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The Many Uses Of Paper Clips

Updated on February 11, 2015

What Did You Use It For Today?

The design for the paper clip has changed over time. All of which are a folded up steel wire.

According to, the idea of putting papers together started in the 13th century when people put ribbon in the corners of their pages to hold them together. Then, wax was added to the ribbons. This source goes to say that in 1835 a man used a straight piece of wire for medical uses but it became known as the strait pin. This pin was used instead of the ribbons and wax in America. Later, Johan Vaaler received a patent for the item in Germany in 1899. In America, in 1901, he received a patent for the product.

In another article,, Samuel B. Fay in 1867 patented for something that looked like a paper clip. This was not a very popular design for the item. The 'gem' design for the item was already in use by the year 1900. A lot of people tried to patent this item before the that time. Also, the article has many images of early paper clips.

image: DChance

Get Dirt Out Of Nails


After gardening, many people get dirt on their hands, under their nails and on their clothing. The pieces of dirt are often hard to get out with using just soap and water.

I would not want to put my fingers to my mouth or my face after being in dirt. My fingers would have that smell of dirt on my nails, too.

The only way to get the dirt out is to pick it out. Sure, you can use one of your other nails. Some nail files have tools that you can use to help clean the nail. But, if you don't have anything else, use a paper clip.

Lock pick for bathroom roll dispenser


I know this sound illegal but is not, for a janitor. Do not try this if you are not suppose to change the roll.

I was give no original key to open the bathroom roll dispenser. The paper clip had been used to open the lock on it. This is not easy. The dispenser has hit me on the head many times. My glasses get smashed to my face. It hurts to get smacked by one them. Try to stay out to the side before it opens.

Trying to unlock a dispenser might cause the dispenser to fall on top of you..One did fall down. I was lucky not to get hurt.

Make Into Shapes


This is really easy. It is also something that a kid can do for a craft. Unravel the paper clip. Then, make it into your favorite shape.

Kids can put the shape together. Then, close off the ends. This will give them a string of paper clip shapes.

Image: DChance

Tie Dye Shirts - Four

You can use number three to help with this one. The shapes that were created can be put on a shirt.

This is how it is done.

a. Cut out a piece of card board to put in-between the shirt. This will help the shirt to only have color on one side.

b. Put the shapes down on the shirt. They can be any type of shape. However, the card board must be under the shirt part you are working on.

c. Spray the shapes.

d. Leave the shirts to dry for a a few hours.

e. Once, dry take off the paper clip shapes.

f. Wash the shirt after a few more hours. The ink might spread to other shirts, so you might have to wash this shirt alone or with others that you have be working on in that project.

SEI Tumble Dye Craft and Fabric Spray, 2-Ounce, Mixed Colors, 8 Per Package
SEI Tumble Dye Craft and Fabric Spray, 2-Ounce, Mixed Colors, 8 Per Package

This kit has many different colors to use on your shirts.


Christmas Tree Ornaments


Paper clips can be used as Christmas tree ornaments. The shapes made can be put on paper clips to hang on the tree.

The hooks on the Christmas tree ornaments often brake, so paper clips can be used if their are not any spar clips left to hang up decorations.

Experiments With Paper Clips

Two more choices of what to do with paper clips.

6. Floating a paper clip in water

7. Moving a paper clip up a rubber band

8. Making a sling shot out of a rubber band.

Float your paper clip in water.

Please, do not try this in school. You will get detention.

Use Pointillism In Your Painting - Nine

Using pointillism is a long drawn out task. Like any painting, choice what you will do before you start it.

You can draw the painting out first. This helps more than you will ever know, however, some people just lightly sketch out their creations on their canvas. Both are all right.

Once you have your sketch make out put it on the canvas.

Fill in the white areas with paint. This is done by dipping your brush into paint. Then, you put it on the painting over and over again.

The paper clip can be used as a tool to correct mistakes. The paint can be fixed by moving the paint around while it is still wet. When the paint is dry, you can overlap the mistakes with some paint, using the pointillism process.

Also, the paper clip can be used to make very small points, if you need more detail to your project.

Seurat (Taschen Basic Art Series)
Seurat (Taschen Basic Art Series)

This is a great example of pointillism. The examples in this book are exactly what your painted should look like as you develop your craft.


Paper Clips

They can be used to just hold paper together.

The Product

You can find this item at any office supply store. It is used mostly in offices and in home use.

There is no real telling when the paper clip was originally created but it was sometime during the 1800's. There are versions that didn't have a patient for the design in this time period. Knowing that communication was not like it is today, many people have said they created this office tool.

image: DChance

Do you have any strange uses for paper clips?

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