This week I will show you how to use your Silhouette to make these cute clipboards. I don’t know about you, but my creative personality is sometimes at war with order and organization. I have to focus on creating storage and organization solutions that work or else my desk has piles everywhere. So the idea for this project came about by trying to come up with a way to display important stuff in a way that I can see it in a glance, I can change out said important stuff easily, and it has to be pretty. Because I won’t use it if it’s ugly. I am a visual person, and that’s just how I roll.
Before I detail the steps I wanted to tell you that this post contains affiliate links to the actual products I used to create this project.
So the supplies (besides the actual Silhouette!) are cheap and easy. Paper of your choice, Modgepodge, sponge brushes, craft paint, of course the clipboards! I went to Dollar Tree to try to buy clipboards but sadly they didn’t have any. If they do in the future I will update this post with some cut files for that clipboard too! So after seeing they were $7 each at the office supply store I went on Amazon.com and picked the cheapest ones I could find. This is the link to those boards which is a six pack of clipboards. You can still do the project without these clipboards, but dimensions will probably not line up. I am including instructions for creating this link with different clipboards down below.
Prior to cutting your files, take your clipboards and paint the edges a complimentary color. I didn’t do this and when I got all my shapes printed out I was super excited to assemble everything and I had to wait for the paint to dry. So trust me. Do it first! You don’t need to paint the whole thing, just the edges as shown in the pictures. I just used white craft paint and a sponge brush.
Now most of you will probably use scrapbook paper for this project. Us crafty types usually have more than we need and there are so many cute options! But just in case you want to make your own, I will tell you how I designed mine. Instead of using scrapbook paper, I simply printed out patterns from the internet on my laser printer. That’s right folks, I used cheap printer paper and a laser printer. I haven’t committed to an accent color yet in my office, so I really didn’t want to make the clipboards anything but neutral. I searched for free vector backgrounds on Google. Then I downloaded a bunch that I thought would work but most were not a color that I liked. So I fired up Illustrator, imported my background vectors and changed the colors to grey. Part of being a graphic designer is that I feel the need to tweak things. But if I were to do them again I would probably just use scrapbook paper as it would cut the time in half.
Now if you don’t have a Silhouette I am sure you could just very carefully try to trim around the clipboard. However I wanted it to have nice edges and I am not that gifted with a craft knife. Nor did I want to repeat that process five times over.
So I sucked it up and made a template of the clipboard but taking a piece of paper and a pen and tracing around the metal clip area. Next I popped the whole clipboard into my scanner (yes it’s weird but it works) and I scanned the clipboard. If you scan it at 100%, then you have an exact copy of it without having to resize. Then I scanned my tracing of the metal part of the clipboard. I pieced them together in Photoshop. Next I took that file over to Illustrator and traced it with the pen tool.
Now I had a completed template of my clipboard. I saved it as an SVG file and imported it into the Silhouette software.
Once I was ready to cut the paper, realized I had a problem. My laser printer prints standard letter size paper and my clipboard was bigger than that. So I had to come up with a solution. I initially was going to simply put a number in a circle in the middle of each clipboard. Instead I designed a band going across and placed the number on it. This acted as a dividing line also hid the seam where my two different sheets of paper were meeting. At first my plan was just to do the same pattern above and below. But then I got to thinking… I already have to cut a second piece of paper, why not change the print? So back to Illustrator I went. I created mockups of each clipboard so I could make sure I liked my contrasting patterns together. And in the end I thought it was much more visually interesting. So yay for a problem actually turning into a design improvement.
Next I cut out the numbers and bands. The white was just blank printer paper. The grey was just a solid grey rectangle printed out on my laser printer.
Finally I got to assemble.You will need Modge Podge (or a homemade equivalent if you are really adventurous) and a sponge brush or something to spread it. I placed glue on the bottom half of the clipboard and applied the first piece.
I only had issues trying to hold the clip open and apply the glue and then get the paper under it all at the same time. I was worried about it sticking to the clip part when it dried but I didn’t have issues. I saved the strips across and the numbers for last. I put the glue on the back of the paper instead of on the clipboard for the smaller pieces.
You can go over the whole thing with ModgePodge for a shiny topcoat or leave it as is. The topcoat will make it more durable.
And then I got to enjoy the finished results!
Please note: Unless you use the same clipboards, my cut file isn’t going to match exactly. You can probably still use it if you make minor adjustments. I would use scrap paper and cut out the background and then adjust the file based on the fit. Another option is to delete the cutout around the clip area in your Silhouette file and then just trim that area with a craft knife to fit it. And you can always use the numbers and bands and just cut background paper. Or you can use my method that I used to create the file in the first place.
Also if you use big enough paper you won’t need to use two different sheets of paper. You can simply cover it in one sheet if you like. I added a single sheet template in case that is what you want to do.
As always, thank you so much for visiting! I would love to hear from you, or even see your finished projects!
Download your Silhouette Cut Files Here: