Mystery Mondays: 127 Uses For Clothespins

Use 73: Reflecting In The Dark

Okay, I don’t know if there are REALLY 127 uses for clothespins but it sure seems like there might be!

When ESP Boss trained dogs for Search & Rescue, he used clothes pins with surveyors tape attached to them to mark where the “victim” had walked. As the victim walked, she would clip the pins to bushes, marking the trail. That way, ESP Boss would be know more or less if the dog was following the scent trail or if he was just off in chase-the-lizard land.

Since then, these clothespins with surveying tape on them have become a must-have item for all our outdoor adventures!

Not only are they perfect for closing the bag of potato chips (use 23) or hanging out among the general debris of the truck (use 103) they are fantastic to clip on the guy wires of the tent so we don’t walk into them.

At a geocaching event March 2010.

ESP Boss made his clothespins to not only have surveyors tape attached, but also reflecting tape. That way, when I’m walking near the tent in the middle of the night, not only does my flashlight beam illuminate the fluttering clothespins, the reflecting tape shows me exactly where the guy line is!

How To Make Reflecting Clothes Pins


  • Clothespins
  • Surveyors Tape
  • Reflective Tape
  • Scissors

Make sure the clothespin is clean and dry. Cut a narrow strip of reflective tape. Peel off the paper backing and firmly press the adhesive onto the clothespin. Repeat with other side.

I put some on the "handle" of the clothespin as well as the head.

Cut a length of surveyors tape: about 10-12 inches. The tape is pretty wide so I cut down the middle and make two strips. Holding the clothespin open with one hand, slide the tape into the pin, against the hinge. Make sure you have equal lengths on either side of the pin. Tie the tape securely around the clothespin.

You want to make sure the knot is tight, but don’t pull it too hard; the surveyors tape will stretch and break.

Add a second color of surveyors tape or 1/8″ ribbon.

I like using two colors of surveyors tape.

You can also clip these clothespins to your backpack or clothing when you’re hiking in the dark or at dusk (use 57). It’s a great way to add reflective strips without actually sticking it to your clothing. This is especially helpful if you’re walking along a roadway!

Selection of clothespins: with and without reflective tape.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What are your outdoor adventure “tricks” that make life safer and easier?
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