19 Surprising Survival Uses For Paper Clips To Know Now

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The amount of survival uses for paperclips will surprise you, it can be used as compass, a screwdriver, a lockpick and many more things.

Something as simple as a paper clip has many survival uses.

Having the knowledge that an everyday object, like a paper clip can perform so many amazing things, is great to know.

Paper clips can be found practically everywhere and you may think that a paperclip is only good for one thing – holding paper together. But, it is very much, the opposite. The tips I will be talking about are for survival uses and everyday uses.

Without further ado, let’s cover 19 survival uses for paper clips.

1. Lockpick

As the first survival uses for paper clips tip, we have lockpicking.

For this to work, you will need two paper clips and practice.

For the first paper clip, bend it at a straight 45° and the other paper clip, completely unfolded, and at a straight 180° angle, folded in half.

Next, put 1cm(10mm) of the loop into the bottom, or the second section of the lock and bend it at a 90° angle to get your tensioning tool.

Next, slide the tension tool to the very bottom, and with the other paper clip, do a raking action by stuffing the whole thing down and pushing up continuously for about a minute. Finally, twist the tension tool, still at the very bottom, and you have just pick locked with a paper clip.  

2. Clothing Hook

A can also use a paper clip as a clothing hook. Ideally, you would want a larger paper clip.

Simply, fashion the paper clip into an S shape, and you can use it to hang shirts, pants, scarves, belts, hats, purses, and keys.

3. Unclog Bottles

Paper clips have sharp, small ends, which is great for unclogging elmo glue bottles, aerosol spray bottles, and pump spray cans. 

4. Compass

For this you will need a couple extra materials.

You will need a paper clip, a container(cup, plate, bowl) that is not steel or iron, a leaf or paper, water, a magnet, and a knife.

First, you want to unfold your paper clip into the straightest line you can. If you are using a cup or bowl and it doesn’t fit, simply cut it, it doesn’t need to be the full length. Now fill your container halfway with water.

Next, you want to get your leaf, paper, or something that floats and place it on the water.

With your magnet, rub it in the same direction 5-10 times and place it on your floating object. If you don’t have a magnet, use a knife and strike it 50-100 times in the same direction. 

Sometimes this requires a little spin, because the initial magnetic pull may not be strong enough. Finally, you have yourself a compass. 

Now, if you don’t know how to read an actual compass, here is how to read a compass properly.

5. Screwdriver

Paper clips can be used as two different types of screwdrivers, a mini screwdriver and a full-size flathead screwdriver.

A mini screwdriver, to repair small things, like glasses, can be done with a paper clip. Simply, make the end wider by hitting it will a rock or hammer. It should be bent at the end. You can use the tip as a mini screwdriver and use the unmodified portion of the paper clip as the handle.

A flathead screwdriver, the one you will use in most situations and it is easier than the miniscrew. Simply, place one end into the screw slot and twist.

6. Blow Darts

You will need 16 inches of string and paper clip(s).Paper clips can be a replacement for blow darts, if a blow dark gun is something you own. 

First straighten the paperclip completely. 

Then, find paper and cut it out into a cone shape. Roll it around the paperclip and secure the edge of the paper in with any type of glue. Remove the paper clip and place a drop of glue onto the tip of the cone.

Put the paper clip back into the cone, about one inch. After the glue dries, use a sewing thread to secure the joint between the cone and paper clip. Add a drop of glue to the thread. After the glue dries, try the darts.

7. Zipper Pull

If you broke off your zipper , you can simply slip the end of the paperclip through the zipper hole and you have yourself a zipper that is as good as new.

If you want extra security, so that the paperclip will not fall off, I recommend tying a rubber band or tape around it.


This should be a last resort, because you can easily cut yourself, but if you have to, it is sharp and long, so it will be a suitable tooth pick.

9. Fingernail Cleaner

survival uses for paperclips fingernail cleaner

Being hygenic is one of the most important things in survival. Having dirt and grime in your fingernails can lead to more serious consequences than you may think. 

Pathogens(bacteria, virus, disease) can be stuck there, and you’ll be surprised how fast pathogens can travel when eating food.

You should always wash your hands, and cleaning your fingernails is a progressive step to better hygiene.

10. Fishing Hook and Lure

survival uses for paperclips fishhook

In addition to the clothing hook, a paper clip can also serve as a fishing hook. Bend the last bit of the paper clip at a 45°, then you have yourself a decent fishing hook.

If you want a better fishing hook you will have to do a little more work; you first want to straighten it, and then, with a tiny cylinder,  then bend the end into a half circle. From there, cut the end, so that the hook is approximately 1 inch.

The hook will also pose as a lure, as it will create a shine with the refelction.

11. Cell Phone or Tablet Stand

Ideally, you would want a larger paper clip. Bend the middle of the paper clip up to a 90°. After that, bend one of the sides end slightly up. Finally, make both sides bigger.

12. Keyboard Cleaner

Dust and crumbs easily get caught between hard to reach areas. So, you can simply use the end of a paper clip to lift dust and crumbs.

13. Keyring

First, straighten the paper clip. Then wrap it around a cylinder you want your keyring size to be. This should be temporary, and I recommend you get a professional keyring, to ensure your keys won’t fall.

14. Finger Splint Structure

survival uses for paperclips finger splint

If you sprain or break your finger, you should of course seek immediate medical attention. If break your finger and you cannot receive medical attention, or cannot receive it fast, this is for you. This is also great if you sprain your finger.

You first want to get tape, a wrap, or a bandage, then, with 1 or 2 paper clips, and wrap it around. This should prevent your finger from moving.

15. Box & Letter Opener

This is pretty straightforward, simply bend one end of the paper clip to be straight, and you will be opening letters fast in no time.

16. Bag Clip

If you have a bag of tools or even a chip bag, a paper clip can prevent most of the air from seeping in.

17. Safety Pin

A paper clip can be fashioned into a safety pin. You will need pliers and a paper clip.

First make an umbrella handle shape with your paper clip. Next, Lay the paper clip flat and use the pliers to make a 45° upward bend in the end of the curled side, 1/8 inch from the tip.

After that, grip the clip with the pliers just below the grasp bend and make a 90° upward angle. After that, bend to the long part of the clip.

Then, squeeze the bend downward in order to meet with the long part. 

Then,  clutch the long, straight part of the paper clip in the center with the pliers, and then wrap the wire twice around the tip of the pliers to make a circular shape. 

Finally, Tuck the long, straight end of the paper clip(needle) under the clasp. You now have yourself a safety pin.

18. Bookmark

A bookmark is a useful thing, and it you want a bookmark that won’t easily fall out or move too much, then this is a great pick. You can tape colors for multiple bookmarks, to mark important area in a book.

19. Sewing/ Stitching Needle

survival uses for paper clips sewing needle

The final survival use for paperclips is sewing and stitching. You never know when you may need to stitch someone, and if you are in a school or work environment with a paper clip(and initial disinfectant), or perhaps you want to repair clothing, it is your time to shine.

Flatten one end with a heavy object and sharpen the other with a sharp object. Then, drill a hole into the flattened end, and you have yourself a sewing needle.


If you don’t yet have paper clips, you can get 1,000 for $3 on this affiliate link.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have learned something here, and perhaps you will use one of these tips soon. If you like this article, you will probably also like 11 Common Wild Plants That are Healthy. You may also want to learn more about paper clips themselves here.

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2 thoughts on “19 Surprising Survival Uses For Paper Clips To Know Now”

  1. 20: Cleaning out your bowl or pipe
    21: Assisting with your Microsoft Office tasks
    Some addons, and amazing article man!


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