You can buy a clipboard from anywhere. Preferably wood -- I haven't tried this project on plastic clipboard yet. I usually buy my clipboards from Staples in a multipack.
If you want to paint your clipboard, you need to sand it first. It's totally optional to paint it, but I prefer to with the light colored clipboards because I like them to be dark brown. If they come dark brown, then I don't paint them.
The paint I use was bought from Smith's Marketplace, so at the time that I bought it, I had no idea what I was buying. But luckily this paint (Rust-oleum American Accents) works great. I use a foam paint brush because it works better than a regular paintbrush. The paint goes on nice and smooth with a foam brush.
I totally coat the back and don't worry about painting over the two silver studs on the back. After the first coat dries, I usually add one more, if needed.
I paint the edges of the front so that I can leave a border around the clipboard with the paper.
After the paint is all dry, I measure my paper and cut it to size. I generally will use heavy scrapbooking paper. The thinner the paper, the more of a pain it is to ModPodge down -- bubbles, ripples, tears, etc... you don't wanna mess with that.
To measure where I need to cut out the section for the clip hardware, I line the paper up where I want it (so both border edges are even on both side) and slip it under the clip. I use a pen or anything to make the edges of each side of the clip hardware and then take it back out and cut it. Cut it a little bit at a time so you don't cut too far.
This is my first time using a corner rounder for a clipboard, but it looks a lot nicer than how I was doing it before (I was eyeballing it and trying to get both sides the same...it looked terrible most of the time).
This is optional, but I always tear my top piece so it looks ragged at the bottom where it will meet the smaller, second piece of paper. You can always just use one big piece if you don't want to mess with using two pieces. If you are going to tear it, make sure you've left your bottom piece of paper enough space to fit underneath the top paper...meaning make sure it's long enough...you'll see below.
The bottom piece of paper should just fit under the top piece so it looks like one piece. If you put too much of the bottom piece underneath, you may have a "bump" in the middle of your clipboard from the overlapping.
To adhere the paper to the clipboard, use ModPodge. I choose to use the matte ModPodge. And please, use a foam brush. It gives a smoother layer of ModPodge and is cleaner than using a regular brush. Slather it all over the top half of the clipboard and on the back of the top piece of paper. Carefully place the top piece of paper on the clipboard and smooth it down. ** Don't ModPodge the very bottom of this piece if you want to stick your bottom piece underneath. **
Best investment ever...seriously -- use a squeegee to smooth out any bubbles and excess ModPodge. I didn't have a squeegee for any of the other clipboards I made and they all have wrinkles or bubbles. Not terrible ones, but noticeable enough that it bugs me.
Repeat with the ModPodge on the bottom piece and slip it underneath the top piece. Make sure you now add ModPodge to the section on the top piece of paper that you left un-podged so it stays down and doesn't rip. After both pieces of paper are dry (give it about 5 minutes, it dries quickly), ModPodge the whole front -- on top of the paper and on the sides. This gives the clipboard a nice matte finish and allows it to be wiped if anything ever gets on it...and protects the paper.
Once the front is dry, I ModPodge the back as well -- for the same reason: protection. This is optional, of course.
Okay, now you may have noticed that in many of the pictures above, some of the clip hardware was painted blue, but the clip itself wasn't. I didn't wait long enough between coats and ruined the clip the first time around, so I decided to just wait until the end to repaint it. This is the first time I've painted the clip and hardware. It took two coats -- which need at least one hour of dry time in between. I used Martha Stewart Satin Paint. I think it looks kinda neat since it matches my paper.
To punch the holes in the clipboard, I used my Crop-a-dile. Love this tool. I used the bigger punch (where the arrow is) to punch the holes.
Because I didn't leave a lot of room on the border of the clipboard, I decided to place my holes up top.
I chose coordinating ribbon colors and tied them on through the holes. I added one to the clip for fun.
Ta-da! All done...looks cute, huh? It took me about 30 minutes total, counting drying time for the paint and ModPodge.
Here are some others I've made.