Making wooden tarp clips

I wanted to try hanging some drop cloths. But the drop cloth did not come with grommet holes, so I needed some way to attach to the edge of the cloth.

Something like a "tarp clip" as sold by Lee Valley Tools and others would do the job, but because this was for indoors, I figured I could make some clips out of wood instead.


For the locking mechanism, each clip needs a hole drilled across it. I figured the easiest would be to drill those before cutting the wood into individual pieces.

I used my pantorouter with the dovetail template still on it to space out the holes.


After that, cutting the strips of wood to shorter pieces, seven at a time. Each piece will form two clips.


Each clip has a slot cut up to the hole. I first thought of using my tenon jig to cut these, but the pieces were too short to mount on the jig. Not needing that much accuracy, it was easier to just jig these up on my table saw sled instead. No clamping, just holding the piece of wood against a block I clamped to the sled.


Then sanding all the edges slightly round on the belt sander. Once I get in a routine, I can do each one in about five seconds.


Another hole through the blocks for tying or screwing the clip to something. I also chamfered the edges of the holes using a countersink bit to not chafe a string through the holes.


With all the machining complete, time to cut the pieces into individual clips.


I made a batch of 40, along with the "pins" for locking them.

The pins are 2.5x2.5 pieces of wood, chamfered on all edges with a hand plane.


The way the clips work is to fold over the edge of the cloth, then put the pin in the hole. The thicker pin prevents the cloth from getting pulled out of the hole. Depending on how tight the pin is, it's conceivable that the fabric might pull around the pin eventually, though with a folded over seam on the edge of the cloth, it's too thick to make its way around the pin.


Even with repeated yanking, I was not able to pull the clip off.

Only aftewards did I look up the cost of tarp clips. They cost around $2 each! Having made 40 of them (and probably more to come), I guess I just saved $80 right there. Not bad.


Update I made these clips in March 2014.
Then figured I should paint the whole shop before hanging drop cloths.
Finally got around to hanging the drop cloths in January 2015.


See also:


Back to my Woodworking website.