One of my favorite things to do is take something that is old and humdrum and breathe new life and beauty into it.
Take these standard-issue, old-school clipboards…
I don’t know if they even make them like this anymore! Who knows how long I’ve had these things hidden in the vast recesses of my supply closet? They’ve been used, yes, but have they been treasured? Mmm…don’t think so!! In fact, I’ve probably hurt these guys’ feelings, because I have gone out and replaced them several times over with brand new, shiny plastic models, while they moldered in their cupboard, neglected and forlorn. That is until today…
Today, I had on my art desk, a pile of lovely, leftover watercolor papers cut into triangles from a past art project. They were just begging for me to do something with them and, for whatever reason, those old clipboards popped into my head. Their time had come!!
Time for a little bippity, boppity, boo!
I brushed on a coat of white acrylic. Because they were still streaky, as you see above, I gave them a second coat of white acrylic to even it out. I did choose to leave some of the streaky quality showing, because my personal aesthetic is “rustic”; I happen to like a distressed, time-worn look:)
Next I added areas of color to the front…
and the back.
After allowing this to dry, I experimented with laying out those paper triangles in different arrangements on the clipboards. You can create the triangles by you or your child painting pages of paper with watercolor, letting them dry, and then using a paper cutter to slice them into triangle shapes. Once I was settled on a design, I grabbed my never-failing Mod Podge and began work on glueing everything down.
The thing to remember with Mod Podge is you want the paper completely encased in the glue. I brushed Mod Podge on the clipboard, set the triangle into the wet Mod Podge, and then brushed more Mod Podge over the top of the triangle, being especially careful to cover all edges. You want to use an old brush for this, because you are essentially working with glue, which would ruin a high-quality brush. I love these utility brushes I pick up at my home improvement store: 1-inch Chip Brush.
One thing to watch out for when working with Mod Podge is the color-fastness of what you are brushing the glue over. If you brush over papers too many times, sometimes the pigment will pull up from your paper and spread into areas you don’t want. I trouble-shoot this by not working the brush over the area too many times. If I see color lifting, I dab my brush onto scratch paper or paper towel to get rid of any pigment before moving on. This is really only an issue with the first coat of Mod Podge.
I applied Mod Podge over not only my triangles, but also the entire surface of the clipboard so the sheen would be uniform throughout.
Mod Podge works best when applied in multiple layers, so I grabbed a cup of coffee while waiting for the first coat to dry and then applied a second coat.
Then, I repeated the entire process on the backside of the clipboard.
See that one triangle with the wrinkle in it? You want to make sure you press all of those flat before the Mod Podge dries, or else you will get an air bubble underneath.
The Mod Podge process took a while, because everything required multiple coats and drying-time in between, but I actually love these kinds of projects where I can step away at various stages of the process and tend to things around my house like throwing in a load of laundry, starting a meal, picking up the kids from school, and that sort of thing. I completed both clipboards in a day with all of the stops and starts.
Now, if you are someone who doesn’t typically use clipboards, you have no excuse, because…
Look how cute these are hung up on the wall in my daughter’s art space!!!!
Yay! This always makes me so happy when I see something transformed from trash to treasure! I love these soooo much more than all of my store-bought, plasticky clipboards!
watercolor paper (any size)
paper cutter ( or scissors are fine)
White Acrylic Paint (and other desired colors)
old, medium size paintbrush
Other Ideas and Uses for your Pretty Clipboards:
*Instead of cut watercolor triangles, you could use washi tape to create designs on your clipboards with a layer or two of Mod Podge over the top for good measure.
*Cut random shapes from your old sketchbooks or art journals to Mod Podge down.
*Use smaller-size clipboards as recipe card holders in the kitchen.
*Keep a clipboard in the car for your child to use as an art desk on car rides.
*Post your child’s chore-list on a clipboard.
*Clip lengths of grosgrain ribbon to the board to hold all of your hair bows and barrettes.
*Prop your finished clipboard on a small table-top easel or picture holder and clip love notes to each member of your family.
*These make great gifts for teachers!