Pushpins, which also go by the name thumbtack, are tiny pins used to hang sheets of paper on bulletin boards. You can instantly tell them apart from other types of pins by their unique design, which consists of a plastic piece with a short, narrow pin stuck in the center of the flat head.
The pin on a pushpin typically measures ¼ of an inch long. The flat head that holds the pin is about 3/8 of an inch in diameter, and the entire length from the bottom of the handle to the tip of the pin is about ½ an inch.
While these things might seem insignificant, you’ll find them in almost every art studio, classroom, and business office. In this brief guide, I’ll cover everything you should know about pushpins, such as why size matters and what they’re made of.
What Is a Pushpin?
You’ve probably seen pushpins a million times, even if you don’t know its name. A pushpin is a tiny pin that you use to fasten sheets of paper onto bulletin boards or other flat surfaces. It consists of two main parts—a plastic handle with a flat bottom that you push with your thumb, and the tiny pin that sticks into your sheets of paper and the board behind them.
In addition to anchoring sheets of paper to flat surfaces, you can use pushpins to keep pieces of string taut to measure distances on a map, and they even come in handy for stretching out sheets of canvas. Basically, they’re highly versatile pieces of stationery that every student, teacher, artist, engineer, architect, and construction worker will need at one point.
How Big Is a Pushpin?
Pushpins come in a variety of sizes. The most popular pushpin size will measure about half an inch from the tip of the pin to the bottom of the handle. The pin itself will protrude from the handle by about a quarter of an inch. The diameter of the handle at its widest point will measure roughly 3/8 of an inch.
However, if you do a bit of shopping, you might come across gigantic pushpins made by OfficeMate. These pushpins come in a dozen per tub, they measure 1.5 inches long, and they have 7/16-inch-long pins sticking out of the handle.
Why Does Pushpin Size Matter?
The size of the pushpin, especially the pin section, affects how much weight it can support. The standard half-inch-long pushpin is rated to bear around two pounds of weight at max, which is more than 100 sheets of paper. However, due to the stubbiness of the pin, you can only fasten around a dozen sheets of paper per push pin, and even that is pushing its limit.
Now, if you get a giant pushpin, such as that made by OfficeMate, then you can hold entire rolls of tape using a single pin. This has to do with the fact that the longer pin sticks deeper inside corkboards and bulletin boards, which keeps the plastic handle from dropping onto the floor when bearing heavier objects.
What Are Pushpins Made of?
The handle section of a pushpin can be made of virtually any type of material you can think of. The most common of which is plastic, which is durable, weather-resistant, and affordable.
However, there are specialty pushpins that come with aluminum, stainless steel, and even wooden handles. They typically cost a bit more than their plastic counterpart, but if you want to give your pushpins a unique look, or if you’re tired of the assorted colors that are suitable only for elementary schools, then you should consider specialty pushpins.
Creative Uses of Pushpins
Although pushpins are mainly used for hanging sheets of paper, you can use them for virtually anything at home or at the office. Below, I’ll describe a few creative ways you can use up any spare pushpins you have on hand.
Do you have more necklaces or rings than you have container space? If so, you should consider sticking a few pushpins into the drywall of your bedroom.
Since each pushpin can bear around two pounds of weight, they shouldn’t have any trouble keeping your necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, anklets, and any other accessories you have in place. The best thing is that you don’t have to stick the pin into wall studs to keep the pins from moving around!
The hold on the end of your broom’s handle might be too large for a pushpin to manage, but not the hole on your dustpan! Simply tap a pushpin into part of your kitchen wall, then use it to mount your dustpan so it’s always within reach.
If you’re like me, you’re sick and tired of trying to hold your smartphone upright in front of your face before bed. Sure, you can spend your hard-earned cash on a specialized smartphone holder, or you can make one yourself using standard pushpins.
Just push two pins into your bedroom’s wall, spacing them roughly an inch apart from the edge of your smartphone. You should angle the pushpins down slightly so that the groove in the handles will grab onto the side of your phone, propping the screen up at a slight angle.
If you’re afraid of your bedroom door slamming into the drywall and punching a hole in it, you can construct a door stopper using nothing but two pushpins and a pencil’s eraser.
Take the thumbtacks and glue their bottoms together. Now, remove the eraser on a pencil and stick one of the pushpins’ points into it. Stick the exposed pin into the wall behind your bedroom door, where the doorknob would usually slam into the wall.
While letting a preschooler play with pushpins might not seem like a good idea, it can be safe as long as a parent is around. Using colorful pushpins, your child might enjoy making traced art by sticking the pins along the edges of different shapes. Here’s a video by The Purple Alphabet that shows you how your preschooler can have fun with pushpins.