DIY Decorated Clips Tutorial – Basic Paper-covered Version

This tutorial is for making a beautiful decorated, but non-embellished clip, please see additional tutorials for variations on this clip. Miss Party’s examples are very vintage-inspired due to an impending vintage mad tea party, but yours surely don’t have to be. No matter your party’s style these clips can be adapted to fit. From modern, to vintage, to retro, to whimsical, let your paper choice and finishing steps determine their style.

Gather supplies:

-Clothespins in desired size (cheapest at Target, Wal-Mart or similar type of store, around $3 for 40-50, but still reasonably priced at large craft stores, grocery store, dollar store or anywhere that sells laundry supplies)
-papers that coordinate with your party color scheme, one sheet per design (great chance to use up paper scraps!)
-Mod Podge
-water base, Polyurethane Varnish, gloss finish
-2 1″ foam brush applicators
-a nail file (cardboard is fine) that you won’t use again for personal use, or fine grit sandpaper
-paper cutter is very helpful but not required
-plastic placemat or other surface where clothespins can dry

We will work on 6 clips at a time, going through the steps as a set. This allows clip one in the set to have the necessary drying time before proceeding to the next step. You will rotate through all 6 clips with each step. These directions are for papering one side of the clip, which is fine if using for a party decor accessory and even preferable if you plan to mount clips to sticks. If clips will be given as a party favor, papering both sides does feel more complete.

1. Cut a strip of paper that is about 1/4″ longer than your clothespin, and is at least 2″ wide and can be as much as 12″ wide. You may do all 6 clips in the same paper, or all different, as you wish.

2. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to one face of the clothespin. Line up your paper on the glue-covered side of the clothespin so that the paper’s edge and corner meet the clothespin’s edge and corner. Press out air bubbles in the paper and be sure all edges are well sealed. Trim the paper strip away as closely as you can. Set this clip aside to fully dry and continue with this step for each of the 5 clips.
Note: If you want a contemporary result for your clips, use an Exacto knife to trim paper away. Place clip paper side down on top of a cardboard cutting surface.

3. Back to clip one, if you want a distressed, vintage-looking result, lightly sand the edges of your paper layer with the finer side of your nail file or sandpaper, and sand off any rough edges on the clothespin in general. If you want a more contemporary end result, skip this step.

4. Apply a thin coat of varnish, set aside to dry. Continue with this step for each of the 5 clips.

5. Back to clip one, varnish coat should be dry. With nail file or sandpaper, gently sand down the coat of varnish until smooth, a few strokes should do it. Continue with this step for each of the 5 clips.


  1. Virginia Wright says:

    i have used the new “designer” duct tape to cover one side of the clothespins and they turned out too cute!

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