Dyeing & Stamping Wood Clothespins

I’d like to preface this post by saying it was half craft FAIL and half craft win! It’s okay though, because now you can learn from my mistakes. You’ll see what I mean shortly. 🙂

I started out with two different sized wooden clothespins – the small ones from Walmart in the office supply section, and the large ones from the dollar bins at AC Moore. That would be why I have it classified as a “Dollar Store Craft;” the rest of the supplies you will likely have on hand!



For the large ones, I simply soaked them in some really strong coffee. I did end up putting a glass bowl on top of them to push them down, so they were completely covered. I left them soak for about 2 hours.


For the small ones, which I wanted to be multi-colored, I followed tutorials found online at random craft blogs. I used regular food coloring with a dash of vinegar. I’m not sure what the vinegar does, but the website looked legit so I figured there must be a reason. lol. To help the colors adhere better maybe?


I filled up mason jars with hot water and added about a 1/4 cup vinegar to each one, and about 20-25 drops of food coloring. I also did a batch of the small ones in the coffee. I let them all soak for about 2 hours.


Then lay them out on a paper towel to dry. Be careful to protect your counters because the food coloring tends to stain.


I let all of these guys dry for about 3 days to make sure the large ones were dry all the way through.


Here’s where the “FAIL” part comes in. The various tutorials and instructions said to remove the metal springs before dyeing. However I was feeling lazy and decided to skip that part. And now I see why you SHOULD! They rusted pretty bad and then the rust seeped into the wood, creating a lot of dark streaking. They look pretty yucky. I am sure I’ll find a use for them but I did not think they were nice enough to stamp and sell in my Etsy shop as I had planned! 😦  Other than that little snafu, the actual dyeing seemed to work great! I shall try it again some day!


For the large clothespins, I wanted to make some stand-up photo holders.

DSC_0197 2

I found it was easiest to apply the ink to the stamp, and then lay down the stamp on the table and press down the clothespin onto the rubber face of the stamp.


I did them by sections, above and below the spring, since the stamp wasn’t tall enough to cover the whole thing. 🙂


I did the same thing with the small clothespins – the ones that were coffee stained. For some reason those did not rust liked the colored ones. Maybe it was the vinegar that did it??? Hmmm….


And here are the final products that I photographed to go in my Etsy store. I love the results!




They were easy and fun and would make a great product for craft shows. Thanks for stoppin by and happy crafting!

36 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Weaver
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 09:46:35

    Awesome, as always! I don’t have good stamp collection since I am basically a painter and graphic designer, but I love your choices.


  2. pinkstorm183
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 10:40:42

    Love this for my new laundry room !! Thank You !!!


  3. phyllis
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 11:24:38

    I really like these but must admit, I never would have thought of doing the stamping. Thanks for some new ideas.


  4. Becky
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 12:11:38

    This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing with us. I have some of those large clothes pins I was going to paint, but I think I will try your idea instead! Great job. 🙂


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Jul 09, 2013 @ 11:54:42

      Thanks Becky! I’ve painted them and applied scrapbooking paper but this was my first time stamping and I think this is my favorite. 🙂 It’s also super easy, which I love. Hope you’re able to give them a try!!! Happy craftin’! 🙂 ~maggie


  5. LC (@jelliedkey)
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 14:03:25

    I like the rusty look of the springs of the ones colored with food coloring. Around here the rusty look is big in the Primitive theme. And I even use vinegar to rust up some of the newer items I get so that they look more aged. So I think they’d be great with a primitive theme if you could stamp stars or old crows or willow trees on them!
    I think they all look great! I have about 10 different stamps I use regularly, I may just have to try this! 🙂


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Jul 09, 2013 @ 11:53:34

      I’m all about rusty but in this particular instance I wasn’t a fan…I think because of the pastel-like colors with the rustiness. It was a fun experiment nonetheless and now we all know what happens when you use the vinegar on clothespins! lol. Hope you give it a try, and lemme know how it turns out!! 🙂


  6. Ginny
    Jul 07, 2013 @ 00:07:32

    The idea of stamping on clothespins is brilliant! I even have some I could use; I was going to cover them with scrapbook paper, but might have to try your technique, too. It would be fun to experiment with using colored ink, not just black.


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Jul 09, 2013 @ 11:51:47

      Hi Ginny, I’ve done the scrapbooking paper method too, and I really like the results, but it’s much more time consuming than the stamping method! Guess it all depends on the look/design you’re going for. I thought about using come colored inks too. There are lots of possibilities here! Thanks for stoppin’ by!!! 🙂 maggie


  7. Barbara Briggs Ward
    Jul 07, 2013 @ 08:56:12

    Never knew you could do so much with clothespins! Love the look-and I actually love the rusty ones too-they give a different feel!


  8. Elyse
    Jul 07, 2013 @ 16:09:40

    Never knew there was so much you could do with clothespins (or clothes pegs as we call them in Northern Ireland)! I so love reading your blog page. You have such great ideas with everyday household items & more. I would just love to be able to get into some of the stores you have like The Dollar Shop, Michael’s, Joanne’s and Walmart. Craft materials etc are so much more expensive over here. I normally wait until I know someone heading to the States & make sure I give them a list! Thanks for sharing all your great ideas.


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Jul 09, 2013 @ 11:49:24

      Thanks so much Elyse and greetings from the US! 🙂 I love finding new ways to use simple items like clothespins, especially because they are cheap materials! I have a friend who lives in Holland who does the same thing as you – stocks up on all her paints and craft stuff when she comes to the states. If you’d ever like me to mail you some supplies, just email me! Thanks so much for following my blog! 🙂 ~maggie


  9. Simply Knots
    Jul 07, 2013 @ 22:29:37

    I love how these turned out! And I absolutely love the “I Love You Because..” dry erase frames. 🙂


  10. mary root
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 19:13:42

    Very cool! I kinda like how the colored ones turned out with the rusty hinges…kinda junky/shabby. (o;


  11. Fran Pascazio
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 08:53:11

    I’m fairly new to your blog so you haven’t seen my name before but I wanted to comment on the clothespins – I love the colored clothespins with the rusty springs…I like rusty things . . . BTW your blog is awesome!


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Jul 12, 2013 @ 18:18:45

      Thanks so much for your nice comment Fran! I am not in love with the colored clothespins with the rusty springs…I think it’s the pastel colors and rustiness combined…I wish they were just plain with the rustiness so they were more primitive looking. Oh well, ya never know until you try! It’s always fun to experiment. I’m going to check out your blog now, thanks again! 🙂 Maggie


  12. Robbie
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 13:52:51

    You, have such wonderful ideas, and thank you so much for sharing. But, I do have one goofy question about the clothespin. What do you use them for? 🙂


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Aug 16, 2013 @ 16:35:58

      Thanks Robbie! It’s not a goofy question at all! The large one is for standing up and holding a photograph or recipe card, or anything really. I made the small ones with no particular use in mind…lol. I was thinking maybe for on packages (like attached to the ribbon, holding the card or gift tag). I have also seen them used to hang up cards along a string (Christmas cards?). I guess you just have to get creative! Thanks for reading my blog 🙂 ~maggie


  13. Robbie
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 22:33:43

    Sorry, for bugging you again, but I love your ideas, and I’m going to try them for my shows. My question, do the scented candles lose their scent, if I make them a couple of months ahead, planning on using alot of cinnamon. I’m sort of new at this, I usually make teddy bears, wanting to try some new things. Thank you so much for sharing.


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 13:38:12

      Hi Robbie, you’re not bugging me at all! Sorry for the delayed response. In my experience the scented candles do keep their scent for quite a long time, especially if you keep them sealed in a container until your craft show. I think you should be fine. Best of luck giving them a try. They are a mess but sure are fun! 🙂 Maggie


  14. Robbie
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 06:38:50

    How in the world do you do the silicone bulbs? I am having a horrible time with them. I get everything ready, tie string or wire on the base, mix cinnamon in with the silicone. And my first one comes out pretty good. But, the second and after look horrible, its like the silicone starts to set-up. Not sure what I am doing wrong, dont know if you have any ideas, do appreicate any help or solutions, Thanks
    I use yogurt container, paper cup and I dont put the whole tube in.


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Oct 11, 2013 @ 08:31:44

      Hi Robbie! Sorry you’re having such a hard time with the bulbs. They are definitely tricky and it took me a while to get the hang of it. I think that the silicone does set-up rather quickly. I try to work very quickly and I do not squirt out the silicone until I am completely ready to start dipping the bulbs. I think also, the brand of the silicone makes a difference. I have found that the walmart brand clear silicone works best for me and did not set up as fast as some of the previous brands I had tried. I would suggest trying a different brand of silicone and also just work as quickly as possible! Hope this helps! Sorry for taking so long to get back to you!!


  15. Heather Lee
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 15:51:15

    I came across your blog yesterday morning and felt like I had found the most treasured book in the library! I poured over everything, didn’t take a break til about 3:00! I love, love, love everything you create! My mom and I do 2 or 3 craft shows a year, we absolutely love crafting. Lastnight I went straight to the Dollar Tree, and sure enough, you were right, score! My 7 yr. old daughter wants to start crafting so I bought the supplies to do the salt and pepper button flower vases, she made one to give to her teacher this morning, thank you! My favorite are the giant clothespins that you stamped, wow, they are so unique looking. I can’t wait to try these. Did you use a 9″ or 12″ clothespin? The price difference is pretty big. What did you sell them for? I wouldn’t even know where to start other than my cost to make them. Thanks so much for sharing all your great ideas!


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Nov 13, 2013 @ 16:31:51

      Thanks so much Heather, you’re so sweet! To be honest I haven’t done a lot of crafting lately due to “crafter’s block” and am itching to get back down in the craft room (my basement…lol) and get back at it and do some new posts. So glad you enjoyed some of the crafts with your daughter. I used the 6″ clothepins actually, but you could use any of the large ones. The 6″ inch ones are only $1 at my A.C.Moore in the wood craft section (in bins on the wall). I think they are the perfect size – not TOO big. I sold them for about $3-$5 depending on how much work I put into them and the venue of the craft show. The ones I paint, I will tend to sell for more than just stamped ones. Hope this helps. Thanks again and good luck on all your craft adventures!


  16. Kimberly L Rakowski Dial
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 17:02:24

    Thanks so much the info, I am getting ready to dye some for a craft we’re going to do for my daughter bday party. I was planning on leaving the springs on too, I see I won’t do that now…..LOL…. Glad to find your sight and will be checking back again for more ideas!


  17. Jessica Martin
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 14:42:22

    Hi, I have painted the giant clothespins before and stamped them but I am definately going to try the coffee method as that seems much more simple! I also tried to do the silicone nightlights but had trouble getting the long point. Do you think you could use the store bought silicone bulbs and somehow get the cinnamon to stick to it to make it primitive. Any suggestions? How much did you sell those for at craft fairs?


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Apr 08, 2014 @ 08:53:19

      Hi Jessica, I am not sure about making the cinnamon stick to store bought ones. You would have to use some sort of adhesive and I feel like that is potential for them getting too hot and maybe being a hazard and starting fires….which would not be good. LOL. Sorry, I don’t have any good suggestions! The point is definitely the hardest part of making those bulbs. I usually dunk them in a few times and then pull it out really fast and straight up. Also, the longer the silicone sits in the cup, out in the open air, the more it cures and becomes harder to get the tip as time goes on. Just keep trying and experimenting with different brands also. Anyway, I sold them for $4.00 at craft shows and did really well with them. I tend to price on the cheaper side to “move” products. Hope this helps a little…happy crafting! 🙂


  18. Carol
    Jan 27, 2016 @ 03:35:57

    Hi! I wanted to dye clothes pins, but I didn’t want to buy the dye packs. This is perfect! I chuckled when someone asked what you were going to do with pins. I have a ton of ideas from Pinterest & now will have pretty pins. Thanks so much!


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Feb 04, 2016 @ 11:37:56

      Have fun Carol, and remember to take of the metal prongs if you don’t want them getting rusty. That was the only thing that I didn’t like about dying the clothespins. Sometimes that look will go with the theme though, for rustic or “primitive” crafts. Hope they come out well! 😀


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