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An Illustrated Tutorial for Hidden Paperclips

I've been crafting since I could hold a paintbrush. I love to repurpose random things. Most of my articles are about arts and crafts.

Hidden paperclip on a junk journal page holding a postcard.

Hidden paperclip on a junk journal page holding a postcard.

Why Should You Make a Hidden Paperclip?

I make a lot of pockets for my junk journals. I love them because I can make them any size I want, but you must glue them into the journal. I wanted something that was more versatile and that I could possibly move around in the journal. Another limitation of a pocket is that it has a fixed size opening, which limits what you can store in the space. A hidden paperclip can hold items of different sizes, even those far larger than the clip itself.

Three Reasons to Make Hidden Paperclips

  • I decided to make hidden paperclips because I can slide any size treasure into it for safekeeping in my journal. The paperclip secures the item you are saving to the page without glue.
  • The second bonus is that it has two sides. So, I can save a special letter on one side and the flip the page and have another memory secured on the other side.
  • This is also a really great way to use up scrap paper and snippets of string and other embellishments. For me, part of junk journaling is recycling and using up every last piece of paper, string, stickers and more.

What You'll Need

  • 3–4 pieces of decorative paper
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Craft glue
  • Large paperclip
  • Variety of string, stickers, or any embellishments for decoration

Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Make a Large Hidden Paperclip

  1. Lay your paper out and cut strips into equal widths.
  2. Cut the strips into different lengths.
  3. Fold the strips in half.
  4. Slide the paperclip onto the center of the fold of the largest piece of folded paper.
  5. Glue the second largest piece of paper onto the first with the paperclip sandwiched between them.
  6. At this point you can layer in a piece of string or ribbon. (Optional)
  7. Keep layering your folded pieces of paper and glue them to the others.
  8. I decided to add fluffy string and ribbon to the paper edges to hide the transitions between each layer. Then to finish it off, I added some words, but you can add glitter, buttons, small silk flowers or lace. There are no rules here.
  9. I like a more vintage look in my crafts. Once the glue has dried and all the ribbon and string is in place, I like to age the edges of the paper by inking it.
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Read More From Feltmagnet

I didn’t add any dimensions to this craft because it doesn’t matter how wide or narrow, long or short your hidden paperclip embellishment is. You get to decide as you make this craft. Actually, the scraps of paper I was working with decided the size of each of the examples in this tutorial.

Decoration Tips and Things to Remember

  • I found that 3 to 4 layers are enough. Any more than that and the hidden paperclip becomes too bulky.
  • Consider where your hidden paperclip is going to sit on the page and what you want it to hold. This will decide whether you decorate the paper in a landscape or in a portrait design.
  • Don’t be afraid to leave some rough edges here and there. It gives the hidden paperclip a rustic, vintage feel, which I love.
  • One thing that I did realize, though, is that the size of your paperclip should dictate the size of the paper pieces. If you have wide pieces of paper, you will need a larger paperclip. If the paperclip is too small, it won’t be strong enough to hold anything securely.
  • If you don’t have any large paperclips, you could try to line about 3 smaller paperclips side by side. This could work if the item to want to hold/store is light. Otherwise, you could make the hidden paperclip really small and use it as a page tab instead.
  • Add a tassel to give your journal a little flair.
  • Change it up a bit and make each side of your hidden paperclip look a little different. It has the same paper on each side but you can use different colors for the ribbon or string.
  • Put a silk flower on one side and a butterfly on the other. That way it feels like two different clips when you turn the pages.
Side clip with machine sewn edges.

Side clip with machine sewn edges.

Top Clip

Top Clip

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Celeste Wilson