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With a plastic or aluminum head and a sharp metal point, pushpins are essential to any studio, classroom, or office. The humble pushpin, precursor of the thumbtack, was invented and patented in 1900 by Edwin Moore of Newark, New Jersey. Moore’s original pins were made of glass and steel, and he referred to his creation as a “pin with a handle.” After making and selling his invention for several years, Moore founded the Moore Push-Pin company in 1904. Today’s pushpins are useful for affixing studies, bits of inspiration, or memos to a corkboard or wall. But they can be great assistants for specialized projects, too. You can use them to stretch canvases, elevate canvases for drip paintings, or use them as mini grips to hold while tilting a wet canvas. They’re helpful for stained glass projects as well, holding pieces in position prior to soldering. Or use them to secure paper stencils over clay for neat transfers. The perfect pushpins await you in our list of favorites below.
Advantus GEM Aluminum Push Pins
You know those cheap, everyday pushpins with plastic heads that can snap off at the slightest provocation? Well, these cast pushpins with aluminum head and steel shank are a much tougher alternative. Sure, they look a bit dull with their silver-colored aluminum heads, but they have sharp ends and can take a beating. Literally—you can take a hammer to these pins to drive them into harder surfaces without bending the shafts or cracking the heads off. Since they’re solid metal, you can also use them for projects that require heating. Finally, we like that they are sold with shanks in three lengths: 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, and 5/8 inch, which is longer than most pins on the market. The heads are both longer and narrower than than those of standard push pins: 3/16 inches in diameter and almost 3/4 inches long, as opposed to 1/2 inch for regular pins.
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ArtMinds Clear Pushpins
If you’re looking for a simple, well-made, utilitarian pushpin, these plastic-headed ones are a great option. Since they are clear, they’re ideal if you need something unobtrusive. Each pack comes with 100 pins that are sharp for easy insertion and smooth for easy removal. The plastic heads are durable to avoid splitting, and the iron shafts are firmly embedded in the plastic to prevent breakage. They leave holes so small you will barely notice them.
ANOTHER GOOD CHOICE
U Brands Wood Push Pins
These pins are pretty unique. They have natural and dark wood finishes, and each is slightly textured. This rustic appearance can add subtle character to projects and is especially attractive against other wooden surfaces. Each pin is smooth and lightweight but strong enough to withstand the pressure of a robust thumb. The sharp steel points are firmly attached at a perfectly straight angle for precise and neat pinning.
Purchase: U Brands Wood Push Pins, $8.16 on Walmart
Mr. Pen Push Pins
This budget-friendly bulk set delivers 640 pins in four bright, translucent colors, including yellow and purple. With sharp steel tips and sturdy plastic heads, they do everything you’d want a pushpin to do. They are lighter and less durable than more expensive pins, but unless you’re working on a heavy-duty project, we wouldn’t consider these flaws deal breakers. And with so many pins—at less than a penny each—you also won’t feel as if you have to hoard every one.
Purchase: Mr. Pen Push Pins, $5.99 on Amazon
TOP OF THE LINE
Stainless Steel Push Pins
These pins are a sturdier version of our top pick, making them a good choice if you need the strongest pins available. Like the Advantus pins, their heads are made of aluminum, and their shafts are made of stainless steel, They feature 1/2-inch shafts to provide a stronger hold than most pins, without being too long for thinner cork boards. But note that they are pricey, with 100 pins costing roughly $20.