DYI clothespins frame

Hi readers,

long time no hear, I know: sorry about that.

Today I’m publishing a page for the Adobe ACP Spotlight and for this occasion I thought about going back reviving an old way of mounting pictures, DYI very easy and good for all forms of environment.

This is the final result hanging in my living room


It is a very easy way to create your own artworks. Extremely effortless.

Good thing about it:

  • it’s cheap
  • it’s very easy to make
  • it looks precious
  • it’s very light so every wall can hold it

What you need:

  • foam board (I use A5)
  • glue
  • wooden clothespins, a bunch ( I painted mine as I am using some old damaged ones, although they are going to get covered, so it is quite pointless – mines are coloured just for the aesthetics of the pictures for the tutorial)
  • mulberry paper (I am using a pink one in size A4)
  • scissors
  • maybe a saw/cutter and sandpaper


Before we start:

To get prepared for your work, remove the spring clip from the clothespins, as you are only going to use the wood of them.

Note: don’t use liquid glue on mulberry paper, it rarely gives a good result.


Let’s get creative!

First of all you have to choose an illustration. I am using one that I made with Adobe Shapes, app included in Adobe Capture. It is a book holder that my grandma had in her home and that now my mom has. Adorable marble cats.

Once I cleaned my image, I saved it to my Libraries and then once in Photoshop I created a new document with the shape of an A4 and imported my image from the libraries to the new document. Now, remembering I am using a pink paper, I created a background that somehow reminds of the paper to check the final effect, you can be as precise as you want, the more the better, as usual


When printing on your mulberry paper, you might want to resize the illustration for the paper. But above all, remember to remove the background and print on a transparent one!


I notice that black and white and desaturated pictures give the best results, as well as very soft colours and pastel nuances if you are working on a white paper


Once I am done with the printing, it’s time to  go mounting my picture on the frame. The color of the paper, picture on top, is somewhat changed by the fact that it lays on a blue base that you will see soon, as I use it to protect my working table

Pick your foam board and start building the backside with the clothespins, mine as said is an A5. Since mulberry paper is always a bit transparent, I chose a white foam board to keep the pink color as brilliant as possible


You’d might need to cut some clothespins, and in that case a saw might be good. If you have strong hands you can even use a boxcutter, but then you really have to rely on your hands to break them in two. Soften the edges with sandpaper (240 more than ok) eventually, once they are in pieces

When you have created a good frame on the backside, use a good glue to make it hold. Here you can use either liquid or not. You see in the first picture in the four grid on top which was my choice. Let it dry then for best results, above all if it is liquid, so that it does not stain your mulberry paper

Once you are done with this, it’s time to mount the picture on the other side of the foam board.

So turn your base around and work on the front side of the foam board




Start by centering the illustration using the corners of the A5 to place it where it fits best. As with everything, the more accurate, the better

Use non liquid glue to make it adhere to the foam board



Cut the corners of the paper with a scissor straight to the conjuncture of your frame beneathphoto-2017-01-29-17-31-42


Now, here you have two choices: either you just cut the paper and let it rest (my way) or if you can see a good cornering for the frame, so that no space around the clothespins will remain uncovered, go for the cutting here. Me, I will do it later



Once you have found the right position, glued on top, and cut the corners, it’s time to turn your artwork again and keep on with glue, patience, and enthusiasm

Next step is wrapping your paper around the clothespins and cut the corners like Christmas paper, so that every side is well covered and no bubbles of air interfere with your work.

photo-2017-01-29-17-41-39While it’s getting dark here, and I am sorry for this unfocused picture, all that I want to say now is that when you fold your paper you have two new choices: either you cut your paper so that it wraps solely around the clothespins, or you put some glue to the backside of the foam board and then the result is as in the picture. This is more of an aesthetic choice, even if the alternative as in the picture is somewhat safe as the more you glue the paper, the better it will hold to the frame. This is the backside, so don’t get too picky. Nobody will see it anyhow.

Be good but gentle when pressing the paper to hold. I find using a soft base to work onto quite comfortable, but do really find your way


Keep on working on your corners until they are perfect. I don’t have a great eye and at times it ends up with some extra paper, like in the picture above. Even if this is the bottom and it is less visible, I keep on cutting and glueing until it looks good


Let the glue dry and we are done!

These frames are very light, so you don’t need more than a nail to hang them, just remember: is there a heater a radiator or the AC right close to the frame? Then it’s a no-no-no. Don’t hang it close to sources of heat or wherever temperature can be altered. It would affect either the colors or/and the glue and its resistance


This is a lovely way to produce works of any sort that you can hang in your home, and your print can be just as complicated as your paper can take. You can choose whatever sort of mulberry paper too, with more deco, more nerves, more silk… it’s all up to your skills

But if you want to make these work saleable, then my best tips are:

  • use a stapler for wood rather than glue or together with it
  • create two rows of clothespins for bigger frames (A3 and so forth)
  • cover the clothespins with somewhat thick paper to create uniformity
  • add a hook to hang the picture, or two if the frame is big or landscape
  • …sign it before you sell it, it’s your work, let the world know 🙂

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