How to Make Decorative Clipboards {Cute, Thrifty Gift!}

Decorative Clipboards Thrifty Gift Idea

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A few years ago, I made my first decorative clipboard. They’re fun to use, simple to make, and are a great thrifty gift, too!!

I’ve given them to teachers, friends, family members, and… myself! 😉

Would you like to make one, too? Seriously, you can do this!! Here’s how…

What You’ll Need:

  • Clipboard {I buy mine at Wal-Mart for $1.00} ~ you’ll want your clipboard top to be similar to the one pictured below… it will allow you to tie on ribbons!
  • Foam Brushes {small and large} ~ when you’re done, wash these out and save them to reuse again later!

Foam Brushes on Sale

Mod Podge

  • 12×12 regular Scrapbook Paper {not cardstock ~ trust me!}
  • Ribbon {thin} in a variety of colors & styles that match or coordinate with your paper.  I cut pieces of ribbon between 6″ – 7″ long.

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Corner Rounder {if you have one}
  • Push pin or Xacto Knife

What You’ll Do:

  • The first thing you’ll need to do is trim the paper down to fit the clipboard.
  • Turn paper over and measure with a ruler.
  • You’ll want the paper to be approx. 1/4 inch in from the edges of the clipboard.
  • Once the paper has been trimmed down to fit the clipboard, use a corner rounder {or scissors} to gently round the corners of the paper…
  • Now you’ll need to flip your page over again, and get ready to carefully make a cut out around the clip at the top…
  • Now set your paper aside.
  • Lay down newspapers ~ it’s time for some fun with the Mod Podge!
  • Use the large sponge brush to make long strokes from top to bottom,
    of a thin layer of Mod Podge on the clipboard.

Be careful now ~ Catherine Zeta-Jones is watching you…
do you see here on the newspaper there?
She thought I did a good job… she’s smiling!
She’s calling Michael Douglas to let him know.

  • Now carefully lay your paper that you’ve prepared on the clipboard {color side up}.
  • Gently smooth it down with your hands to avoid bubbling.
  • As it begins to dry, if you see bubbles, you can…
    carefully poke them with a pin needle, push pin or Xacto knife tip.
    {Card stock will really bubble, so promise me you didn’t use it.}
  • Let glue completely dry {30 min. – 1 hr}
  • After it has dried, it’s time to do a layer of Mod Podge on the top!
  • Use long strokes from the top to the bottom again.  {You can use the smaller brush to get around the clip at the top.}
  • After you’ve applied the Mod Podge, allow it to dry completely.
  • Just like before, you can watch for any little bubbles,
    and either poke them or gently smooth them out with your hand as it dries.
  • Once it has dried completely, just for fun… it’s time to add one more coat of Mod Podge.
  • After applying that last coat, allow it to dry completely.
  • Now if you want to add anything else {a photograph, letters cut out to spell a name, etc.} you can add them after the final coat has dried.
  • Just put a dab of Mod Podge on the back, then add Mod Podge over the entire top.
  • Allow to completely dry… and then on to the ribbons!
  • Once the clipboard is dry, begin adding the ribbons and knotting them up at the top on the clip.
  • Once you’ve tied on all the ribbon, trim them down if they’re too long,
    then trim the ends slightly diagonally in alternating directions.  {I usually start with ribbon pieces that are 6″ – 7″ long}
  • Have fun with the colors… here’s one I made using pink paper and pink & white ribbons…

Make one for yourself, or give some as thrifty gifts!  Thanks for supporting The Frugal Girls!

See Also:
How to Make Toilet Paper Pumpkins
How to Make Cute Hair Clips for Babies & Little Girls
How to Make Flower Headbands for Babies & Little Girls
How to Make a Fringed Fleece Scarf
More Fun Crafts & Project Ideas!


  1. says

    This is such a cute idea. My kids have clipboards they use in the car or just around the house and they are so ugly. This would be a great way to “dress them up”. It would also be good practice to do this as a holiday gift for the teachers. Thanks for such a great idea.

  2. Lyndsey says

    I have one like this that was given as a gift several years ago. In fact, I’m using it right now! Very useful & cute gift.

  3. Heidi says

    Hi Jeanette ~ I’m honestly not sure if this will work on the acrylic/plastic kind. I’ve only ever tried it on the wooden clipboards. If you try it on acrylic, let me know how it goes! 😉

    ~ Heidi

    • Kellie Tilley says

      I have used paper and modge podge on jumbo acrylic clothespins and it works great…so I would think it would work on a clipboard too.

  4. Kimberly says

    Thanks for the great idea and awesome picture instructions! Can’t wait to show the kids so they can do it themselves for gifts!

  5. Carrie says

    Thanks for the neat craft idea! I have made two of these so far, one for my Mom and one for my son. Next up one for each of my son’s teachers for Christmas… :) Keep the craft ideas coming!

  6. Tina says

    I had my girls pick out 2 scrapbook papers (when on sale of course)and ribbons without telling them what they were for, so now I can make them each a clipboard for Christmas with patterns that they chose. I am putting patterned paper on the back too. I am avoiding other embelishments on the front so it is not a bumpy surface, but I can add them to the back.

  7. Naomi says

    Thank you so much for such detailed instructions. I am not totally crafty yet, but who can go wrong with these steps? Thank you. Also, I hate to bother you. But, I am having a fundraiser for my disabled son to have dolphin therapy and am looking for ideas of crafts to make for a craft fair. Do you happen to have any suggestions? Thank you very much and please feel free to contact me!

  8. Melissa Sanders says

    Wow… these…you just solved my gift problems…birthday, Christmas, get well, etc…such cute and thoughtful gift to make..oh and bonuse it is actually something everyone can use :)

  9. Mippy says

    Hi Heidi!
    I love the one you did in pink! And I’m not even a pink kinda girl! Love this! Thank you for sharing! 😀

  10. Kathryn says

    I did this using wrapping paper and bows and ribbons as the guest-list holder for my in-laws 50th anniversary party. We used the same bows and ribbons on the table decorations.

  11. Cinda says

    I made 2 of these for Xmasre SUPER cute and everyone loved them! gifts. I found that a little heavier paper works better. I also put the paper on the back. They were SUPER cute and everyone loved them!

  12. Cindy says

    I made some of these for gifts for my daughters friends. But the end product had ridges on it, any help as to help with this. As it makes it hard to write on. Project otherwise turned out SUPER SUPER cute…!!

      • Kim says

        Thank you so much for this idea. I am a student teacher and I am making this as gifts for the students in my class – they are always using class clipboards.

        Something I did to eliminate bubbles it to use a wallpaper/border roller over the paper after attaching it to the clipboard. This also ensures that it is really smoothed out :)

  13. Quincee says

    I actually bought one of these and paid $15.00 for it! On mine they actually painted the clipboard to match the paper…that way the ugly clipboard color doesn’t show.

  14. says

    Thank you for posting these! I just maade 12 of them for my Initials Inc. business! You can’t order pretty bags on ugly clipboards!

  15. lisa wood says

    I had a friend to put her design on the back of the clipboard where it can be seen when she is holding it. on the front she used the same paper but just made a cute border for the front.

  16. Ellie says

    I was excited to find this on Pinterest to dress up a boring clipboard for my 1st grader. But like some of the others, I had a terrible time with bumps that appeared after the first coat of ModPodge on the front after letting the paper dry on the board for 3 hours. I don’t think I’ve been more frustrated with a such a simple project.

  17. Tess says

    What a great idea, and well done tutorial with such great photos! I’ve heard about your site from so many sources, but this was my first time visiting, and I’m definitely coming back for more inspirations such as this.
    Question: When you say the paper should be a quarter inch from the edges of the clipboard, do you mean to leave an added quarter inch around the edges, as with a sewing pattern, or to cut it a quarter inch shorter– and if by that, do you mean /all/ of the edges? In which case, I’m assuming the aim is to cover the board from the base up, and have space remaining at the top? However, wouldn’t that leave a gap on every side?
    Thanks for clarifying if you’re able!

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