Remember that sorry little paperclip Help character that Microsoft embellished on some of its old Office software? Poor thing. We don’t miss him a bit. But he did have a purpose! And one of the sorriest things is when something that used to be useful no longer has a purpose. That's how landfills came to be.
So the good news is that this Instructable isn’t about that Clip. It’s about real clippies you can harvest from orphaned clothes hangers. And it's so easy, yet surprisingly overlooked as a good way to recycle the usefulness of an otherwise doomed piece of textile-ian paraphernalia.
Quick, the Final Exam is in five minutes and you haven't studied a bit. Here's the wham, bam, cram version: 1) cut the clips off a hanger, and 2) use 'em.
Want the finer, humoresque details? Read on my ‘able friend.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Obviously you’re going to need one or more clip type clothes hangers that are no longer needed as, um, clothes hangers.
As for tools, any good thin hand saw should work well. Hack saw or coping saw, both good. Chain saw, that’s a definite no – put it back. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Sharp plier-style cutters (like diagonals, or "dikes") can work too, but sometimes they can crack the plastic in unwanted places. So as in this case you see, I sometimes simply assess saws as the super slicer.
Step 2: Examine the Hanger’s Clips
There are thousands of different styles of clip type clothes hangers out there in the wild. Big, small, flat spring, coil spring, with teeth and without, and an endless variety of clip-body forms that make up the hinges, spring holders and gripper surfaces.
We’ll be separating the clips from the hanger body, but regardless of the seemingly infinite field of clip hanger paraphernalia there are two basic principles to adhere to in the transformation process and the amazing world of clothes hanger repurposing.
- Never cut the clip hinge, and
- Never cut the clip hinge.
So grab your clothes hanger and explain to it that you’re going to make it more diversfully useful than it’s ever been and what you’re about to do to it will just sting a little but that will quickly pass and it’ll all be much better in the end.
Now look carefully at the clip examine the layout of the hinge. Remember, with so many styles out there, you want to make sure that when you start the incision, you won’t be cutting into any of the clip’s vital organs (of which they have only one, the hinge).
Step 3: Make the Cut
Using your favorite cutting tool, carefully cut along the imaginary dotted line spares the hinge while separating it from the hanger. Take your time, but don’t dawdle – no reason to cause the hanger more pain than is necessary. The hanger plastic is relatively soft and I found that I can amputate a clip in about 6 seconds. Basically before the hanger has any idea what’s happening.
Step 4: Smooth the Edges
If you’ve made the cut right there should be little if any blood (at least not from the clip). The hanger will feel a little lighter, and the clip, now called a clippie, will have a new sense of freedom it’s never had before. But we’re not done just yet. Clippie will have a few rough edges, and while not needing sutures, he will need a little soothing around the edges. I used a rotary tool with a wire brush tip. But you can use sandpaper or any such abrasive to remove any lingering particles or rough edges.
Step 5: Maybe Done, Maybe Not
I’d like to start this paragraph with “Finally”, but alas, maybe not. If you acquired the hangers as surplus from a department store as I did, it may dawn on you that these clippies have been handled by hundreds of people, many with questionable hygienic habits, and you may feel more comfortable if these clippies were cleaned before applying then them to seal up any food containers or whatever. I simply tossed my new clippies in the dishwasher. Just make sure they are nowhere near the heating element if you r dishwasher has one exposed.
Alternatively you can just toss them in a bucket with water and a cap full of bleach or other disinfectant cleaner. Agitate them for a few minutes then rinse them off well (bleach can be corrosive), or use any other sanitizing product you prefer. On the other hand, if these clippies came from your own stock of hangers and you’re OK with their state of cleanliness, then you’re DONE!
Step 6: Now You've Got 'em, What to Do With 'em
Funny you should ask what to do with these clippies. No, I mean really funny. You see, there are dozens and dozens of projects right here in Instructables that use clippies. Just run a search on "binder clips" and you'll have your hands full for the next week. Now, to be fair, many of these projects are making use of the wire finger squeeze (that's a highly technical term) part of the binder clip to pass things through, or hang things from. In our case, if you want to use your new hanger liberated clippie in a similar way, consider drilling a hole in the finger squeeze part.
Step 7: But Wait, There’s More
If you act right now, you get not only two clippies from each hanger, but you get a new chord hanger absolutely FREE! That’s right two clippies AND a Chord Hanger for the price of the clippies alone won’t last long, so call now – operators are standing by.
Now it’s done. Enjoy! ;-)