Cells use protein-based mechanosensors to measure the physical properties of their surroundings. Synthetic tension sensors made of proteins, DNA, and other molecular building blocks have recently emerged as tools to visualize and perterb the mechanics of these mechanosensors. While almost all synthetic tension sensors are designed to exhibit orientation-independent force responses, recent work has shown that biological mechanosensors often function in a manner that is highly dependent on force orientation. Accordingly, the design of synthetic mechanosensors with orientation-dependent force responses can provide a means to study the role of orientation in mechanosensation. Furthermore, the process of designing anisotropic force responses may yield insight into the physical basis for orientation-dependence in biological mechanosensors. Here, we propose a DNA-based molecular tension sensor design wherein multivalency is used to create orientation-dependent force response. We apply chemomechanical modeling to show that multivalency can be used to create synthetic mechanosensors with force response threshold that vary by tens of piconewtons (pN) with respect to force orientation. © 2020 IOP Publishing Ltd.