Embroidered Paperclips Tutorial

I’ll admit it, I have a thing for office and school supplies: notebooks, pens, file folders, paperclips . . . . Maybe they appeal to my longing for organization. Maybe they trigger fond memories of school days. Or maybe I just like the bright colors. Who knows?

No matter how cool office supplies are right out of the package, we can make them cooler. We can spiff them up, trick them out, and make them uniquely ours. All with a bit of fabric and thread and a needle. Scraps, really.

“What?” you ask. “Personalize a paperclip? We knew you were a Nut, Jen, but come on . . . a paperclip?”

Um…yeah. I like to personalize paperclips. And other office supplies, too, but let’s start with the humble paperclip.

  • Materials used to embroider a paperclip.


    This is a great way to use scraps; many fabrics and fibers can be used. Here, I’m using 18-count monocanvas from Zweigart®, Caron Watercolours (205 Saffron), and a large (2-inch) paperclip.

  • Smyrna Crosses on 18-ct monocanvas

    Step 1

    Stitch Smyrna crosses (or any other design) the length of your paperclip on canvas, fabric, or other ground material in the colors and threads of your choice. Anything goes. Names and words like “Done!” and “Help!” might be fun and useful.

Smyrna Cross Pattern, Funk & Weber Designs

Smyrna Cross pattern

  • Satin stitches around paperclip design

    Step 2

    Satin stitch around the crosses, but heads up . . .

  • Satin Stitches Catch Outer Paperclip Wire

    Step 2, too

    You want to catch the long sides of the outermost wires in the stitches, encasing them, and attaching the embroidery to the paperclip.

  • Gluing the edges around the needlework

    Step 3

    From the back, apply your favorite PVA (white) glue or sealer around the stitching, saturating the threads to secure the edges. I like Gem Tac from Beacon Adhesives because it dries clear, flexible, and non-tacky. Plaid’s Fabric Mod Podge is another good choice.

  • Trim around the paperclip

    Step 4

    When the glue is good and dry, cut around the paperclip and stitching, through the glued edge.

  • Pretty stitched paperclips


    Easy. Fun. Cool! They make excellent, useful gifts.

  • Assorted embroidered paperclips

    Go Nuts!

    These are some of the other paperclips I have within reach today. If you’re familiar with our bracelets, note the picot edge stitch on some of these.

    These are great portable projects, a wonderful use of scraps and doodles. These useful little things are another way to get needlework off the wall and into your life!

So do you still think I’m Nuts? Is this something you might try?

7 Responses to “Embroidered Paperclips Tutorial”

  1. bea

    They look lovely, something different to do with stitching

    Have a good day, a lot of snow in Atlantic Canada, digging out today

    February 16, 2015 @ 4:52 am
  2. Jen

    Stay safe and warm, Bea! I’m missing the stitching time afforded by a cold, dark winter, but I’ll have one of those again next year.

    February 16, 2015 @ 8:51 am
  3. Now this is super cool!

    February 16, 2015 @ 4:55 am
  4. Jen

    Thanks, Melissa!

    February 16, 2015 @ 8:51 am
  5. Becca

    I remember these from way back, but had forgotten. These are so cool!.

    February 16, 2015 @ 7:17 am
  6. Jen

    Becca, you salty Nut, you! Do you remember what comes next? I think you especially loved the second round of clips–coming (again) next week.

    February 16, 2015 @ 8:53 am
  7. Harriet, Norway

    I like these 🙂 i use a lot of paperclips, and may make me some pretty ones now!

    February 17, 2015 @ 6:17 am

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