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

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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!
  • Sponge-style Paint Applicator {small and large} ~ when you’re done, wash these out and save them to reuse again later!

  • 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!

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!

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

  1. maura 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. Shelly says:

    I was thinking the same thing..TEACHERS GIFTS!

  3. 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.

  4. I love this! Cannot wait to try it.

  5. Jeanette says:

    Do the clipboards have to be the wooden kind or would it work on the acrylic/plastic kind also?

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. Angie says:

    Cutest ideas ever…this is going to be one home-made Christmas…and is likely to be the best :)

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. Heidi says:

    Hi Naomi ~ for more crafts and tutorials, head on over here…

    http://thefrugalgirls.com/feeling-crafty

    ~ Heidi ;)

  13. Taylor says:

    I did this with my whole sorority and it was a HIT!

  14. Rhoda says:

    We may just be having a modge podge marathon for Christmas gifts. Love this idea and others you’ve shared!

  15. Melissa Sanders says:

    Wow…..love 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 :)

  16. Sheila says:

    I love this idea, but what do I do with the top of the clipboard that shows the wood?
    Thanks!

  17. rebecca says:

    Heidi- about how long do you cut the ribbons? Thanks!

  18. Heidi says:

    Hi Rebecca ~ I usually start with ribbon pieces that are 6″ – 7″ long.

    Hope that helps! ;)

    ~ Heidi

  19. I’m going to do this for Valentine’s Day gifts for my co-workers….

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