Friday, May 20, 2011

How to make a dummy clip....safely!

I get asked a lot how to make dummy clips and as I'm on leave I thought a post on how to make one would be good timing. Now you can try it at home and make a dummy clip to meet standards.
When I started making clips I used the European standards as Australia hasn't written their own. Dummy clips made or sold in Australia usually conform to EU 12586.
If you plan on making clips to sell I highly recommend purchasing the standard as they have some detailed information about how to make them safely and the testing methods.
Some basic points before you start:
  1. Use heavy duty grosgrain ribbon and if it has a pattern make sure it is washable.
  2. Ribbon can be 7/8" or 1" wide. It should not be any thinner.
  3. Metal clips should be lead and nickel free. Ask the supplier for a certificate that certifies this if you want to sell them
  4. Clips must be permanently attached to the metal clip. No snaps/velcro or adjustable clips.
  5. Clips cannot be any longer than 22cm including the clip. They cannot be lengthened or altered.
  6. Beads must be certified non toxic and lead free, same goes for any embellishments you wish to use.
  7. Clips that have a name, shape or embellishment added to them do not meet safety standards. You can make them for yourself but not to sell.
When I first started I bought dummy clips sold in stores to see how they were made and what warnings they had on their packets. The Munchkin one sold in stores is a good example:

After researching I then found ribbon that met my criteria. One of my favourite stores that sells to the public and sends here is:

I cut my ribbon into lengths of approx. 30cm.
The ribbon above has been heat sealed on the ends. This stops it from fraying. You can buy a heat sealer or even easier just use a candle:

A tea candle is easiest as it is low burning and stays lit for hours. Hold the end of the ribbon a cm away from the flame and watch it melt slightly until the end is sealed.

After heat sealing both ends I sew the ribbon onto the clip. Clips come in different sizes and I normally use a 1" clip as all ribbon fits onto it.
I sew using a sewing machine but it can be done by hand too. I use high quality cotton thread and sew 3 times onto the ribbon making sure to go over at the beginning and end so it doesn't unravel.
( This just means you sew a bit reverse and then go forward again. )

The sewn end of the clip, approx. 2cm of ribbon.

After sewing onto the clip I add the snaps on the end. I use resin snaps so they don't rust, they add strength and can be washed in warm water without melting. Snaps can be done with a hand machine or a snap press. Have a look here:

Unlike a lot of home made clips I double the end of the ribbon before adding the first snap. It adds strength and stops the ribbon stretching or wearing over time.

Then I add the second snap about 10cm away. This allows room for it to loop over the handle of the dummy.

Once the clip is finished and closed it should measure 22cm from end to end. :)

I hope this has answered some questions for those that have asked but if you have more come visit my Facebook page and ask me:



  1. very helpful as ive just started making them thanx xxx

  2. Very Helpful As Ive Just Started Making Them :)
    And Wasnt To Sure On Length Of Ribbon And Space Between Poppers But i Am Now Thank You x

  3. Very interesting read it helped my girlfriend make one for our daughter and its still going strong no matter how many times she throws the dummy in tantrum lol.

  4. Thanks for the comments everyone!

  5. Very helpful will be using your advice thankyou xxx

  6. Hi, Just wondering where you get your clips from?

    1. the metal clips Stacey can be bought wholesale or from
      I posted heaps of links on my Facebook page:
      but as you can see I am closed and will not be making anymore clips ever.

  7. What size letter beads do you use? As not sure

  8. Great advise thank you :)


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