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diy project: twig push-pins and wall hooks

by Grace Bonney

we have a big tree in our back yard that has become somewhat problematic. it grows at a very perilous 45 degree angle; i think it’s because its roots were dislodged by the placement of the neighboring fence and paved ground. anyway, our landlord has ordered a landscaper to come in and occasionally hack off bits, but the landscaper does this in a very haphazard manner. now the tree has all these blunt stumps where it has been cut and starts to grow new branches all askew…it looks ike it has a franken-elbow (technical term). they also never clean the pieces up AND they throw large pieces in the dumpster, not the green waste bin! okay, that’s enough complaining. here’s the lemonade from this situation: free twigs and branches!!

i have been collecting some of the nice round branches hacked off from poor sad tree and kept them for future projects, and on a rainy day like today one came to mind. the little twig push-pins are SO cute and take under an hour to make. dare i say thirty minutes even? the larger version is also a great way to add a little fun to your hanging collection of art. i hope you have some twigs lying around or a park nearby, so you can make these cuties. have fun!  kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

1. twigs, .25″ – 1″ diameter (at least 10″ long – so you can keep your fingers away from the saw)
2. saw (if you have or know someone who has a chop saw, good. that makes this project awesomely fast. if not, a simple hand saw will do work fine because these are so tiny)
3. hammer
4. small t-pins
5. small finishing nails (1.5″ long)
6. super glue (the gel is preferable, but any strong glue will work)
7. needle-nose pliers (with a cutting edge)
8. safety goggles and mask (for use during sawing)

t-pins, nails: $3
twigs, tools, etc: free, on hand

30 minutes to an hour


1. cut your twigs into small nubs, about .5″ long for the push-pins, and 1.5″ – 2″ long for the wall hooks. when using the saw, make sure your hand is far from the cutting area. do not use a twig that is under 5″ because your hand will be too close to where you are cutting. be safe!

2. take your needle-nose pliers and snip off the top of your t-pins and your finishing nails. for the t-pins, you want your headless pin lengths to be about .75″ long. for your nails, you want to cut off the small head part only, leaving the whole length of the nail. save one nail for later.

3. for the twig push-pins, hold your cut t-pin in the center of a round twig nub with the sharp point facing up. tap the pin with the hammer until it sinks into the wood about halfway. this won’t damage the tip too much (it will still be sharp enough to be a tack) and it will firmly secure the pin into the twig. repeat with the rest of your twig push-pins.

4. for the wall hooks, take the saved nail and hammer it into the top center of the larger twig nub, stopping when it has sunken in about .5″. use your pliers to pull the nail back out again, leaving a small hole in the center of the twig nub.

5. take one of your headless nails and dab superglue on the non sharp end. use your hammer to tap the glue end of the headless nail into the hole about .5 – .75″, leaving 1″ on nail exposed. let these dry.

6. now your hooks and push-pins are ready for use! depending on that surface you are nailing into, the hooks can hold about 10-15 lbs. – enough for a small mirror or picture frame.


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  • Oh I love this!!! Magnets would be adorable too. I’m going to have to ask my country-dwelling parents to cut me some nubs!

  • Whoa! Crazy coincidence: I just found my old bulletin board in the back of a closet this morning and installed it in my office. But I was mentally lamenting the lameness of my pushpins. I’m going to make these tonight!

  • Holy earth day batman! Saving scraps and making things beautiful – kate you rock it! where oh where did you get that adorable moss heart??

  • Such a glorious idea! I love this and will most definitely be making these, and possibly even gifting them! :) Thanks for being so smart && clever!! :D

  • What a wonderful idea! I’ll make some p.d.q.
    I made some wooden ‘buttons’ with my chop saw and Dremel, but I think they are decorative only (and I haven’t dreamed up a use!) Just slices, with two little holes.

  • this is such a great idea and it would make a great gift for any man in your life….I am thinking father’s day!

  • You can also use those double screws that furniture makers use for the large pieces. One side of the screw screws into the wood and you have a screw on the other side for a VERY secure way to screw into the wall.

  • I agree with all of the above: Such a creative and resourceful idea! They are a great way to bring the outdoors inside.

    I also LOVE the styling of these set of photos. They are just perfect!

  • I never thought of push-pins as of something, that can be pretty. This is just amazing idea! I love your blog, is so inspiring.

  • I recently had to cut down the tree that was growing outside my daughters bedroom window, it took a beating last winter and wasn’t going to make it. She was very sad, but this will make it so much better. Thanks, I can’t wait to surprise her!

  • these are darling… i am making a few sets this weeks for co-workers birthday presents… perfect gifts… thank you for such a marvelous idea…

  • Brilliant concept and such a sweet little gift to make for a number of people. I’m going to search for some fallen branches today.



  • Ah, I was looking for an excuse not to clear up my brush pile! Instead, now I can sort it into piles of branches to make cute wall hooks. I also have a dream of making natural building blocks, so the brush pile? Will likely be there forever.

  • Using a chop saw for this is a bit terrifying, without precautions. The off-cuts will fly in random directions at high speed. You can try using strong double-stick tape on a large piece of stock to secure the cut piece.
    You could also cut one by hand, scan it/take a picture, and then print out pictures, and glue those to commercial tacks…

  • What a fabulous, simple, resourceful idea! Brilliant! I’m definitely going to make these.

  • David B –
    If you take the right precautions, using the chop saw is perfectly safe. You should be wearing goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself from any fly-offs or sawdust, but you should always be wearing these when using a chop saw. Also, I recommend using a twig that is long enough to keep your hands at a safe distance from the saw. I certainly wouldn’t suggest sawing the nubs off a twig once it becomes less than 8″ long. If you follow these directions, using a chop saw is not a problem at all.

  • I love this Idea and I can’t wait to try it. Just wanted you to know, the tool pictured is not needle nose pliers (do a google image search). I don’t think needle nose pliers would be strong enough to cut a small nail. What you have pictured looks more like heavy duty wire cutters, which would be best suited for the job. You might want to edit your ‘materials’ list.

  • emiboo – i have both needle nose pliers and wire cutters pictured. i used the needle nose pliers for both the nails and the t-pins, and they worked (these are not super heavy duty nails). since you can use the pliers for both the push pins and small or medium size nails, i thought it was a better tool to suggest. but if you are using heavier nails, you may need more heavy duty wire cutters.

  • This is going to make a perfect gift for my brother, a very outdoorsey type of guy who is also a single dad. I figure these would make great magnets for his fridge to hang all the artwork his kids bring home. Thanks so much!

  • Great idea! I’ve got TONS of trees. But….ummm…you can’t cut anything with needlenose pliers, you use “cutters.” Needlenose pliers don’t cut. I do jewelry–of this I am sure.

    • charlotte

      check the materials description above: “needle-nose pliers (with a cutting edge)”

      you can buy needle-nose pliers with a cutting edge that will work for this project ;)


  • Love the idea! I’ve been gathering branches so someday I can sit down and actually do this. Does a certain type of tree work better than others?

  • I recently knitted the coffee press cozy you have listed as one of the DIY projects. I didn’t like any of the buttons I had, so I made some out of a stick! I cut them about 1/4″ thick, drilled 2 holes in each one, gave them a light sanding and sewed them on with yarn. I also put a little vegetable oil on them, to help keep them from drying out. I love the buttons so much, I’m going to make alot more, AND make some of these pins and hooks! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the knitting pattern too -it worked out great!

  • i love these, and i’m thinking of making some myself for my art studio, but i’m wondering do you need to do anything to “finish” the wood so that it doesn’t go bad (rot) or does that not happen…