How to Make a Vintage Plate Wall with Cheap DIY Plate Hangers

If you’re like me and you’ve been stumped as to what to do with your vintage china collection that has been accumulating in your kitchen cabinets, here’s a cheap & easy DIY idea for making a vintage plate collage to hang on your wall.

I discovered that plate hangers from stores can be expensive at $3-4 each if you want to hang a large number of plates like I did. I came up with a way to use binder clips instead of plate hangers.

Step 1: Create the layout

Creating a layout that you like is made much easier by using a long piece of paper and spreading it out on your table or floor. I used a roll of brown kraft paper, but you could use the back side of wrapping paper.

Lay the plates on your paper and keep moving them around until you find an arrangement that you like and fits your space. I wanted to find a balance between symmetrical and whimsical, so arranged mine in a sort of cascade.

Make sure to keep the paper level with your design, as you will be using this as a template and hanging it on your wall.

Step 2: Trace around your plates

Once you’ve settled on your layout, use a Sharpie or other marker to quickly trace around your plates. This doesn’t need to be perfect, as you’re just creating a template to hang on the wall. You can see my tracing in the image above.

Step 3: Attach plate hangers

Instead of buying a dozen or so plate hangers, I used a box of binder clip I found in my desk drawer. Squeeze one side of the wire clip handle to remove from the metal clip. You will be able to get two wire pieces from each binder clip.

(I did use a few plate hangers in this collage that I already had laying around the house.)

Flip your plate over and use a nail file to rough up the rim on the back of the plate. This will help the hot glue adhere better. I used Gorilla Glue hot glue.

Place a generous amount of glue on the back of the plate on the rim. Stick your clip into the hot glue and push it down into the glue gently. Then add a bit more hot glue on top. So, add glue, add clip, more glue on top.

I used the binder clip without it’s “handles” to prop up the clips while the hot glue was cooling. Remove that part of the binder clip after the hot glue has set.

Step 4: Mark your nail holes

Flip each plate back over so they are right-side-up and inside the lines you traced for each plate.

Use a sharpie to make a little mark on the paper where each nail should be right under the clips that you just glued on. Do this for each plate.

Step 5: Take a picture of your plate collage

Standing above your layout, take a picture of your collage so you can more easily remember which plates go where.

Step 5: Hang your vintage plate collage

Take your plates off of the paper and move to the floor. I found it helpful when hanging them on the wall to lay them out in the same way I had them on the paper.

Using painters or masking tape, hang your paper template on your wall, making sure it’s centered for your space and level.

Using the marks you made for your nails as a guide, hammer nails into your wall through the paper. Once all of your nails are in, gentle tear the paper off of the wall. The nails will remain in the wall.

Now hang your plates in their spots. Use the photo you took of your layout as a reference guide.

Voila! Now you have an easy and cheap way to display your vintage plate or china collection.

Disclaimer: I did have one plate fall off the wall, but I didn’t do the nail file method. Please don’t use this method to hang your heirloom china or anything that you would be devastated if it fell off of the wall and shattered. Invest in some actual plate hangers for special pieces.

Disclosure: I use affiliate links in my posts. This allows me to receive compensation for my reviews, recommendations, affiliate links and/or any other method of influencing I do that results in obtaining a benefit for myself.

About Lauren Thorp

Having "retired" from the world of fast-paced tech startups, Lauren instead sought to exercise her creativity by opening a home and gift boutique. When she and her family bought a home in the Historic Shaw Neighborhood in South St. Louis City in 2016, she was ecstatic that it came with a retail space on the side of the property that used to be a candy shop over 100 years ago. She is renovating it into dream shop filled with a rustic bohemian mix of vintage home decor, gift items for the family, and launching in early 2019, a selection of women's clothing. For more information on her clothing, join her Facebook Group at


  1. In the picture it looks like you left the metal part on the binder clip. The text says you removed it. Which works?

    • I used the binder clip without it’s “handles” to prop up the clips while the hot glue was cooling. Remove that part of the binder clip after the hot glue has set.