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Homespun Living in a New England

Custom Clothespin Picture Frame (Tutorial!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This is a nice, cheap little project for displaying pictures, prints, and what-have-you. I was pretty psyched to actually put up some photos from our time in Beijing, plus this ebay-obtained paint-by-number dealie was ready for its time in the sun.

Repetition is a favorite trick of mine, craft-wise--here, the wooden pieces that make up clothespins are arranged to make a pattern, and a solid coat of spray paint ties the whole thing together. 

Let's see how it's done.


What you'll need: 

1. Strong Glue (E600, or Amazing Goop work well)
2. A pack of clothespins
3. Photos (or other printed materials/images you wanna use)
4. Spray paint--I used metallic copper 
5. A piece of plywood, measuring 16 by 44 inches--I got mine in the scrap pile at the Big Box home improvement place, and got it cut down ($1.01!). You might want to give it some swipes with sandpaper real quick, though admittedly I did not. 
6. Frames (see below)


I got this pile of frames at the Goodwill by the Pound for, like, five bucks in total. You might also check out dollar stores--you can usually find some nice looking, cheap frames there. 

What to do: 

1. You'll need to remove the little metal piece that holds the clothespin together--just a little gentle prying should get these off pretty fast. Make a pile of these wooden clothespin halves. I ended up using pretty much the whole pack, since a few were in somewhat rough shape and had to be tossed.

2. Start glueing the wooden pieces along the plywood edge, flipping them back and forth to create a pattern (and of course, you can feel free to play with this arrangement). Just spread a thin layer of glue along the edge and start filling it in. 


3. After allowing the glue to dry, and removing the glass from the picture frames, give everything a thorough spray painting. Two coats seemed to do it, for me. The plywood grain isn't going away with this method, it's just getting nicely gilded. If you want a more thorough cover, a coat of primer could get you there. 


4. After everything's dry, put the pictures in the frames, and glue the whole shebang in place. Don't forget to remove any hardware on the back of the frames that will keep them from being flush with the plywood. This type of glue will take a little while to dry, so you have some wiggle room to reposition things before the decisions become final. When you're satisfied, let the glue dry overnight.

I may also have gilded my hands, a little. I don't necessarily recommend that. 

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