Hanging suggestions for collection of antique utensils

vitaminsMay 24, 2011

I have been hanging around GW for several months and have learned a lot here. I wish I had discovered you before I was too firmly entwined in the layout for my kitchen remodel, as I think there are several talented individuals here who might have been able to fine-tune the layout and come up with a better design.

But my remodel is almost complete now, and what I would like help on is suggestions for displaying at least a portion of my extensive collection of old kitchen utensils. I have a large collection of old graters, old potato mashers, old rolling pins, etc. Too say my old kitchen was eclectic is an understatement to say the least. In fact, my BIL once told me, when I was talking about having the kitchen remodeled, that I couldn't do that as my kitchen had too much "character". That it did, not to mention much too much clutter.

Anyway, back to the subject of my post, I would really like some suggestions as to tasteful ways to hang some of my extensive collection of utensils that will fit in with my new shaker style kitchen. In my old kitchen, many of my utensils were displayed on pegboard, though my collection of old rolling pins was just in my old hoosier-style cabinet as I never found any way to display them. (The hoosier also will not make it to the new kitchen.)

I would love to have suggestions of ways to display at least two or three rolling pins at a time, plus ways to display some of the graters, potato mashers, etc. that would look good with my "new" kitchen.

Boxerpups, do you have any pictures in your wonderful collection that could help me?

Here is a picture of part of my "old" display:

From Kitchen collection

And here are a couple of picture of my "new" kitchen:

From Kitchen collection From Kitchen collection

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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I think the area above the sink window could house a small collection of something. Could you put a series of graters on a ledge up there? Any other open wall space?

I saw Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian, and utensils displayed on pegboard worked for her!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:36AM
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I love your cabinets and counters. I would do groupings such as keeping the graters together and likewise. While you have many interesting utensils it seems as a few are plastic and since you have so many I wonder if you really need to display all of them. Your kitchen has such a clean look and you don't show any other areas other than above the sink where there may be display room.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 8:03AM
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You don't show much wall space, but if there is some areas, how about shadow boxes with a few of your favourite pieces that you can change out when you want a different view?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 8:58AM
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A shaker peg rack is in keeping with your cabinets..

I agree with Paige16, your collection would benefit by grouping like with like - everything is jumbled together now. You could also put your spoons in a utensil holder - just a pot on the counter.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 9:10AM
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from martha stewart. I don't know how to post pictures from someone else's website, but images 2 and 4 might be perfect for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: martha stewart 25 kitchen organizers

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 9:20AM
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Also from Martha, her rolling pin display case, below.

And this is how she keeps some, more accessible,

What sort of space do you have for display, besides what's in the pictures? If you have space for some pegboard, such as on a pantry or basement door, what about painting the pegboard to match the wall color and trimming it with molding? You could also just display a small part of the collection and swap the pieces out every so often...

PS Would love to see pics of your old eclectic kitchen!


Here is a link that might be useful: MS rolling pin display case

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 10:00AM
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You could make a nice "valance" of sorts by hanging some in/over the window.

I have a collection of miniature antique utensils. They have tiny red gingham bows attached to hang them from a small Christmas tree that sits on the counter. I only bring them out at Christmas but it gives the kitchen such a homey feeling.

I agree with the previous poster that it's just too much. It's visual overload. You have a great collection but it would be more effective if it were grouped more cohesively.

Maybe put all the graters together on a shelf and hang all the spoons under it, etc. But the first step needs to be some judicious paring down.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 10:19AM
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On "That 70s Show", I recall that the kitchen had pendant lights made from box graters! (Hmmm... Maybe not.)

I have some vintage utensils, but I use them, and they live in the cabinets.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 11:49AM
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I'd want the collection grouped, and behind glass. How do you keep something like this *clean* in a kitchen?

BTW your remodel looks *just fine* to me!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 11:59AM
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Thanks for your suggestions so far. Yes, I do have wall space. Sorry I didn't include pictures of it in my original post, but we are in the process of painting. Here is the wall space where I used to have my old hoosier cabinet. Right now there is my 16 month-old grandson's chair (on an antique shaker chair) in that space. But there will likely be my old shaker desk (with a piece of granite for rolling out pie dough, etc.) there. But there could be a some hanging display above it.
From Wall space

There is also wall space on either side of the pocket door into the dining room:
From Wall space From Wall space

I do have a couple of old crocks on the counter with things I use regularly (one with wooden utensils and one with silicone), so would not be hanging anything like that.

Thanks for any help.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 12:58PM
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Please post again when you figure it out!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Hi Vitamins: I love your collection of vintage utensils. While I don't collect them, I do have a collection of vintage pie pans and a variety of other collections in the works. I love using old stuff, either as originally intended or in some creative new way. Right now, I'm using an cast iron cobbler's shoe thingie (don't know the name, it's not a last or form, but used for holding a shoe while soling or repairing it) to hold a dishtowel.

Couple of ideas: First, I think a narrow shelf above window, perhaps made of the same wood as your cabinets, would be a great place to start. The graters may be a good choice for there, as they'll sit flat on the shelf and still be seen. (And yes, I agree...some editing and some grouping is in order). You might think about using some of your box graters as pendants if you haven't already got lighting you love, as well. Here's a link for a pendant made out of a box grater, that to my eye looks great!

If you or a family member are crafty at all, seems easy enough to make. I'd love to see three of them...all slightly different. Here's a link to a large pendant made from old door key plates that could be adapted to maybe use flat graters as well.


Here's a link to an idea for displaying your rolling pins:

I would think you could do something similar using shaker pegs on a wooden frame as well.

As for things like egg beaters, ladles and the like...how about hanging them from a pot-rack? You could get multiples of a simple bar rack (one flat bar) and attach them to the walls on either side of those doors or in some other empty wall space. Or if there is a place for it...maybe over the shaker desk...it could be an oval or rectangular rack that hangs from the ceiling and holds a lot of hanging utensils.

Couple more links of things that might work:




Good luck...and have fun!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 3:30PM
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Without seeing more of the kitchen, looks like you could use the wall space above the window, by your grandson's chair, or by the pocket doors. I would probably use simple hooks to hang the items to showcase the items rather than whatever is behind them. I have heard that grouping "like" items together gives more impact, so for example you could use one wall for all of your graters and over the window for the pretty copper things (cake molds?).

You could also have clusters of items in deep unused corners. Perhaps they could sit on a cake stand or in a bowl, glass vase or jar. For example, all of your mashers could be displayed in a lovely open top crock or vase. You could put all of the smaller items in a decorative closed glass canister.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 3:54PM
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Since I am the one who recently posted a thread about collections, I've been thinking about my own collections. I've come to realize that I need to question my perceived need to put EVERYTHING on display. I'm getting closer to the question of "which of these do you really want to look at all of the time?" and the answer lurking in back of my mind is "well, maybe not all this stuff" which brings me to ask myself "is it the fact that you own this that you're displaying or is it truly an attractive piece?" and that brings me to a hard moment of introspection.

Most of the time I answer with "yeah, I really want to look at these pieces and I think they're attractive" but I also answer with "But hey, I don't need to see them ALL at ALL times."

I've just purchased two (unnecessary since I've got more) antique coverlets, which adds to a collection that already does not see the light of day often enough so I clearly understand the collector mania. But...I have purchased a 7 foot rod and am in the process of making a pocket for the rod on the back of one quilt so I can try out the idea of putting quilts and coverlets on the wall in kitchen nook, one at a time. We're doing the same with our art pieces--there is not sufficient wall space for all of them any more, so I have to rotate them. Which gives them a new venue and we don't take them for granted as much.

If you're old enough to be a grandparent your tastes and interests are nearly set for life and you're probably always going to be excited about these collected items. The battle now is to manage the collection.

Maybe not what you wanted to hear, but you did ask.

Here is a link that might be useful: Collections thread

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 4:46PM
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vitamins - we may be related--DH says I am the queen of collections (LOL). I will agree w/ everyone about grouping as well as managing your collection. While some folks would say I still have way too much going on in my kitchen, I have scaled back considerably and have just gone through and taken out some of my "stuff" as I needed some additional space to actually store some functional items rather than just a collection. To give you some ideas:

The upper shelves and the top of this cabinet house my texas ware bowls, vintage cup measures, watts wear, some of my spice/cannister sets, and miscellaneous green bowls and depression glass:

My coffee grinders collection on top of DH's coffee center:

Top shelves house collection of wood potato mashers as well as other miscellaneous items:

Above pie safe, a vintage meat hook that I hang copper pots and brass spoons and ladles; inside pie safe is my collection of guardian ware cookware that I use almost daily:

Don't have a picture of but a large part of my salt/pepper/spice collections are housed in a pie safe in another part of my kitchen.

Good luck--would love to see pictures of what you come up with!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 9:56PM
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Wow! Thanks to all of you who have responded so far to my request for hanging suggestions. There have so many good suggestions, and I am mulling over them to see just which ones will work in my kitchen.

@mcmjilly, the grater lights are fascinating. The lighting has already been done in the kitchen, but I love the looks and may try to fashion one elsewhere in the house.

@ellaf, yes, I have thought of the shaker peg racks, and there is actually a place about 20 miles away that does sell such things. But the website you mentioned actually has more variety in size of pegs so will be worth looking into. And thanks for the MS link. Lots of good ideas there.

@becky sharp -- the rolling pins displays are great. I will try to incorporate something like that. None of my rolling pin collection has ever been displayed, and I would like to display a few at a time. (They used to be in my old Hoosier cabinet, but are now either in the drawer below my ovens or in the tray storage above. They fit great there, but obviously aren't displayed!)

@paige16, @sjmitch, and @rosieo, thanks for your suggestions. Yes, I agree that like things should be grouped together in some fashion. I used to try to do something like that on my old pegboard, but when the things I actually used got hung up, my display got dis-organized. But I do agree it was too much and too cluttered, so some organization desperately needs to be done. The shadow box idea is good (don't remember whose idea that was) and we do have quite a bit of cherry left here by the GC from what was used for the molding and light rail, etc. Problem is that neither I or DH are very handy!

@melissastar, thanks for all of the useful links. And, as to pie pans, I also have a collection of those but did not mention them as they are in the "baking" drawer below my wall ovens. And when I say "tins", I mean that literally as I got rid of all of the aluminum ones long ago, though I do still have a couple of glass ones that I use for lemon meringue pie. I also weeded out many of the old pie tins (such as those with no advertising on them) when I was trying to clear out the kitchen for the remodel. Nonetheless, there are still lots, as well as cake tins, etc., also in the drawer below the ovens. As to the links you gave me, there are lots of good ideas there and I have looked at them all. I do have a pot rack I bought years ago (and never used) that might work to display utensils, though I'm not sure where it might look right. The rolling pin hangers from Vermont look great and just might work to display a couple of the rolling pins. Thanks for all of the links.

@priclypear, thanks for your suggestions. Yes, I agree things need to be grouped in some way, and I am going to try to do that. I have put some of the regularly used ones on the counter (but don't want to do too much of that) in old crocks -- one with wooden utensils, one with silicone, and a short one with the spatulas and wisks that my grandsons use when they cook with me.

@florantha, yes, I did see your collections thread and actually responded to it. I do think that I collect things not just to "have" them, but also to use them. And I think things SHOULD be used. But I also agree that too much is not good, and I know I need to weed things out. I did do that, to some extent, when we took things out of the kitchen before the demolition. I did get rid of a lot, though it seems I still have a lot! And I do know I need to weed out some more. We've been in our house for over 44 years. Need I say more??

And @farmhousebound, all I can say is that your collection is fantastic! You also seem to have a wonderful kitchen in which to display all of your bounty. My kitchen, unfortunately, is not nearly so large and so I do not have as many options as you do. One thing I had to give up in the kitchen remodel, as there just doesn't seem to be a place for it, is the old Hoosier cabinet I had on the wall where my grandson's chair (on an antique Shaker chair no less) is now. That is where my now 10-year old and now 7-year old grandsons have done a lot of cooking (it has a pull out metal table) in the past few years. I am hoping the antique Shaker-style desk I am going to put on that wall will be a good cooking place as well.

Thanks to all. I know I haven't been able to mention everyone, but I have appreciated everyone's suggestions, and would welcome any others anyone has to offer. I also would love any pictures that anyone has. Boxerpups, do you have any pictures in your wonderful collection that might help?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 1:23AM
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I painted the pegboard then added a wreath I got at a yard sale for 0.25!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:20AM
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