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Clothespin Reindeer Ornaments

Clothespin Reindeer OrnamentsFor this year’s 1st grade holiday party I was tasked with creating a craft activity for the kids. Clothespin Reindeer Ornaments were the oldie but goodie that was just the right fit.  This little guy is a festive keepsake charmer.  For the parents, we wrote each kids’s name and the year on the back of the ornament and it was fixed with a loop to hang on the tree.  And for the kids, a treat bag was also clipped into the reindeer’s mouth for a tasty take home treat!  The steps were simple for the kids to follow and the result couldn’t be any cuter.  This is a great craft that still stands the test of time.  Here’s what to do…

Supplies (per each ornament) – 

1 Red Pom Pom (as small as possible) 

2 – 5mm glue on Googly Eyes 

2 Brown Pipe Cleaners 

1 Standard Spring-style Clothespin

1 Sandwich Baggie

1/4 cup Holiday M & M’s 

12″ Red or Green 3/4″ Satin Ribbon


Red Sharpie Marker

Reindeer SuppliesFirst, take one pipe cleaner and cut it to 8″.  I used wire cutters, but a sturdy pair of scissors could also work.

first cut of antler prongsCut the remaining piece of the pipe cleaner in two – each measuring about 2″.

2nd cut of antler prongsTake the 8″ piece of pipe cleaner and bend in half.  Place the center of the bend at the smallest groove inside the clothespin.

wrap in small grooveWrap around the front of one side of the clothespin and twist one time.

twist in placeTamp down the twist and pull the antlers out to make the shape of a “U” with the pincher of the clothespin facing down.  Now take the two small pieces of pipe cleaner and place one on each side of the antler, about an inch down.  Twist the smaller piece around the main piece once and shape as desired.

twist on smaller prongsNext, glue on the eyes.  I told the kids to pretend the metal bar was the eyebrows and to glue the eyes right below that.  At home I used Tacky Glue, which works great, but at school we just used the plain old Elmer’s stuff.  They both dry clear, which is important to remind the kids.  Also, for them it was easier to put the glue directly on clothespin and then add the eyes to it.

glue on eyesNow glue the pom pom down by the end of the clothespin.

glue on nose

Take the satin ribbon and cut to a 12″ strand.  By cutting the end at a diagonal or inverted “V” you will keep the ribbon from fraying.cut ribbon

Fold the ribbon in half and open the clothespin.  Place the middle of the ribbon ABOVE the antlers, next to the spring.  Tie once to secure the placement and then loop into a simple bow.  This step had to be done by the adults for our group of 6/7 year olds.
tie on bowTake the second pipe cleaner and cut it to 6″.  Thread it through the metal spring’s coil.  Shape into an “O” and twist at the top to close; flatten out the twist so it looks seamless.  This will become the loop to hang the ornament by.  If you don’t want to use pipe cleaner, you can use ribbon, string or wire; the principle will remain the same.

add a hanging loopIf desired, add the child’s name to the upper portion of the back of the clothespin.  I found it easiest to fit the names if you turn the clothespin horizontally and write the name towards the metal spring.  Write the year in the lower portion (pass the metal bar).  I tried multiple things – paint pen, puffy paint, and then finally a fine point Sharpie marker.  The Sharpie is your best option, even if it does bleed slightly.  It is simple, clean and you can pick your own color.

write the child's nameFinally, scoop 1/4 cup (or more if desired) of M&M’s into a sandwich bag.  Before sealing the ziploc, roll tightly from the bottom up, releasing the air in the bag as you go.  Seal the bag and then re-roll the deflated empty section up to the M&M’s.  Divide the candy in half and clip the reindeer on between the two sides (with the empty bag section hidden on the backside).  Viola – you have a cute holiday craft that is also a keepsake holiday ornament! Hopefully it will be something that will be cherished for years…except the M&M’s of course – those will be gone before you look twice!

Clip on snack bag

Happy Holidays!


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