101 Uses for a Paper Clip

Collected by Xrysostom

Paper Clip

A friend of mine was challenged by a professor to provide 101 uses for the common paper clip. She passed the request on to an email list we share and some of us contributed to what she'd begun. Help from another list was solicited and we accumulated over 125 distinct uses. If you have more that you'd like me to add, please email me.

Note that many of these were submitted by Lutheran clergy and active church-goers, so there are some that are a bit "inside".

  1. hem holder
  2. cigar filter unstopper
  3. spray bottle unclogger
  4. eye glass repair
  5. hair barrette
  6. zipper tab
  7. clean fingernails
  8. Xmas ornament holder
  9. unclog Elmer's glue bottle
  10. calendar holder
  11. belt holder
  12. emergency cotter pin
  13. emergency diaper pin (boy! do I date myself there!)
  14. unclog baby bottle nipples (man! I was sure careful to put all the modifiers in there)
  15. strawberry huller
  16. cherry pit remover
  17. hymn marker (for organists)
  18. a substitute for the thingy that holds the scotch tape in a tape dispenser
  19. substitute for a twist-tie to close a plastic bag
  20. poke snoozing parishioners
  21. clean the little roller thingies in your mouse
  22. a pastor's helper to assist in making sure he turns the right number of pages in the altar book while conducting the Communion liturgy
  23. substitute toothpick and/or hard floss
  24. clean the shaft on your mechanical pencil
  25. toenail cleaner
  26. emergency Tie Tack (large ones only)
  27. inexpensive ear (or body?)-piercing tool
  28. inexpensive ear (or nose?)ring
  29. when combined with a rubber band, can be used to earn a three-day vacation" from eighth grade
  30. sparkly and useful alternative to throwing rice at weddings
  31. Lilliputian water divining rod
  32. holding dangles on a pierced ear
  33. cone incense holder/stand
  34. reset a Palm Pilot or Handspring Visor
  35. eject a powered-off LS-120 drive
  36. eject a powered-off Zip drive
  37. eject a powered-off CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, or DVD drive
  38. actor for Micro$oft Office "help" system
  39. snow shoes for mice, birds, and other small creatures
  40. booger hunting device
  41. arrange clips to spell "TIP?" and leave in lieu of cash when service stinks in a restaurant
  42. similarly, spell "happy birthday" on a cake for the office workaholic
  43. clip all these suggestions together, wrap, and send as a gifts to your cheap, I mean frugal, friends and relations
  44. emergency corkscrew
  45. pubic hair for Bionic Woman
  46. splint for minor injuries of fingers & toes
  47. makeshift antenna for small electronics
  48. miniature slingshot
  49. miniature catapult
  50. when a fellow smashes his thumb in a range gate, and the blood begins pressuring under the thumbnail, the doctor takes a paper clip, straightens it, heats its tip up good and proper at a bunson burner, and plunges the thing through the thumbnail to make a hole to relieve the pressure.
  51. construction of drinking straw buildings (slide clip in end and link together)
  52. nose weight for paper airplanes
  53. central weight (several together) for a Come-back-can powered by rubber bands
  54. substitute playing pieces for game (bend small part up to grasp)
  55. card holder when strung along string or wire
  56. necklace/bracelet (children love stringing them)
  57. emergency key chain
  58. emergency key to bathroom knobs (the ones that have the hole in the middle to slip a long skinny thing in and pop them open)
  59. quick find tabs for favorite recipes
  60. hold papers together (too obvious?)
  61. book mark
  62. pry bar
  63. lottery ticket scratcher
  64. pipe cleaner
  65. necklace clasp
  66. chain link
  67. fuse replacement
  68. punch a pilot hole
  69. clean the head on an acetylene torch
  70. Pirate" earring (old haunted house trick)
  71. hold the collar of your clerical together beneath the tab
  72. hold up the exhaust system under the car
  73. lock the door to the bird cage, hamster cage, etc.
  74. let the air out of your tire when you over-fill it
  75. let the air out of someone else's tires when he parks across multiple spaces
  76. emergency fish hook
  77. hold temple to glasses when screw is lost
  78. grind one end to point; use for home tattooing
  79. desk-top sculpture kit for when your computer solitaire game is down
  80. castration rings for small animals
  81. construct see-through dress for next year's Oscars®
  82. clean narrow grout
  83. wrap with copper wire, connect to battery, and use to hold papers on refrigerator
  84. put a couple hands-full in your pockets and have fun with the airport metal detectors
  85. pop zits
  86. rub some on a bar magnet, then set on hostile co-worker's desk near floppy disks and hope for the best (or worst)
  87. connect three straight chains to a chain loop and make a hanger for flower pots
  88. branding irons for miniature cattle
  89. fashion a summer-weight chastity belt
  90. cut in short lengths and use as spikes in your model railroading
  91. hold the cavity closed while baking your Thanksgiving turkey
  92. bend open and use as fangs to attract the attention of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  93. straighten and use as ramrod in very small bore muzzle-loading weapon
  94. decorate the office Christmas tree
  95. take a box in the forest and drop them every so often so you can find your way home from the Gingerbread House
  96. take a box to the beach and scatter about to drive the guy with the metal detector nuts
  97. use to punch holes in cheap white cheese you're bringing to a snooty party
  98. drop a couple dozen in an empty soda can and shake it to cheer the home team
  99. stretch chains across a fire to construct a barbecue grill
  100. stick in the door lock and break off to get some peace in the bathroom
  101. make a crude tuning fork for your already out-of-pitch barbershop quartet

But Wait . . . There's More!

As I said, my friend needed only 101 uses, but ended up with quite a few extra. This section will grow with your imagination (or mine).

  1. construct a playground for ants
  2. skewers for very tiny shish-ke-bobs
  3. with tissue paper, construct a teeny-tiny kazoo
  4. use as frame in constructing life-size papier machè statue of Martha Stewart
  5. bend in a "U", carefully insert bare ends in an electrical outlet at the office early on a Friday afternoon in hopes that departmental blackout will result in an early weekend
  6. craft a veil for the bride who left it at her mother's house and realized it ten minutes before the wedding was to begin
  7. fashion emergency wedding rings to replace those lost by the drunken best man
  8. use chains to connect tin cans to the newlyweds' car
  9. use to hang bells from the newlyweds' bed
  10. make tongs to remove veggies you don't like from the soup
  11. tool to flick crumbs out of keyboard
  12. clean gunk from rings
  13. money clip
  14. separate eyelashes
  15. make paint dots
  16. decorating sugar cookies
  17. unclog the salt shaker/parmesian shaker holes
  18. picture hanger
  19. wire tightener
  20. clean tiny holes anywhere
  21. stiffen wicks (oil candles)
  22. clean pencil sharpeners
  23. reset electronic devices
  24. badge holder (clip to collar or button)
  25. hold tea bags in pitcher when making iced tea
  26. candy thermometer holder
  27. roach (hand-rolled) holder
  28. roach (six-legged) stabber
  29. bend into heart shape and give to your Valentine
  30. chad puncher for Florida presidential ballots
  31. use as a launching pad for match rockets
  32. mix up the food scum in the sink drain so water can empty out
  33. bend it into a "jumping paper clip", a fun toy for young'ns
  34. apply touch-up paint to a car
  35. sabotage your friend's drink in a Styrofoam cup (remember: hot drinks have more impact than do cold)
  36. put tissue on end, use to clean cassette tape heads
  37. temporarily fix a bra strap
  38. miniature clothes hanger for a doll's house
  39. blackpowder musket nipple cleaner
  40. etching tool
  41. blowgun dart
  42. chainmail for suit of armor
  43. lightning rod for elves
  44. lock picking tool
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This page was designed and partially written by Walter P. Snyder as part of the Xrysostom suite of web pages. If you have comments or suggestions, send them to xrysostom@xrysostom.com. This page was originally written in November of 2000. Page © 2000-2005 by Walter P. Snyder.