Bobby pins are cheap and easy to acquire in large amounts. I bought a big tub of bobby pins years ago for under $US3 ($4), and it is still full to this day. But why do I need so many? What can I do with all of these things? A lot, it turns out.
Bobby pins great for keeping intricate hairstyles in place or securing the decorative flower or two, but that requires only one or two pins, but over the years, we’ve found that bobby pins can also be very useful to keep around for various quick fixes. From keeping your place in a book to screwing the cover back on your light switch, bobby pins are for more than just hair. Here are 12 odd ways bobby pins can be used around the house.
Hold nails in place
Hammering in nails comes with a 50/50 risk you’ll smash your thumb. To save your fingers, place the nail in a bobby pin to secure it so you can lightly hammer it into place without risking your digits.
Keep your hat on
Ceremonial hats like graduation caps don’t sit right on every head. If you want to stay in the celebratory spirit and make sure your hairstyle remains intact, work a bobby pin through your hair and attach it to the cap. Your hair will stay in place, and the hat won’t budge.
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Pit olives and cherries
Pitting cherries and olives is made easy when you have the right tools (and doing so is much more pleasant than just eating around it). Bobby pins can effortlessly poke through a cherry or olive, pushing the pit right out the other side. Voila! You can now enjoy your snack, minus the choking hazard.
Amuse a cat
While I’m sure you dote on your cat, buying them only the finest toys and catnip, sometimes they just want to play with your braided rug or a milk bottle ring. A bobby pin makes for an inexpensive toy. Stretch one out into a V-shape and slide it over to your cat so they can paw it around to their heart’s content. (I don’t recommend this for cats that are prone to eating household objects; your play session could soon turn into an emergency trip to the vet.)
Replace a zipper tab
A broken zipper pull tab is one of the most obnoxious things that can happen to a pair of jeans, especially if you are out and about at the time. Thankfully, you can grab a pack of bobby pins at any drug store and solve your problem in a flash. Hang a bobby pin through the loop of the zipper slider, and you’ll regain full zipper mobility until you can get home and change your pants.
Remove a zip tie
If you are ever in a MacGyver situation and need to remove a zip tie, just make sure you have a bobby pin handy. We’ve explained this process before, and it’s a great tip for removing zip ties without breaking them. Unbend the bobby pin, then slowly bend the tip back and forth until it breaks. Take the broken end and insert it into the slider on the zip tie until you hear a click, which will release the zip tie’s grip. You can then undo the loop.
Secure the loose end of a belt
It sucks when you put on a belt and the flap at the end is just a hair shy of threading through the last loop in your pants. Instead of tucking it under (which always fails), use a bobby pin to clip the flap to the pants’ waist like a paper clip. It’s a useful and discrete way to secure a belt to your pants.
Mark your place
Holding your place with a bookmark works alright — until it falls out, and you have no idea what page you were on. Before you panic and throw the book into the sea, take a deep breath and remember to next time place a bobby pin in-between the pages instead. You’ll keep your spot for sure — that bobby pin isn’t going anywhere.
Mark the end of a roll of tape
Trying to find the start of a roll of tape is a tedious task. Picking at the edge and only peeling loose one small piece of tape at a time can be frustrating. Next time you finish using the tape, place a bobby pin under the cut edge. You’ll always know where the tape starts, and can use the bobby pin for leverage to pull it away from the roll.
Declog your drains
The drains to your sink and tub are relatively small openings, and getting down inside to unclog them means buying all sorts of snakes, chains, and various things. A bobby pin won’t solve a major clog, but you can use them like tweezers to grab the stubborn tufts of hair that the snakes and chains miss.
The round end of the bobby pin is small enough to stand in for a flathead screwdriver. The rounded edge fits into the nail groove. The bobby pin doesn’t give you the same leverage as a screwdriver, but it works great to remove battery plates on small electronics or unscrew the small screws on a light switch covers.
Open plastic seals
Before the seal around the top of a new bottle or jar is perforated, it’s almost impossible to open them. You can try using a fingernail (hoping not to break them) or grab a knife (which you’ll probably them have to wash, if you don’t accidentally cut yourself). Or, poke the plastic with the open end of a bobby pin. It’s a safer solution than stabbing it with a knife.