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Holiday Decorating Starts Now! With DIY Snowflake Ornaments

November 25, 2016

When crafting wizard Laura Kaesshaefer sent me a bag of clothespin crafts last year, I was surprised at how artful—not to mention unrecognizable—they were. "The humble clothespin takes on a new life when disassembled!" she wrote, an action accomplished by just twisting the two halves until the metal clip springs off (some wiggling might be required).

Stacked on their flat sides and glued back together, the pieces naturally take circular shapes, one loose and star-like and the other more tightly configured.

Photo by Rocky Luten

We dubbed the first a snowflake ornament (pictured above on the tree) and the latter a trivet (pictured below)—and then rounded the set of wintry crafts into a trio with an idea for a simple clothespin wreath (above, hanging). Since clothespins are mostly the same pale, unfinished color, we also experimented with tea-dying a batch to get an antiqued look.

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We loved these crafts, like so many of Laura's, so much that we even installed them at our 2015 pop-up. Here's how to put them all together in just a few minutes:

Photo by Rocky Luten

What you'll need:

  • Clothespins of all sizes (We used a variety between 2" and 5" long.)
  • For antiquing: Black tea bags and a pot
  • For snowflakes: Hot glue and twine
  • For trivets and coasters: Wood glue and heavy books
  • For wreath: Cardboard, a large mixing bowl, and a barely smaller mixing bowl
Photo by Mark Weinberg

How to antique clothespins:

Bring 4 or 5 tea bags to boil in a large pot of water, then turn off heat, dump in clothespins, and let steep overnight. Drain and rinse the clothespins before drying out. For a range of tints, steep some of your clothespins for longer and shorter amounts of time.

Photo by Mark Weinberg
Photo by Mark Weinberg

How to make clothespin snowflake ornaments:

Dismantle all clothespins, discarding hardware. Dabbing a bit of hot glue between each piece, configure the halves in a snowflake shape by gluing the flat part of the "nose" of each piece to the back side of another. Continue until the circle is fully formed, then string a bit of twine through the center hole for hanging.

Left: Twist to disassemble, right: glue the flat part of the "nose" to re-assemble. Photo by Mark Weinberg, Mark Weinberg

How to make clothespin coasters and trivets:

Dismantle all clothespins, discarding hardware. Dabbing a bit of wood glue between each piece, stack the clothespins in a circle by pressing the flat part of the "tails" (that's the pointy side) together. Hold to dry for a few seconds before adding the next piece. Eventually the design will come full circle, then let it rest under a heavy stack of books to be sure it dries evenly.

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Top Comment:
“I did my clothespin wreath with a small copper pipe from the hardware store at my circle, and it shows through and looks pretty swell! I think I'll make some trivets too, they look so awesome here.”
— Nancy F.

Smaller clothespins will form coaster-sized rounds, while full-sized clothespins will make trivets.

How to make a clothespin wreath:

Using two mixing bowls, trace a pair of concentric circles about 2 inches apart on cardboard, then cut out the shape. Clip clothespins all around it to make a wreath, then hang with ribbon.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Here are the snowflakes and the wreath installed at our pop-up! Many thanks to Laura for taking the simplest of objects, the humble clothespin, and using it as a building block for decorations we love.

We originally ran this post last holiday season, but brought it back today for a post-turkey ornament-making session.

What are some other ideas for repurposing clothespins (or for what to do with the little metal hinges)? Share your ideas in the comments!

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Suzy Q. November 7, 2017
Very nice. I must also add that I was thinking, imagining, hoping for more wreath ideas on one page rather than a variety of different items?
Thank you for sharing!
Nancy F. December 1, 2016
I did my clothespin wreath with a small copper pipe from the hardware store at my circle, and it shows through and looks pretty swell! I think I'll make some trivets too, they look so awesome here.
BerryBaby November 27, 2016
I use traditional ornaments that we have bought each other over the years and lots of pine cones from the yard. The pine cones are probably 10 years old but I keep them in plastic bags and use them year after year. Before storing, I add cinnamon sticks and cloves to the bag. The house and tree smell amazing with the fresh pine (we get a real tree) and the scented pine cones. I do the same for the 'fake' garland so as you go up and down the stairs you get this beautiful holiday aroma.
chris November 7, 2017
O, that cinnamon and clove idea is terrific! thanks for sharing.
Frances November 20, 2016
Try not to miss out on the simplicity in elegance when it comes to up-cycling or repurposing the ordinary into extraordinary and now so FAB. Thanks for the tea dying technique. The wood element is so homey.
Deb R. November 16, 2016
Picture and directions for trivet are not what is shown under the pot and cup.
wendy W. November 16, 2016
A clothespin wreath???? I'd maybe suggest this for a kids' project. Even then they would probably want to paint or decorate it.
Morgan November 17, 2016
That's a great idea. Gonna do it with my daughter, thanks!