Friday, July 5, 2013

Color-Stained Clothespin Sorting Activity

When I was pregnant with Clare, waaaaay back in early 2012, I went through a new and unfamiliar sort of maternity nesting - the desire to paint wooden toys.  It didn't go very far; the craving was satisfied with one evening of painting clothespins for a sorting activity for Ruth.   

I had first seen the idea on Pinterest, from this website here.  Ruth used it for a while before I took it back to satisfy my nesting urge.  I needed something wooden to paint, stat.

So I painted the tops of each clothespin and we used it as a color sorting activity.  (The ice cube mold is the type for making those long ice cubes cylinders for bottled drinks.) 

"old version"
Fast forward to present-day - it's Clare's absolute favorite activity.  Some of the pieces have been lost and I had never been entirely happy with how it had turned out.  So I decided to do a little refurb project...

I grabbed the leftover pins from the pack I purchased last year, sanded them and then used some mineral oil on them.  I had read on several different websites that using mineral oil was an inexpensive and safe way to seal wooden toys.  I didn't know what mineral oil was or what it was for.  So I was kind of embarrassed when I told the girl at the grocery store register that I couldn't find it and they went to get it for me.  

oh brother...
I used very fine sand paper.  Thanks, Dad!

I used a old soft kitchen towel to rub in the oil
this just shows you the difference in appearance that the oil makes. Of the natural pins on the left, the top one is oiled.  Of the red pins, the one on the right was oiled before I stained it.  I like the more vibrant look, so I oiled all the pins before staining.  

I stained 24 of the pins rainbow-ish colors.  I used non-toxic acrylic paints, watering each down a little until I got the stain that I wanted.  I wanted the colors to be vibrant, but I also wanted to be able to see the grain of the wood.  (It's pretty!)  I left three of the pins natural.  I didn't want to dry the pins laying down and risk damaging the stain, so I dried them on a cookie rack that I propped up on either side.

After the stain dried, I oiled each pin again twice to seal them.  

I'm really happy with how they turned out.  I like having the entire pin colored, and I'm so happy that the grain of the wood was preserved!  

All done.  Lots of fun.  Pretty baby toys for a pretty sweet baby!



  1. Oh my goodness...SOOO cute! I may have to steal this idea!

    1. Be my guest, Mary! I think my next project is one I'm swiping from you ;) - the painted wooden figures / barrels in a wood box toy. I've had the stuff FOREVER and now feel brave enough to try painting them!

  2. Love the new pictures but I MISS THE PENCILS!!! Love Ya Aunt Claire

    1. Thanks, aunt Claire. I don't care for the new header and miss the pencils also, so I'm hoping I'll be able to change it again soon! Love you!

  3. What a great project! So pretty and sweet. I think I am going to tuck away this idea for a nice project to do with the kids!


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