very much!:)

Sarah said...

Hi there! I just found your blog from a pin on Pinterest. I've enjoyed my visit and look forward to visiting often. You have great ideas! :-)

Anonymous said...

You might not want to hang these from a fireplace. You wouldn't want to burn down your house.

Lisa Vinci said...

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