Homesteady: DIY Wooden Collar Stays

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Lots of button-down shirts come with collar stays — small pieces of plastic — and tiny pockets for them. Collar stays help keep the corners of your collar nice and pointy. But they’re easy to lose, and, well…plastic-y! Here’s how to make your own set of nice wooden ones, for yourself or as a gift.


You will need:


  1. Trace a collar stay you already have onto balsa wood, or sketch your own (they are 2.25 inches long by .25 inches wide).
  2. Cut your trace out roughly — don’t try to make it perfect.
  3. Sand down the edges and corners until they’re smooth.
  4. Now, you can embellish them however you want! Try adding initials by stamping or using a wood-burning kit. And remember, it’s probably not a good idea to send these through the washer and dryer.



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Hannah Clay Wareham

Hannah Clay Wareham blogs about DIY projects, recipes, and inspiration, over at the Homesteady, where Martha Stewart meets Liz Lemon (and LL picks the donut shop).

Hannah has written 18 articles for us.


  1. This is such a cute gift project, I love the idea of personalizing them.
    Question, do you think I would be able to attempt this by cutting and/or sanding down a popsicle stick? That doesn’t seem like a stretch in my mind, but it quite possible could be.

    • Hi Cee! Definitely give it a try. A popsicle stick might splinter a little more easily, but sanding could work!

      • Thanks so much for your reply, I definitely didn’t think about splintering, but I am going to give it a try.

  2. Is this mostly ‘menswear’ type shirts? I love this, and I want to make crisp corners a thing with my femme wardrobe, but none of my blouses seem to have the pockets.

    • I’ve only seen them on men’s shirts – the collars have stays and are much stiffer to hold a tie where women’s tend to be floppier. One of many good features on men’s clothing that should really be on women’s too! :~(

    • Collar stays and their little pockets are typically found in “menswear” shirts, to help keep the collar pointy for neckties.

  3. Do you get balsa wood at a craft store? This is a way better solution than the crappy plastic ones I’ve currently got.

    • Hi Nemo! Yeah, balsa wood is easy to find at craft stores. Sometimes it’s in a sheet, sometimes in weird shapes.

  4. wow. #collargoals

    the only collar stays i’ve experienced are those weird starch ones that are there when you buy the shirt and then they disappear when you wash it.

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