SHTF essentials: 62 Survival uses of paper clips
By Zoey Sky // Feb 07, 2022

Preppers know that everyday objects have many survival uses, like paper clips. They may seem small and insignificant but if you know how to use them, a paper clip can help you survive when SHTF.


And even if things are peaceful, there are many ways to use paper clips around the house. (h/t to

Here are some suggestions on how to use paper clips in your kitchen, in the bathroom and even in your home garden.

Using paper clips in the kitchen

Check out these suggestions on how to use paper clips around the kitchen (Related: Thinking outside the box: Common items with unusual survival uses.)

  1. As a chip clip
  2. Bread tie
  3. Strawberry huller
  4. Meat skewer
  5. Removing cherry pits
  6. Cake decorating
  7. Cleaning clogged holes in a salt shaker
  8. Cleaning dirty spray nozzles
  9. Wine glass marker
  10. Securing a teabag in your teacup
  11. Opening foil-sealed products
  12. Clipping the end of a roll of plastic wrap
  13. Clipping the end of a roll of wrapping paper
  14. Opening plastic packaging
  15. Unclogging nozzles
  16. Removing baked food stuck to glassware
  17. Carving fine details in pumpkins
  18. Testing a cake for doneness
  19. Emergency corkscrew
  20. Makeshift twist tie for bread bags or garbage bags

Using paper clips in the bathroom or for personal care

When using paper clips on yourself, make sure you only use clean paper clips and dispose of them when you're done.

  1. Cleaning cuticles
  2. Cleaning under nails
  3. Cleaning toenails
  4. Makeshift toothpick
  5. Extending jewelry clasps
  6. Fixing a broken bra strap
  7. Cleaning hair out of a brush
  8. Untangling hair
  9. Scratching an itch in a cast
  10. Massaging between fingers (use the round part)
  11. Splint for broken toe or finger
  12. Clipping a diaper (if you don't have safety pins)
  13. Removing cactus spines from the skin
  14. Emergency tweezers

Using paper clips in your home garden

Here are several ways to use paper clips in your garden.

  1. Marking a post
  2. Planting hangers
  3. Plant tags to identify plants
  4. For tying up leggy plants

Other uses of paper clips

When SHTF, here are some other uses of paper clips:

  1. Picking a lock
  2. Money clip
  3. Clip cords together
  4. Keyring
  5. Cleaning dirt from cracks
  6. Detangle knots
  7. Removing excess grout on tile
  8. Clean computer keyboard
  9. Popping air bubbles in wallpaper
  10. Let air out of a valve
  11. Repair glasses
  12. Make a sun dial
  13. Magnet tester
  14. Complete an electrical circuit
  15. Remove hair from drain
  16. Unclogging a filter
  17. Pipe cleaner
  18. For removing debris from burning candle
  19. For cleaning window tracts
  20. To hold cords in place
  21. To drip oil into a sewing machine
  22. Clean around stove buttons or knobs

How to make a paper clip compass

If you're lost in the woods, use a paper clip to build a makeshift compass.

You will need:

  • Paper clips
  • A knife
  • A leaf
  • Water
  • Cup or bowl


  1. Take a paper clip and use the pliers on your multitool to cut the longest straight section. Quickly run a knife blade down that section of the paper clip. Make sure you go the same direction each time for at least 50 to 100 times. This will magnify the paper clip's "north" end.
  2. Fill a small, non-magnetic cup with some water. Place a leaf with the paper clip segment on it into the middle of the water. Wait for a couple of seconds until the paper clip points north.

How to make fishing hooks out of paper clips

When SHTF, you can turn also paper clips into DIY fishing hooks. Note that as a makeshift hook, paper clips will only catch small fish due to how easily they bend.

You will need:

  • Paper clips
  • String or fishing line
  • Multitool


  1. To make a hook, straighten a paper clip and leave one "J" bend in place.
  2. Make a small loop on the other end for the string. Reinforce the string loop by wrapping the remainder of the paper clip around the hook twice. Trim what's left over with a multitool.

Paper clips are shiny and you can use extra paper clips as fishing lures.

Stock up on paper clips before SHTF so you have access to a versatile item with many survival uses.

Sources include:

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