These homemade pulleys work great as long as they glide freely over the coat hanger wire (meaning that if you give them a spin, they keep spinning for a few more seconds). You can adjust the amount of friction in the pulley by adjusting the where the metal wire bends after it emerges from the pulley.
All you need is a wire coathanger, a thread spool, and a pair of vice grips… and the video below.
If you still have trouble, you can purchase pulleys from the hardware store, or more inexpensively, from a farm supply store. (We get ours from the chicken coup section – no kidding!) If you really want to go hog-wild with pulleys, get a bunch and clip them onto climbing-rated carabineer.