Binder Clip Ball





Introduction: Binder Clip Ball

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This Instructable will show you how to turn 60 binder clips into a ball. With 5 dollar worth of borrowed storeroom clips you can be the envy of your cube farm. While searching Instructables at work one day, I came upon the binder clip sphere, I started playing with the clips by taking them apart and putting them back together in different ways. Through trial and error, I managed to create a binder clip ball.

Step 1: 18 the Goods

The binder clip ball is made with the 2 arm metal paper binder clips. Any size clips will work as long as they are all the same. I would recommend a medium clip as they are the easiest to work with and are usually the most plentiful. Make your way to your office supply room, closet or secretaries desk to obtain your clips. If you don't want to "borrow" the clips from work, you can find them at any office supply store for a couple of bucks.


60 - metal two arm binder clips,
Your fingers

Step 2: The Prep

The binder clip ball is based on a slightly shifted Rhombicosidodecahedron or Expanded dodecahedron, (big math words). It is simply 12 pentagons (stars) combined together.

So to start, divide your 60 clips into 12 groups of 5 clips. Next take all your arms of 4 of the clips and 1 arm of the last clip. Repeat this for the all the other groups of five until you have a big pile of silver arms.

Step 3: The Pentagon

To build your star of 5 binder clips, take the one clip with the arm still attached and slide a clip through the arm until the grove of the clip fits in the "C" of the arm. Attach an arm to the second clip by placing the tips into the rounded holders. Place one of the arms above the “C” and the other below it. Then slide another clip through the new arm. Connect, repeat.

Depending on what brand of binder clips you have, you might not be able to slide the clip into the C grove. In that case, place an arm into the grove first, and then attach it to the second clip.

Once the 5 clips have been attached, they will want to take the form of a square.  Weave the last arm through the first and slide it on to the grove of the first clip. Pry the five clips apart until you can connect the arm to the last clip. Da-ta, there is your first star. Notice how the arms follow a clock-wise pattern? 11 more to go.

Step 4: The Triangle

Now that you have all your clips combined into 5-pointed stars it’s time to join them together. The binder clip ball is based on a mathematical sphere where each of the five points of the pentagon touches two other pentagons. So you need to connect each point of your star to two others.

Back to your remaining pile of arms. Take three arms and weave them as shown. The C should wrap around one arm of the triangle. The middle of the arms should be raised or float above the surface. If the legs are raised, the triangle is upside down. Each of the arms now connects to a different pentagon. Be careful which way you connect your triangle. When the "C" goes over the arm it should be close to the center of the triangle.

Step 5: The Build

Connect one arm to one point of the star. Weave another arm through the first and connect to the second star. Weave the last arm through the first two and connect to the last pentagon. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

The more stars you connect, the more the ball will start to take shape. Continue the same pattern until you have one pentagon left. When 11 of the stars are connected there should be a hole left in the middle and 10 arms waiting to be joined.

If not, look over your ball. It is very easy to spin one of the arms in the triangle or have one of the pentagons flowing counter-clockwise. Just remember that the pattern is the same for all the pieces. 

Connect you last star to the 10 arms and your binder clip ball will be complete.

Step 6: The Pay Off

You’ve done it! Now you have your very own binder clip ball. Use it for a paper weight, a pencil holder, office art or desktop distraction.

I would recommend the medium size ball. The mini clips are tricky to work with and the large binders are hard to hide when your boss walks around the corner. 



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    Hello 69valentine!

    I was wondering if this is possible in the shape of a football. My 3-D trig skills are more than just dusty, but I love puzzles & I've been put to the challenge of designing the office fantasy football trophy. So, I started by ordering gold binder clips to make it look fancy. I'm only allowed to use lab & office supply though. Can you help?


    I was trying to make a smaller version of this with 12mm clips and for the life of me I couldn't get the rings of five to stay in shape.  In the end I decided it was not going to happen so made a different version with rings of three clips joined together in groups of five (i.e. it is the "dual" version).  I thought I would post a couple of photos just in case anyone was interested.

    Dodechahedron Clips 1.JPGDodechahedron Clips 2.JPG

    Wow! That is awesome. Good work. I created my first binder ball the same way. I couldn't get the pieces together, so I just played around until they just "clicked"

    I made this a few days ago, and my fingers have now just recovered to the point where I can post a comment. :-)

    I actually found it easier to take all the arms off the clips rather than leaving one on. To get the rings of five into the correct shape I found that a pair of small pliers and a good hard surface to push down on were essential (I used our glass-topped dining table). The good news is that once the rings are shaped correctly they are very stable.

    The ball looks fantastic when it is finished. My kids think I am a genius. ;-)

    Awesome! Good thinking with the pliers.
    I must have calluses on all my fingers from putting all 3 together.

    O.M.G.!!!!! I am SO FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is SO HARD!!!!!!!!!! I can't get the 5 clip stars to stay in place!!!!!! they keep bending and shifting!!!! Is there a method to this madness?? I am almost in tears!!!! HELP PLEASE!!!!!!!!! I bought 144 binder clips to make for friends. My fingers are hurting. (._.,)

    I am using medium size binder clips because the 3/4" ones were too small to work with.

    Hi guineapoop, I always find that when I am trying to make the 5 clips stars, the clips want to take the natural shape of a square instead of a star.

    One thing you might want to try is spreading the 5 clips apart and connecting the inside arm first, before the outside. Once you have all 5 clips attached, make sure all the C loops are in the grooves and then you can move the clips around until they stop bending and shifting.

    Another trick is to keep all the flat parts of the black clips, (bottom of the triangle) on a level surface.

    Hope this helps.

    OH!! thank you SO much 69valentine! I will try that. For the life of me, I could not get the 5 pieces to lay flat and I've tried shoving the C loops btw the grooves without success. But I will try again and again.

    Have you seen this 6 piece binder clip sculpture? It's pretty cool. Unfortunately, the guy did not post instructions. I posted photos of the one I made in case you want to try. (^_^) I hope the photos load.

    6-piece binder clip art - 8.21.2012 - 3.JPG6-piece binder clip art - 8.21.2012 - 4.JPG6-piece binder clip art - 8.21.2012 - 5.JPG6-piece binder clip art - 8.21.2012 - 6.JPG6-piece binder clip art - 8.21.2012 - 8.JPG6-piece binder clip art - 8.21.2012 - 17.jpg

    The last photo on the lower right is the completed model.