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Old Time Wood Christmas Stockings

For many years I've had my eye on antique sock stretchers but I never looked at them as a Christmas decoration.

Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings

If you don't believe "sock stretchers" are a thing, Google it. 

They're from the early 1900's when most socks were made out of wool. Wool socks took a long time to dry and like anything made of wool, when washed they could shrink. So the wool socks were put on wood forms to stretch and keep their shape while they dried, hence sock stretchers.

A couple years ago while I was laid up recovering from a shoulder surgery at Christmas, I had nothing better to do with my time than stare at the mantel. 

Back in 2012 my friend at hung sock stretchers from her beautiful mantel and I have coveted them ever since, so I made a request to the man with the power tools asking if he could make me some wood stockings.

He said what kind and how many?  I said rustic looking, different shapes, whatever you want, six please.

Below are what he came back with.  

Rustic Wood Christmas Stockings

The wood stockings were laid out on a drop cloth and coated with a wood enhancer to bring out the shades of the worn wood.

And they were perfect, exactly what I had envisioned. 

Rustic Wood Stockings

Our mantel used to sport a rustic wood railroad tie until it received a cottagy makeover a few years ago, and I miss that raw wood warmth at Christmas. The wood stockings brought a little of that warmth back while hanging on a long piece of aged rerod. They stayed raw for two holiday seasons.

Rustic Wood Christmas Stockings

As another year passed and I next saw the wood stockings, I decided I wanted to give them a makeover. So before anything could be hung by the chimney with care, I got out some Old Sign Stencils and Fusion Mineral Paint (in Ash with a background of Picket Fence) and adopted an "anything goes" approach to giving them a new look.

Christmas Designs Old Sign Stencils
Sample of the Christmas designs from Old Sign Stencils

I still wanted the stockings to have a rustic look, so some of the wood showing was a must. I also wanted each one to be different, and I didn't want to paint the backs because next year I just might want to return them to their all wood rustic glory, and if so all I have to do is flip them over when I hang them up. It's like having two sets from one.

With the stenciling job completed, they were hung on a rerod holder, and I was satisfied.

For a week anyhow.

The more I looked at them the more I thought they needed a little something-something, and I had a pile of something-somethings to use up or kick to the curb, so some white and green garland was cut up and added at the stocking tops, along with a few small pine cones, which gave the wood shapes a little frosty greenery.

Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings

And this time I was satisfied with their new look. The greenery embellishments, the twine that was used to hang them, the rerod, and the stenciling, all gave it an old time look. Life was good, so back to the couch I went to admire them.

Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings

Each wood stocking is different from it's neighbor. A variety of Old Sign Stencils was used, but not all were a Christmas design such as the second from the right, where I used the grain sack stripe stencil.

Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings
My daughter has a few stencils that I also employed, the musical notes and the Northpole.

Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings
Often if I don't have exactly what I need I will make up my own stencil from what I have, for example I did not have the word OH so I used the O and the H from other stencils so I could have an OH Christmas tree.
Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings

This is the first year in like forever that I have not cleared the mantel to decorate it with garland or whatever else I might like. We took out some walls and I have the displaced contents of several cabinets all over my house. My nooks and crannies are full so I didn't want to take down all the tin ware and try to find a place to keep it. I opted to decorate the mantel as it was by simply placing a couple swags on each end and covering my moms old elementary school primer with a Christmas card.

Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings

I intended to add some sprigs of live greenery tucked in to the tin ware, but well.... I have moved on to other things and I can't say that will happen any longer. My mind is elsewhere; off in the distance a new concrete counter is curing that I hope to use before Christmas.
Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings
The Christmas Sweater stencil above is probably my favorite.

On Christmas Eve and morning when we light a fire there won't be any chocolate in those stockings to melt. Of course Santa never let that happen in the past when the knitted stockings with the names of our six kids hung in place of the wood ones. I also won't have to take them off the holder, just push them to the side to open and close the screen doors to put the logs on.

Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings

Do you see the eyes of a black cat sitting in my fireplace? Optical illusion.

In the stocking photo below the base of the arrow pointing north looks sort of like a feathery Christmas tree.

Stenciled Wood Christmas Stockings

I actually have a pair of wool handmade slippers that were gifted to me, and they got thrown in the wash and of course they shrunk. I can still wear them, but I wonder if I got them wet again if I could stretch them back out on my wood Christmas stockings? Guess I'll have to google that.

Quick Links:

Old Sign Stencils  and Fusion Mineral Paint


  1. Crazy cool stockings!! I mean they look completely wonderful. I love their rustic charm. Brilliant!!!
    Happiest of Holidays!!!

  2. they are all beautiful, MY personal favorite is the one with sheet music. i don't read music, so not sure if it's a Christmas song or not, but i love it! and if you're going to decorate sock stretchers, who cares if they're vintage or not! your hubby did a great job!

  3. what an absolutely creative way to use them! inherited a couple and they just sit on my dresser waiting for some brilliant way to re-use. this is magic! so cool! thanks!

  4. I didn't have to Google stretchers because I've seen them before, but I love your additions to them.

    Janie Junebug

  5. These turned out so great...I love the look! Your wall/kitchen projects sound so exciting! Merry Christmas!

  6. Your wooden stockings are so cute and gives that wonderful vintage look of Christmas long ago. Good job.


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