When I first saw this particular craft I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t very impressed. After all, they were simply regular wooden clothespins covered with decorative paper. However, the more I saw of them, the more I realized that they were a charming, quick and easy little craft, and they could be quite useful.
They make great desk accessories to clip your papers together, they’re also quite useful to hang items on a ribbon or string such as a child’s treasured artwork or Christmas cards. Add a magnet to the back and they’re great for hanging notes, photos and important paperwork on the fridge.
All the practicality and utility of a clothespin but with more glamour and flair!
Their construction is pretty straight forward but I thought I’d do a quick tutorial for anyone interested in making some of their own.
Wooden clothespins – the kind with the metal spring
Scraps of paper
E6000 or other strong adhesive (optional)
Gather all of those paper scraps that you’ve been hoarding for years in the hopes of employing them in some fantastic project. Finally their time has come!!
I trimmed mine to approximately 4” by ¾ “. If you want to try and measure the clothespin exactly and cut the paper to fit you can, but as the clothespins may vary slightly in shape and size, I found it easier to leave plenty of excess paper and slice it off later for a cleaner look.
Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue to the top of the clothespin
Place your paper onto the clothespin. You’ll need to rub it slightly with your thumb/fingers to make sure it is properly adhered.
If you want decorative paper on both sides of your clip you would now repeat steps 1 – 3 for the other side of the clothespin. I decorated both sides of mine since at the time of construction I wasn’t sure if I’d be using them as clips or as magnets. However, if you know you’re going to be placing a magnet on the back, you could probably save yourself the trouble and only embellish the side that will be visible.
Allow to dry. Decoupage glue dries fairly quickly so you’ll only need to wait a few minutes.
With your X-acto knife pushed up against the edge of the clothespin, carefully slice off the excess paper. It gets a little tricky around the metal hinge but with practice you can master it easily.
Note: Be sure that your knife blade is sharp. I learned the hard way that a dull knife can be disastrous as it will pull and tear the paper rather than making a clean cut. See the rough edges on the clips below
Apply a layer of decoupage glue to the top of the paper. This seals the paper and gives it a nice matte finish. I found that one layer was sufficient but you could certainly do more than one if you feel it needs a heavier seal. You could also use something like a varnish sealer, or polyurethane if you wanted more of a glossy finish.
Step 7 (optional)
Apply a magnet to the back. I used E6000 for this as it creates a nice strong bond. Be sure to do this step in a well ventilated area as E6000 is potent enough to give you quite a headache and/or make you believe you’ve entered into a trippy episode of Fraggle Rock.
If I had to do it over again I would have used a slightly smaller magnet that would be less conspicuous but as I already had an abundance of this size on hand I just went with it, that and the fact that I wasn’t thinking clearly after inhaling all of that E6000. I think I might have mistaken the cat for a Doozer and nibbled a little on the kids’ building blocks.
There you have it! The makings of lovely embellished clothespins. I made up a few sets to sell at a craft sale and they took very little time. They’d make great quick and inexpensive gifts for co-workers, family and friends as well.