Introduction: (bitter)sweet Hair Pins

Picture of (bitter)sweet Hair Pins

Unless the fact that I prefer my wife getting her (very) long hair unpinned sometimes it might be useful to pin things up.
Usually she uses chopsticks (well that's a nice hack!) but as a maker I thought her hair deserved better.

So here's a short I'ble to show you how I transformed some pieces of hardwood a friend wanted to burn (are you kidding?!) into a bunch of hair pins.

All you need is some scrapwood, a miter saw & a belt sander.

Making wooden hair pins is accessible to every woodworker. You can make them as complex as you want or just keep it simple. I made a few examples just to show how far you can go - and if you google a bit you'll see you can go veeeeeeeery far. Mine's are peanuts, compared to some.

Bittersweet? Well, while making the one with the knife handle I was thinking this could be a severe selfdefence tool. It's completely legal - just an innocent hair pin - but in the hands of a furious women this tool could do just a little bit damage.
I'd think twice before aggressing someone in the streets...

Special thanx to member AngryRedhead to transform some of my DIY-translations into decent English ;)

Step 1: Slice It

Picture of Slice It

Gather some (scrap) hardwood - I got some oak (the light one) & meranti.

Use a miter saw to cut slices of about 1/3 inch wide and 10 inches long (10mm-300mm).

Note: My wife calculated that for 'average long hair' everything between 8 & 9 inches should be okay (ornament included). This means that mine's are just a bit too long to be comfortable.

Step 2: Go Triangular

Picture of Go Triangular

Aim is to build conical pins, so you'll have to cut some piramids.
If you want to go sofisticated: cut out your design first.

Note: be aware that this kind of precision cutting with the miter saw can be a dangerous job. Instead of keeping the slice of wood in place manually I always clamp it with a second piece of wood (visible on the picture left above). Most miter saws have ready-made side clamps so you just have to clamp a piece of wood under the clamp & on the slice. Secure the whole & start cutting in all safety.

Step 3: Round It

Picture of Round It

Use a belt sander & have fun shaping.

Step 4: Decorate & SAND

Picture of Decorate & SAND

With a grinder you can do some great work. Use it, that inspiration!

What follows is sanding. A LOT of sanding...

Two things I learned:
- the oak is way much harder than the meranti
- the more brutal the sanding, the greater the collateral damage - exit one hair pin

Step 5: Finish!

Picture of Finish!

You'll finish that job with natural oil - walnut stays my ultime favourite. Wipe the excess with a towel.


Hope you liked it & thanx for watching!

Step 6: Bonus: the Knifed Hair Pin

Picture of Bonus: the Knifed Hair Pin

No big deal. Cut a few holes to fake the rivets, make a nice round stick, smash it with some cyanoacrylate or bicomp in the holes, cut & start sanding.


Mattrox (author)2014-03-27

I love these. I'm keen to make some. Not sure what I'd use them for...

rpb (author)2013-12-11

Really nice work!

Could you tell me what the dimensions of those pins are? I'm not familiar with them myself, but they would make an awesome gift. I wouldn't want to have a "Spinal Tap" moment and hand over some hair pins that are way too small or large! 8-)

bricobart (author)rpb2013-12-15

Hello again!

I did some tests - actually my wife did - and we discovered that those pins are just a bit too long while those sold in commerce are often not as long enough. So we set a kind of 'optimal length' to those pins (for anyone with 'a lot' of hair) and that should be 9 inches, more or less.

Hope this helps!

rpb (author)bricobart2013-12-20

Thanks - really helpful!

bricobart (author)rpb2013-12-11

They've got all the same length: 11.8 inches (30 cm)
Width: varying between 0.6 & 0.7 inches at the base of the cone (1.5 cm - 1.8 cm)

But... Every woman is different - fortunately ;) So are their hairs. One golden rule: the more, the longer & the thicker the hair the longer the stick has to be. The first pin I made for my wife was in olive, a thruly beautiful piece. But not long enough. So she never used it. This time I sighted longer - I'll tell you if these are right & I'll try to post some pictures...

So if the one you've got in mind has hair up halfway her back this dimension should be right...

rpb (author)bricobart2013-12-12


shallnot (author)2013-12-10

Sanding: slow; using a spokeshave: fast.

shallnot (author)shallnot2013-12-17

bricobart and throbscottle, A "contractor" grade 'shave or one that's been bashing about in the bottom of gradpa's old tool box for the last 50-years might only be good for wagon-wheel spokes but with today's well designed models--such as Lee Valley's low-angled 'shave--set up well, these pins would be a cinch and I'd be willing to bet that I could make a toothpick (he says with some amount of hyperbole).

bricobart (author)shallnot2013-12-11

Got to google 'cause I never heard that word before. Nice tool, never used it - but it seems quite difficult to me to do the finer work with it. It can replace the belt sander, I agree.

throbscottle (author)bricobart2013-12-11

A spokeshave is a wonderful tool and it is possible to do fairly precise work with it (though usually bigger than these pins)

casaroonc (author)2013-12-13

Totally dig your project. However I do have one concern. cutting wood like that on the chopsaw is dangerous, and easy way to lose a digit. I notice you using another piece of wood as a clamp by the Saw. Obviously you understand that but you didn't write about that in the instructible, and I think it's important to point out to other people.

Cutting those tapers would be a lot safer on a bandsaw, or even with a jigsaw.

All that being said, I think you did a really nice job on those hairpins. I believe I may be making some Christmas.

bricobart (author)casaroonc2013-12-15

You're absolutely right, I'll rectify this in the instructions. Sometimes safety precautions are so evident to me that I forget to note them for people who maybe are less aware of the danger of those tools.
Thanx for that constructive comment!

monkeysinacan (author)2013-12-15

What type of oil did you use?

kbuster (author)2013-12-10

I think I'll attempt this for my nieces for Christmas. Did this length work out well for your wife? It just seems a bit long for me, but, I'm a guy, so, what do I know.

bricobart (author)kbuster2013-12-15

Just in case if you'll start this project: 8 to 9 inches long is more than correct. Mine are just a bit too long to be comfortable!

bricobart (author)kbuster2013-12-10

Ask them if they can do it with a pencil. If the pencil's too short, you know you have to go bigger (for my wife a pencil's waaaaaaay too short!).

cblair1 (author)2013-12-11

I love your hairpins and have found wonderful homemade gifts for 2014!

bricobart (author)cblair12013-12-15

Just in case if you'll start this project: 8 to 9 inches long is more than correct. Mine are just a bit too long to be comfortable!

bricobart (author)cblair12013-12-11

Thanx, and happy I gave you some inspiration! If everybody starts doing the same my idea will loose a lot of its originality - just kidding ;)

sharonnah59 (author)2013-12-11

Hair pins? Harry Potter wands! And nice ones at that.

bricobart (author)sharonnah592013-12-11

Not Harry Potter again, pleaaaaaaaaaase!!! ;)

throbscottle (author)2013-12-11

I love how you've turned such bad looking pieces of wood into something so beautiful!

bricobart (author)throbscottle2013-12-11

Thank you, and an old quote may be appropriate here 'the inside is way more important that the outside' ;)

headlemk (author)2013-12-10

These would also make very nice scarf and shawl pins. Beautiful.

bricobart (author)headlemk2013-12-11

Didn't think about that, nice find!

GermanShepherdGirl (author)2013-12-10

These are beautiful! Your wife is a lucky girl. I have hair down to my bum and cannot find enough hair toys.

Thank you! You wouldn't say that if you woke up at 6.30 with the strong smell of epoxy in the house & the noise of an angle grinder. Sometimes she really isn't so lucky... ;)

jessyratfink (author)2013-12-09

Absolutely gorgeous! :D

bricobart (author)jessyratfink2013-12-10

Well thank you - hope my wife will say the same ;)

rosswaa (author)2013-12-08

the "knife" one looks more like a penis :) does the wife put that in her hair? lol

bricobart (author)rosswaa2013-12-08

Those penises from your planet are scaring me...

pmn9393 (author)bricobart2013-12-09

I see it too, sadly now i'll never look at a knife handle the same way again.

bricobart (author)pmn93932013-12-09

Oh man, the whole day I thought the same ;)

rsmith79 (author)2013-12-08

Look great... Off topic, but I've favourited it as I want to make my son(s) nice wooden wands (a-la-Harry potter)

bricobart (author)rsmith792013-12-08

I don't know if mine have magic power, I'll test it on our cats!
Wands are traditionally made from elderberry, handle with care! ;)

About This Instructable




Bio: I made a beer mug with only a knife & a hatchet. I think that says a lot about me.
More by bricobart:'Shave Mouse' Aka Revisited Shave Horse IKEAK - soft floor survival kayakA Day in the Life
Add instructable to: