Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shop Update: Gnome Clothespins & Tutorial too!

I've been having fun painting clothes pins lately!  I've just added these to my etsy shop, MamaWestWind.  They are awesome little clothespins to hold your play silk collection.  They're easy for children to pin and un-pin for themselves at clean-up time and displaying the silks on a line at their eye level means the silks are always accessible to the children. I've found that friends coming over are always attracted to the bright colored rainbow on the wall! So needless to say they get played with often. These little gnome pins are also just fun for play & imagining with as well.  For those who would like to make them yourself I'm offering this tutorial for your own personal use. 

If you'd like to buy them check my shop. If when you read this you don't see them at my shop, convo or email me and ask and I will make you some. 


You can find packages of clothes pins at your local craft supply store.

First, lightly sand the clothespins.  Sometimes they are a bit rough. Sanding keeps them safe for little hands and if you sand the inside, the wood won't snag your play silks. I take sandpaper and fold it in half and then putting it inside the pin slot, lightly sand both sides at once. After sanding, paint them.  I like watercolors because I love the translucency of them. I use Stockmar watercolors and mix them with a little vinegar instead of water to help the color stain the wood. (Warning, if a child puts them in their mouth, the color will start to come off).  Make sure you use a non-toxic, AP certified watercolor or other paint of your choice. Stockmar is non-toxic of course. I've also had fine results with Reeves watercolor, also AP certified.  And Reeves you can find at your local art supply store.

After painting, lightly sand with a buffing paper to make them smooth.  Watercolor gets into the wood fiber and raises the wood fiber a bit making it slightly rough.  Buffing will make them smooth again.  Beeswax the pins. Here's a recipe for the beeswax finish.  This will hold the color in better and maintain the moisture in the wood. 

Add a layer of beeswax  and let it sit for a half hour or so and then clean it off and buff them with a dry cloth. 

Now, time for the hat!  I use 100% wool felt.  


Here is the shape of the hat laying flat. (sorry, no pattern, I don't know how to do that on the computer 
quite yet.) Start sewing with the knot inside the top of the hat. Of course you could simply glue the hats but I'm always afraid it will look messy or that it could be easily pried apart my wee fingers.

Fold the hat to make the gnome hat shape.


I'll let the pictures do the talking now. 



Knot the end on the inside of the hat. 


Then glue the hat on using craft glue.


This is the way it looks from the back. 


And from the front. 


And with some friends!  

Don't forget to add the eyes.  I use a sharpie marker in blue or brown and add them after the beeswax layer so the color doesn't run. You may want to wait to do the eyes until after the hat is on to see where you want them. 

And now you have a lovely set of gnome clothespins for your little ones!

Until next time...


  1. Those are so cute! We only have 1 play silk so far, but I think I am going to make these anyways. I think my kids will enjoy finding ways to play with them :)

  2. oh they are soooo pretty.would make good welly pegs too!

  3. Oh, these are so cute! What a great idea - thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  4. Oh man! I just dyes some play silks last night and I wish I would have died some clothespins too to make into gnomes! These are so cute! Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. Oh I am SO making these! They would also make great rain boot clips!
    ~ joey ~

  6. So adorable! I have some play silks on order, and I know I've got this style of clothes pegs in the craft cupboard. SO gonna do this! What a lovely addition to the already magical playsilks!

    And many thanks for the vinegar-instead-of-water tip.

  7. This is so clever. Love the idea... love the colors. I'll be linking on Wee Folk Art's Facebook page.

  8. How completely cute! I finally bought a pack of clothespins the other day because I keep seeing so many wonderful things to make with them. These little gnomes look like such a fun project!

  9. Oh wow! These just make me feel all happy inside! :-)

  10. Thank you for sharing about the silks! A friend had told me about the silks she made and they come from the same place. I can't wait to get started!!

  11. These are so cute! I would love it if you would share your tutorial at my sharing party at Thank you!

  12. Love these, and never thought to go waldorfy with the clothespin dolls and fairies we make- love them, and love the thought that my daughter can operate these pins- the squeezy kind are hard for her when she tries to help me hang clothes!!

  13. Okay - I think I'm going to start with these! I have had a trying morning with my girls... so I'm going to detour to the $2 shop while we do our groceries this afternoon and find some pegs!! Then we can have our own set of rainbow peg friends :) My 2yo loves playing with pegs!

  14. I've always thought these were so sweet. I made some very much like these years ago but they've more or less disappeared over time. (Perhaps they decided to move to a warmer climate.) At any rate, they are adorable and I'll be linking to them on's Facebook page. Much thanks : ) ~Kimara~

  15. A wonderful Idea, I was wondering what to do with my pegs and all those silks bunched up in my baskets..... a pretty decoration to.

  16. Very easy and Charming will make them and ang them in my Christmas tree! thanks!!

  17. oh how cute! love em'


Welcome to my sweet little part of the world! Please come by often and leave a comment! I love to get your feedback and know that my friends and family have visited!