How to Use Paper and Decoupage to Decorate a Clipboard

by PeggyHazelwood

Use decorative paper and Mod Podge decoupage to decorate a boring brown clipboard. Use the clipboard as a picture frame or to hold your papers.

Clipboards come in brown and brown. Brown is a perfectly good color, but it's just so brown. If you want to decorate a clipboard or two to make them fit your decor or to give to someone, it's easy to do.

With some fun decorative paper, like scrapbook paper, paper napkins, or even the Sunday comics, and Mod Podge decoupage medium, you can dress up a boring brown clipboard and make a one-of-a-kind craft that you'll want to display.

What You'll Need to Decorate Using Paper and Decoupage

Decorating a Clipboard

Decoupage is one of the easiest crafts to learn because basically there are no rules. You can decorate just about any object and use any paper.

The only thing you really need is some decoupage medium, like Mod Podge, a paintbrush, something to decorate like a clipboard, and some paper.

Gather your decorating supplies so you'll be ready to go. To decoupage on a clipboard, you'll need these basic supplies:

  • a clipboard
  • some paper
  • scissors
  • Mod Podge decoupage medium, matte or gloss finish works fine
  • a paintbrush

You might also want to use these craft supplies:

Clipboards as Works of Art











This photo shows the back of a clipboard that I made for someone who loves maps. Decide what your main theme will be and go from there.

I used some rubber stamps and ink here and there to embellish over top of the maps, then I added the person's initials using a stencil and some paint to personalize it even more.

It's easy to get started making decoupage projects. Wal-mart and Amazon offer scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, and clipboards for making this useful and fun craft.

Decoupage on a Clipboard

Front of clipboard with decoupaged papers.
Front of clipboard with decoupaged pa...
Peggy Hazelwood

Get Busy Crafting Your Decoupaged Clipboard

Decoupage is a forgiving craft so have fun

A big part of the fun of decoupaging is deciding what you want your clipboard to look like when you're finished. If you're making it for yourself, decide how you'll use it.

Will you hang it on the wall with a picture of your kids clipped to it? Will you carry it around the house with your chore list attached? Is it to hand to your hubby on Saturday morning with his honey-do list attached?

I used a twistie tie thingie to prop open the clip on the clipboard while I worked on it. I pressed down on the clip as if I were adding paper to the clipboard then threaded the twistie tie through the holes and secured it. This allowed me to paint the clipboard and use the decoupage medium without having to worry about the clip getting permanently stuck to the board.

Decide what you want the clipboard to look like. Do you want to paint it first? This is a photo of the clipboard that I painted before I added paper using decoupage medium.

I painted the clipboard with a coat blue acrylic paint then added some streaks of green and brown to give the clipboard a mottled look. I don't like anything to look too perfect (because that's not something I'm good at any way).

Another View of Back of Clipboard with Decoupaged Paper

Back of decoupaged clipboard.
Back of decoupaged clipboard.
Peggy Hazelwood

Decoupage Tips and Tricks

Mod Podge is Fun but It's Not Perfect

As with any craft, the more you know, the better your craft project will turn out. Here are a few tip and tricks I've learned along the way that might save you a bit of frustration.

  • Start in the middle and push the paper out from there. When using Mod Podge to affix a large (or small) piece of paper to an object, apply Mod Podge decoupage medium to the center of the paper and press it down onto the object.
  • Make sure you push out from the middle to help eliminate creases in the paper. It's easier to lift the sides (do this quickly before the medium begins to dry) to get to the middle than working from one side to the other. Or wing it and try it out to see what works for you. 
  • Keep a straight pin--you know, like you'd use in sewing, if you sewed--handy. As you apply the Mod Podge and then watch it dry, use the pin to pop any little air bubbles on the surface. This will give a cleaner finish.
  • Wash your paintbrush right away and by right away, I mean immediately. Within 5 minutes please. The Mod Podge medium begins to dry fairly quickly so use warm water to rinse your brush. Or stick the brush in an old glass with warm water till you can wash it out with soapy water. I have ruined paintbrushes so I know of what I type. They dry rock hard.

Apply the Paper Using Mod Podge

Layer the Paper for a Fun Look (if you want to)

Cut out the paper you want to use to decoupage onto the clipboard. Trim the edges, rip the paper for a more rustic, organic look, or carefully burn the edges like I did on the map I used. Be careful when burning the paper and do this over the sink or bathtub.

You can use any or all of these types of paper:

  • napkins
  • tissue paper
  • maps
  • book pages
  • cereal boxes (or tissue boxes or pretty much any type of box)
  • scrapbook paper
  • calendars
  • greeting cards

You get the idea. Almost any type of paper will work for decoupage crafts but remember these tips for preparing the paper:

  • If you use something thin like tissue paper or napkins, apply the Mod Podge to the surface of the clipboard or other object then carefully set the paper on the surface.
  • Separate heavy paper into thin layers, like a cereal box and just use the thin layer with the decorative picture or words. Discard the boring gray layers in the recycle bin.

Apply the paper to the clipboard in whatever design appeals to you. Stamp any designs onto the paper at this point, if desired.

Add a coat of Mod Podge decoupage medium over top of the clipboard and paper covering the entire surface. Do the front then back (or the back then the front) but just be sure to let one side dry before working on the other unless you can prop it up so all sides can dry.

Experiment with the paintbrush. Use a foam brush for a nondescript finish. Use a bristle brush if you want lines in the finish. Dab on the medium holding the paintbrush straight up and down to give a stippled, textured look to your clipboard.

Apply at least two coats of Mod Podge, letting the coats dry before adding the next coat.

Save Containers and Add Scrapbook Paper

Store Craft Supplies Inside
Decoupage How To -- Cover Boxes with Decoupage
Decoupage How To -- Cover Boxes with ...

More Fun with Decoupage Crafts

Matchbox Crafts
Matchbox crafts are a way to craft in miniature, especially if you choose to use the small matchboxes that measure about 2 inches by 1-3/8 inches. It's also possible to craft with the small match books.

Making Collages

Making collages is a craft that all ages can enjoy. Face it, it's fun to cut and paste! And with computers you can do all of your cutting and pasting online to create art collages, if you want! Collage is also called mixed media, altered art, art collage, and probably 20 other names.

Updated: 10/19/2014, PeggyHazelwood
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katiem2 on 04/09/2012

I love this idea, I love clip boards, I used to carry one around when I was a production supervisor of an air filtration company. I learned the value of having things at hand then and never gave up the clip board. They come in very handy with my article marketing work as I can take my clip board anywhere I go, working from my tablet, phone or the like. I love the decoupage art and will def be doing this with my daughters, nice gifts as well.

Mujjen on 10/28/2011

We love crafts. My friend showed us how to do decoupage, she makes lovely things.

SquidRich on 08/25/2011

Wonderfully creative!

Jimmie on 07/04/2011

Wow, I want to run out and buy modpodge right now! I love crafting.

puzzlemaker on 06/27/2011

Super idea. I've decoupaged other similar items, but never thought of clipboards. This is really neat.

Jimmie on 06/07/2011

Fantastic tutorial for something I'd love to do.

sheilamarie on 06/07/2011

I love this idea! You've described how to do it really well. Thanks!

HSSchulte on 06/07/2011

Great way to dress up something old and blah!

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