In Praise of the Binder Clip

I like stores that sell tools and materials: art supply stores and fabric stores and hardware stores and stationary stores. One of the often overlooked treasures in the last-mentioned is the humble binder clip.

They used to only come in silver or black, but are now available in rainbow colours and a wide range of sizes. Originally designed for use in both temporary and permanent bindings for books, they may have uses you haven’t considered. Pages falling down on your wall calendar because the hole at the top has ripped? Keep them in place with a binder clip. Appointment to remember but not enough room for the address in the square for the day? Attach the appointment card to the calendar with a binder clip.

You can also hang a home-made mini-calendar using a binder clip.

Your food came in a non-resealable bag? Re-close with a binder clip.

Your partially used tube of toothpaste/hand cream/paint keeps unrolling? Binder clip it.

Does your aluminum window drop suddenly if there is a wind gust, putting the aging window pane at risk? Keep it in place with a binder clip.

You need a temporary mount for an artwork? Make one from binder clips. Remove the handles from the front and string a hanging cord in a loop through the handles on the back. You can make this a permanent mount by adding a sheet of thin plexiglass to the front. Use binder clips of an appropriate size. The mini ones will hold a backing board/paper artwork/mat board/plexiglass combination.

Of course, you can also use them for binding books. If you want the pages to open flat, you can use binder clips on a stub binding.

I have also used them in an artist’s book/portable protest placard. (You can make your own from instructions here.)

There are probably more ways to use binder clips. If you think of any, please add them in the comments.

In other book arts news:

Having worked as a proof reader/copy editor, I am aware of the difficulties many writers have with the semi-colon. Nowadays most people simply avoid using them altogether. Amy Freeborn has collected some thoughts on the semi-colon in her most recent post. If you are interested, you can read more here.


East German artists who were suppressed by the government in the 1980s found alternative creative outlets: zines and artists’ books. You can read more about samizdat in the Getty’s recent post Art Always Finds a Way.


I am fascinated by alphabets and pictographs and syllabaries and abjads and hand signs, so I was delighted to discover Indian Sign Talk (1893) on The Public Domain Review. (I recommend reading the linked story Wolf and White Man.)


A different kind of sign language is introduced in this piece posted by Letterform Archive.


Some of you will have seen this post from The Jealous Curator but I couldn’t resist adding it here. From the publisher’s description:

About The Book

A wildly original, whimsical, humorous exploration of the human condition told through a worm’s eye view; a masterful pairing of the author’s artwork and ironic text in more than 250 illustrated pages.

This innovative, ironic, and metaphoric exploration of the life of worms is a stunning showcase of Noemi Vola’s impressive and versatile talents as both an illustrator and a writer. Her funny, clever illustrations are paired with pithy, ironic text that conveys all you ever needed (and perhaps never needed) to know about worms.

You can find the book’s listing page on the Simon and Schuster website.

About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than thirty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004. I also create prints and drawings that are frequently text-inspired or text-based.
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2 Responses to In Praise of the Binder Clip

  1. Gaby says:

    As aa appreciative user of binder clips myself, I throughly enjoyed your ode to them.


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