New Ideas for Old Clothespins Give Air Plants a Lift

Simply Appealing

clothespins give air plants a lift

Air Plant Displays Get a Lift with Clothespins

Several years ago I was at a boutique and purchased some vintage clothespins. When I bought them I had no plans and no ideas about what I would do with them. I just liked them. Now, though, I’ve got both: plans and ideas. Vintage-style clothespins are just right for displaying air plants.

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What an innovative way to display air plants - clothespins

Beautiful and Sensible

Not only do air plant and clothespin displays look totally chic, but they are 100% practical. Watering these air plants is a cinch. Simply remove the air plants from their display to soak in water, then, after allowing the plants to dry, return them to the arrangement. Done.

One word of caution: the air plants must have a very narrow base for this display to work. I have successfully used aeranthos, butzii and bulbosa Guatemala. If you purchase your air plants online be sure to mention that you’d like air plants with a narrow base. You want the plant to be snug in the clothespin, but not squeezed or pinched.


  • vintage-style clothes pins
  • a vase, pot or other container. You can find glass vases at your local dollar store. Or, if you like the look of a clay pot, try a 4″ bonsai pot.
  • rocks to stabilize the clothespin and keep it upright. An assortment of pebbles can also be purchased at the dollar store.
  • air plant(s) with a narrow base. I’ve used aeranthos, butzii and bulbosa Guatemala. Ask for young plants. Large bulbosas will not fit in a clothespin.


select pot and cover drainage - air plants and clothespins

Select a pot or container to display your air plant. If there are drainage holes be sure to cover them. Pictured is a 4″ bonsai pot.

pour rocks around clothespin

Begin by holding the clothespin upright in the bottom of the container. Then pour rocks around the clothespin.

Firmly press down on the rocks - clothespins for air plant display

Using your fingers press down on the rocks to help them compact, firmly holding the clothespin in place.

open the clothespin to insert air plant

Now open the end of the clothespin enough so that the air plant will slide in.

Air plant and vintage style clothespin display

That’s all there is to it. Tillandsia butzii in a bonsai pot with a pastel top dressing elevated with a vintage style clothespin.

Ideas to Draw On

Once I got started, I just kept going, creating more and more clothespin displays, until I ran out of clothespins. Here’s a sampling of my creations:

tillandsia and clothespins

I purchased the glass vase from my local dollar store. The three larger rocks stabilizing the clothespin are from a family outing- a reminder of family fun. Pictured above is the Tillandsia bulbosa Guatemala.

dollar store vase air plant and clothespin

Here is another example of a dollar store vase used to display air plants.

T aeranthos and clothespin

Alternating black and white sand adds interest to this display. Shown is a T. aeranthos.

Easy was Never So Fun

These displays are great looking and easy care. These little sculptures are perfect for your tabletop and to share with friends.

(Psst, if you’re looking for a gift, these little air plant displays are perfect.)