Nose Clips

Nose clips keep water out of your nose.  I like to use them when practicing rolls in fresh water.  They looked easy enough to make, so I did a little research on the Kayak Building Bulletin Board and then built some great clips.  I tried several designs.  The design that worked best is made from Minicel foam on ends of a wire.  This was the  performance criteria:

This is how I make the nose clips: 

(Click any photo for a larger image) 

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12 gauge single-strand copper wire (plastic coated) is cut to a 3.5 inch length to form the structure of the nose clip.  It is flexible, but firm enough that it doesn't relax when on the nose.   It is readily available at hardware stores.

The ends are curled over to provide a firm, flat surface upon which the foam may be glued.

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Quarter-inch minicel foam strips are cut 3/4 inch wide.  Four little squares of foam are needed for each nose clip.  The foam is easier to handle if cut to final size after cementing.

One good coating of contact cement is brushed on one side of each foam strip and allowed to get tacky (10 or 15 minutes).  Then a second good coat is applied and allowed to get tacky.  

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The wire is laid down on  the form, approximately 3/4" apart.  

A drop of contact cement is dabbed on each curved wire end after it is placed on the foam.  Alternatively, they could have been brushed or dipped in contact cement.   One way or another, we want a good, strong contact cement bond.  We don't want the clips we give to friends to come apart! 

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The wires are encased in minicel, then cut to size.


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Completed nose clips.  The foam is cut square, then the corners are trimmed off to make an 8-edged foam block.

There is no need to attach a string to these nose clips, unless the paddler does not have a pocket or deck shock cord to store the clip when not  in use. 

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 They stay well on the nose and float, although would be nearly impossible to find if lost in whitewater.  I keep a few in my zippered vest PFD pocket.

If you try these clips, I think you will find them more comfortable and more effective than most store-bought clips.  

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Here are two of the other nose clip designs I tried before deciding that the minicel foam on 12 gauge wire was best for me.  I dipped wire (left in this photo; also dipped wire with foam) into liquid plastic.  Half of these ended up as scrap due to cosmetic reasons.  Otherwise, they worked okay. 

Another try was forcing plastic aquarium air tubing over the wire-- uncomfortable to wear on the nose.


Thank you for reading this far, and thanks to the folks who provided the ideas on how to make nose clips.                                                       

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Created May 8, 2005