Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Paper Embellished Clothespins – a Tutorial

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
X-acto knife
Decoupage glue
Small paintbrush
Magnets (optional)
E6000 or other strong adhesive (optional)

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue to the top of the clothespin

Step 3

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.

Step 4

Allow to dry. Decoupage glue dries fairly quickly so you’ll only need to wait a few minutes.

Step 5

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

Step 6

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.


sixfrites said...

These are great and look like fun to do!

Jessica said...

I can't wait to try this out. Thanks.

Vickie said...

Those are so cool. Thanks for showing how to do it. Your tips will make it look better.

Hadley Coble said...

What a fun idea! I am going to whip some of these up for sure! My family uses tehse for chip clips and such, and the magnet idea is great!

Cindy said...

Thank you for the tutorial. I saw these on etsy a few months ago and loved the idea. I bought a whole bunch at the dollar store and started doing some funky things with them. Now I need to find some pretty paper and try your techniqes.
Thank you!

sunshinecardsandjewelry said...

Nice Ideal, can't wait to try this.

staceykt22 said...

what a great idea, thanks!

famr_4evr said...

I Love this idea. The chip clip thought will be wonderful. I hope they will hold up in the freezer as well, since we use them in there sometimes. maybe add a few extra layers or something. Thanks for sharing.

Rebecca said...

Super cute! I love this idea because I can hang groups of things on the fridge (son's school papers, my work stuff, etc.). Plus I can make these part of my kitchen decor! Thanks for sharing. =]

Shusha said...

Hi! Just wanted to let you know this post was featured in my blog

made sweet said...


Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

I thank you so much for this post. I teach children at church and was looking for something for them to make for their moms for Mother's day. We are going to do this...m..

Twitch said...

Another idea to expand upon this,is to find the wooden style embroidery hoops, cut a piece of cork board or Styrofoam the size of the interior, and glue it to the inside ring. cover in some cool designer or vintage fabric, or a few strips you fabric you have quilted together, and then put the outer ring on, cover the wood part with ribbon of some sort, and space 5-6 of these cloths pins around the edges, hot gluing them in place. Then you have a tack board, that can hold notes without damaging them (For pics, or invites, or other important documents) and also serves as art, I am making on for my office space, for writing ideas, craft ideas, bills, ect.

elena said...

Hello – love this tutorial, and I linked to it today at my blog:
Thanks: a great idea and your clothespins are lovely!

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Gabyta said...

Just Great!

caroladas said...

Very interesting and simple idea. Congratulations.

aquarienfisch said...

Oh wow :) My mother's boss recently gave me a bunch of paper squares that had been sent to her by a Chinese friend. This is the perfect thing to do with it!

Brendan said...

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Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing - it's great!

Jen and Laurie said...

Thanks for the tutorial! Our students are going to make these in between bigger projects - it's a great, simple but pretty and useful item. We referenced you on our blog:


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inhabiting_trees said...

Thanks for this great tutorial!

I used it to make the clothespins in this rice paper window garland :)

The rice paper in the post is also available as part of this FREE GIVEAWAY! if you're interested in the paper - just make a quick comment saying hi!

I really enjoy your blog - cheers :)

Emily said...

What a wonderful tutorial. And I truly got a chuckle about your fraggle rock comment! lol. I use that glue myself (it's awesome) but it is quite strong, lol. Thanks for sharing. I'd love for you to check out my blog too! I am now a follow of yours. Very cool tutorials :)

Kali said...

I made these today but used sticker paper instead of scrapbooking paper on one set. I just sprayed them with sealant to keep them nice. This was a great craft for a last minute birthday gift. Thanks bunches!

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stricksonne said...

thank you and happy new year!!! angie

Alice Lavender said...

These look great, can't wait to try making them

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