Apr 232014

Thus far, all of the clipboards in my MisterPenQuin Etsy shop have been of the miniature variety, 4-inches by 4-inches, designed to accommodate a Post-it® note pad. Last week, however, a customer asked if I could alter a 6-inch by 9-inch clipboard for her, decorating it with autumn-colored papers and one of my layered flowers. Why not?

Unaltered clipboard

I began by gathering some basic tools: a template for the paper that would fit beneath the clip, a mechanical pencil for tracing around the template, scissors, and an Xacto knife for precise trimming.

Beginning tools

Next came my favorite part: selecting the papers for the clipboard and arranging them in the sequence they would be adhered to the clipboard. I usually use Mod Podge® Matte by Plaid® as a glue. There is a version of this that is designed for paper, but I have not noticed an appreciable difference between it and this version of Mod Podge®. Technically speaking, Mod Podge® acts as a water-based glue, sealer and finish, but I use it mainly as a glue because it’s tacky as a sealer and finish.

Arranging the papers

Once I adhere the papers to the clipboard, I sand the edges. The purpose of this is not so much to remove excess paper from the clipboard, but to “seal” the paper to the edge so that it does not lift up over time. After that, I stain the edges with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Walnut Stain. This is the back side of the clipboard. I don’t suppose you really need to cover the back, but it gives the project a finished look.

Final clipboard 2

To protect the paper from water spills, nicks and clip abuse (that clip grips a paper pad pretty firmly, but when there’s nothing to grip, it acts like a knife on the decorative paper), I brushed it with several coats of an acid-free gel medium, specifically Golden Soft Gel Medium. A gel medium is typically used in collage work, much like Mod Podge®, but the difference is that it’s not tacky when it’s dry, thus it’s great to use as a sealer and finish. I don’t generally use it as a glue, however, because it is definitely more expensive to use than Mod Podge®.

Gel medium

To make the layered flower, I used three different flower dies and my Big Shot to cut the flower shapes. There are so many different ways to make flowers that if you don’t own a die, it really doesn’t matter. You can even cut your flowers freehand, and then simply layer them. To give mine a 3-D look, I curved the petals by using a McGill® embossing stylus and mat.

Layered flower in progress

I applied some glue between the flower layers, and then sewed a button on top. I think it took longer to locate all of the equipment for the flower than it took to assemble it!

Layered flower

I added some coordinating ribbon to the back of the flower, and then attached the finished flower to the clip with adhesive Pop Dots from Plaid®.

Final clipboard 3

Here’s the finished clipboard, which will be shipped tomorrow. It takes a while to complete these clipboards, but it’s a fun process.

Final clipboard 1

© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Sep 172011

Although creative expression is usually its own holiday for me, those of you who follow this site likely noticed that I took a holiday from posting. It has been 2-1/2 months since my father passed away from a long bout with lung cancer, and 2-1/2 weeks since my husband and I returned from a month-long stay in Germany, where we visited my father’s side of the family. During our travels in Germany I did keep a travel diary, but did not post online because I did not want to announce to the world that our house was unoccupied. If you are interested in what we did and what we saw, you can read my back-dated posts that will begin appearing on Word Walks, my family life blog, very shortly. You can also read a little bit about my father HERE.

We are now starting to get back to our own priorities, finding a new “normal” (whatever that is). Part of that process is picking up old threads and weaving them back into the fabric of our life. Those threads include writing regularly, making and selling handmade goods, and participating in online challenges, such as the 52 Weeks Challenge that I joined  many months ago but left behind me as my father’s final days approached.

Next month I am selling my paper-crafted goods at a local craft show, so the coming weeks will be busy as I create stock for my booth. Among them is a redesign of the Post-it Note® Mini Clipboards I make for my online shop, Mister PenQuin on Etsy, shown below. It is also this week’s entry for the 52 Weeks Challenge.

Mini Clipboards for Post it Notes


© 2011 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.