Decorate office supplies with fabric | How About Orange

May 08, 2008

Decorate office supplies with fabric

While procrastinating at my desk yesterday, I found myself staring at our letter opener and thinking how plain it looked. Clearly I couldn't keep using such an abomination. It must be decorated.

See? It's so.... white. And those clips. So black. No fun. I'd seen some lovely binder clips available for purchase here and here, decoupaged with paper, but I wasn't sure how fabric would work. Experiment time.

1) I tried three options: fabric pieces with iron-on interfacing applied, fabric with HeatnBond applied (not that I was going to iron it to the metal, but it makes your fabric sort of papery when you've pulled off the backing), and just plain fabric.
2) Trimmed the pieces carefully to size.
3) Removed the wire handles of the clips (very easy).
4) Applied spray adhesive to the back of the fabric pieces and stuck them to the surfaces.
5) Reattached the wire handles.
6) Painted on two coats of gel medium (thinned with a little water) to seal the fabric on.

Verdict: My interfacing was too thick. Not needed. HeatnBond was good, because it gave the fabric just a bit of stiffness, making it easier to position. Fabric alone worked okay, too. The gel medium seals it down so the edges won't fray. Happiness.

63 comments:

Grandma G said...

FINALLY I got to see 'em! They turned out so CUTE!

What a great project for "procrastinating time"! ;-)

Mum

Guilford said...

Images are all broken... Or is it just me??

Jess said...

Blogger is being poopy. That's a technical term. I don't know what's up with them. I'm sure they'll fix it.

kelly said...

You. Are. Awesome! I totally love this. Thanks so much for sharing!

kristen said...

you have such a cute sight! i'm just wondering how you set up your little etsy grid on the left sidebar?

Jess said...

Kristen, if you have an etsy account and click "Your Etsy," in the left sidebar at the bottom there's a link called "Etsy Mini." Click it, and you can format the widget however you like with things from your shop or your favorites, then paste the html code into your blog.

kristen said...

ooo i do! www.maydaystudiodesigns.com
thanks i'm just learning!!

Angela said...

Oooo...ahhh...I do believe I might try this one. Thanks!

elizabeth @ elizabeth anne designs said...

unique easy and fun! great idea. :)

mary said...

OK, you're way too good.

rinse*repeat said...

Love this.

Yesterday I spent FOUR hours with a glue gun and some very retro 70's file folder boxes that I just can't have inhabiting my space anymore. My next task was binder clips and other accessories...so thanks for the hint!!

bcre8uv said...

Adorable! Definitely going to try that.

Larissa Holland said...

well, howdy doody! Another cool idea. thanks!

Cicada Studio said...

I will definitely have to give this a try. Thanks for doing the tests, that was a good chunk of what may have stopped me!

puglyfeet said...

Genius!

Amy said...

oh good lord...how simple and cute an idea that is!

kat said...

brilliant!
i use the black clips quite a lot, so will definitely try this. thanks :-)

Melissa Lewis-Off The Wall said...

What a great idea, I will definitely be giving this a try!

goody-goody said...

Never have office supplies looked so tasty.

Amber P. said...

What an adorable idea! I just wish I didn't lose office supplies so quickly. I might be more likely to invest so much time and energy into beautifying them!

Erin said...

You come up with some of the oddest yet coolest things ever! I love it! :)

Beadiful Things said...

cuteness!

Margaret said...

This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

jcaroline said...

Great idea! So that's what you've been doing...

Jess said...

Yeah, for two weeks.

Just kidding.

lori said...

LOVE this idea! This will give me something to do with all those tiny scraps I can't seem to bear to part with!

kelly said...

I loved this so much I submitted it to the Craft blog.

And...it's up! Right here!

Keep up the great work!

katie said...

Is gel medium similar to modge podge? Would they work the same way? If not, where would I locate gel medium to purchase?

Jess said...

Kelly, thanks! That's fun.

Katie, I think they're the same. I bet it would work just as well. (Gel medium is found at any art supply store, most likely.)

Paper Dolls for Boys said...

You are the Kind Midas of the crafty world, but it a good way!
Cheers, Tracey

Paper Dolls for Boys said...

Turn that kind into KING - I've got to go study for the spelling bee. Peace out!

Jess said...

Ha! I was a little confused by "Kind"! Thanks!

gene x hwang said...

Hey just found your blog since our friend Natalie blogged about it on Craft. Love your name - our photography studio is called Orange Photography! :)

Little Red said...

I saw this post linked and went "!!!!!!!" because, seriously, OFFICE SUPPLIES! and FABRIC! mentioned TOGETHER! It's kind of the most perfect post title (for me) in the history of post-titling.

And what a fabulous idea! I use so many binder clips every week (and don't get to re-use them too often, since I give them away) that I'll have to see how much time it takes me before I cover all my binder clips... but there must be other exciting things I can fabric! Staplers, or something! I'll keep you posted.

-- Little Red, rather delirious on office supplies after a very long work week.

melissa deakin said...

these are so fabulous.
thanks so much for sharing what worked.
can you share the dimensions to cut the fabric?
thanks ever so much!

ayumills said...

Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome tutorial! Can't wait to try this out!

pam said...

SA-WEET! Thanks for the little tutorial. I love those, now to jut find the time...

Defessa said...

This is too cute! Now I have something else to make for my office-supply-loving daughter before she goes away to college. I can also see this as Teacher Gifts!

Jess said...

Melissa, I just made little pen marks on the back side of the fabric to indicate the edges of the clips. And then I'd cut it out, wrap it around the clip to test it, and slice off any overhang until it fit just right. Once you have a piece sized correctly, you can lay it on your next piece of fabric like a template and cut around it. All my clips are different sizes, too, so this method was easier than measuring.

Just Jaime said...

Have I told you lately that I love you? Probably not because a) it's kind of creepy and b) I'm not sure that I've actually come out of lurksville before now. Well here I am to tell you how I feel. I love your blog and I love your style. Thanks for all of the fabulous tips and tricks.

Jess said...

Wow, thanks!

Junie Moon said...

What a really cute idea as office supplies are generally awfully boring. But not any more when you've come up with such a brilliant solution.

laura said...

So glad that we get to benefit from your "procrastination problem"...:)

Love the Hermes purse too...

Chantel said...

Just wanted to congratulate you on getting your DIY project on Design*Sponge. This looks like a lot of fun to try.

Jess said...

Thanks!

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

Dear How about Orange, I came here via moscaluna blog.

Oh you make me LAUGH!! - you truly are a decorator when you see a paper clip and letter opener and decorate them!! I LOVE IT!! Oh to be so inspired to decorate!!

Country Decor said...

I found some adorable country fabric patterns at Primitive Home Decor.

JoLynn from The Fit Shack said...

Hi Jess,

Found your site through Melissa at Pink Paper Peppermints. :)

These are so creative and would make your office so much more cheerful, and make work so much more fun, thanks!

Erin Ferree said...

Great tutorial - and what a good ting to do with fabric scraps! I can never throw them out.

Here's how mine came out:
http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/1129157/31801504

Jess said...

Erin, I couldn't get the link to work. Wanna try again?

tingaling said...

Thank you for the tutorial! I made some this weekend, put the results on my blog, and also linked to yours. THANKS!

Lois said...

Love this idea and I want to fill little (clear) bags of them (different sizes) for my friends at Christmas time. I used Mod Podge over the fabric and it is a little rough --- is there any way around that? Is there a technique to make the surface smooth? Thank you!

Jess said...

You could try sanding them lightly with very fine sandpaper or steel wool, and then maybe putting on another coat of Mod Podge. I've never tried this, but I've heard of people doing it when decoupaging. Love your idea of Christmas presents in clear bags!

lois folino said...

Thanks Jess!
By the way, I am going to close my little clear bags with rubber-stamped paper folded in half and then stapled to the bag -- sort of like the paper/cardboard that is printed on both sides and then stapled on a larger bag of candy and hung (for sale) on a wire peg in a grocery store. You know what I mean?

Jess said...

Yep, sounds lovely!

Leah Ingram said...

A reader of my blog The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal) pointed me to this posting, because I'd just written about ways to reuse binder clips. What you've done to them is just adorable. I wish I were this crafty!

Leah

Kitty said...

Don't know if you'd be interested to know, but I am going to try these as curtain clips...I made my own shower curtain and I can't find any curtain clips that will look right with it. So I'm going to try covering a dozen of these and see how that turns out.

You are amazing by the way, I love your blog so much.

Jess said...

Thanks, Kitty. Good luck with your project.

createacraft said...

great .. I fancied about disguising my office supplies.. you just gave the courage and technique thanks...

Dina said...

I just found this through Tip Nut. I love it. I think I will try this with left over scrap book paper. and give as gifts with some metal cans from Michaels crafts which I will also decorate with scrap book paper and mod podge of course. Thanks for such a cool idea.

Sunny said...

Oh so cute! As if I didn't have enough problems with people stealing my office supplies :)

Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

I just love this! Adorable! Found your blog through your feature on Design sponge! I am pinning this..too cool not to :)

SensationallySarah said...

These are so cute! I am linking up here with some modifications! Thank you so much for the inspiration! (http://sensationallysrh.blogspot.com/2012/02/binder-clips-covered-in-map-these-are.html#comment-form)

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