I grew up in a house of very creative and crafty people. My dad used to spray paint intricate backdrops for photos at my birthday parties (themed, of course). My mom took home decorating to a level that would make any interior design magazine feel shame. I say all this to brace you for the fact I have zero artistic abilities when it comes to arts & crafts. I still struggle to color inside the lines (this is not an exaggeration).
However, I did grow up with one Christmas tradition that I looked forward to all year long: hand painted clothespin ornaments! These were a staple in our house, we made them into everything imaginable. Magnets on the fridge, strands of garland for the fireplace, name tags for parties, cardholders and ornaments that covered every inch of a tree.
Warning you will get messy. Embrace it!
- Newspaper/Something to cover your work surface with
- Wooden clothespins (I used two kinds for this)
- Paint (I used Acrylics): Red, white, black, brown, orange, and one or two fun colors if you’re doing names/extra decorations.
- Paint brushes (a wide brush for base coats and a skinny one for details—alternately if you’re more talented than me you can use a bobby pin or the end of a brush for detail work.)
- Pipe cleaners and mini pom-poms (googly eyes are also a fun option)
- Glue: I used gorilla glue but growing up we used a hot glue gun (I am not brave enough to use one on my own as an adult).
- After covering your work space with newspaper it’s time to get started! I started with the paints I knew would be base colors (Red for Santa, white for a snowman, and brown for reindeer).
Note—this photo shows I poured WAY more paint than was needed for my little clothespins.
- Base paints:
- Santa: When painting the Santa’s leave a space about a 1/4 of the way down the clothespin unpainted. This way you have a space for Santa’s face later. Paint the rest of the clothes pin red and let dry (I left the back undone and then went back to pain that once the front was dry to prevent sticking to the paper).
- Snowman: Paint it all white! Again leave the back undone while the other three sides dry, and then go back to finish it once the front can sit on the paper without sticking.
- Reindeer: Paint it all brown!
- Santa: Use the black paint to paint the boots and dot two eyes on the face and let dry. Once the black paint is dry you can paint white ‘fluff’ over the top of the boots, the belt, the hat, and of course Santa’s beard! I mixed a little red, orange and white paint to make a pink-ish color to add rose-y cheeks and a mouth.
- Snowman: Using the black paint add a little top hat to the snowman, and then draw dots for eyes, mouth, and a row of buttons. With the orange paint make a little carrot nose.
- Reindeer: Paint black hooves at the end of the clothespin and eyes on the face.
- Fun extras:
- Snowman: Cut pipe cleaners to make miniature scarves (I did this because I didn’t trust myself to paint a scarf)
- Reindeer: It HAS to have a red pom-pom nose! Glue one under the eyes for instant cuteness. You can also use pipe cleaners to make a holly-bow headband and/or additional antlers.
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