Introduction: Emergency Paper Clip Smartphone Stand

Picture of Emergency Paper Clip Smartphone Stand

So you're trying to catch up on Black Mirror on Netflix but you don't want to hold your phone in front of your face for the next few hours. No matter how hard you try you can't get the thing to stay upright on the table. It just keeps sliding out and falling flat. Maddening, right? Well friend, if you have two paper clips, yes just two paper clips, I can help.

I know this little trick is not a mind blower. However this is my very first Instructable so I wanted to start with a project with not many steps, actions that are easy to explain and clearly photograph and something that is practical and helpful. Right, so let's do this.

Note: No, that isn't a phone in the pictures. It's a power bank. But I needed my phone to take the pictures. Life hack!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

First, a detailed list of the materials required:
- 1 Paper Clip
- Another Paper Clip

You can use any two paper clips but they really should be the same size or you will run into problems. Also the larger, the better. The color doesn't matter. I chose red and blue to make the photos and instructions clearer. Once we get folding you'll see why.

Next, an even more detailed list of the required tools:
- Hands

On a serious note, Needle Nose Pliers might prove helpful for this however they certainly aren't required which is good because if you need a smartphone stand in a pinch, there's a good chance you aren't going to have pliers on you. Moving on.

Step 2: Unfolding the Left Side

Picture of Unfolding the Left Side

Begin with the first paper clip, ensuring that the end of the large bend is facing to the left (Yes, it does matter.) Unfold the smaller, middle bend toward you 90 degrees. Next, fold the end of the small bend up and toward you. Try and have it pivot from the center of the curve.

Note: Paper clips aren't made from the finest quality metal around which is good for us because it's going to make it easier to make the bends we need. However, it also means if we bend back and forth too much we might break something off. Try and make each fold right the first time to mitigate this.

Step 3: Bending the Retention Arm

Picture of Bending the Retention Arm

I would have been happy to leave the ends sticking up in front as it indeed works just fine that way. However I found that it interfered with using the touch screen when attempting to navigate the play controls and time bar on videos. Not fun. This step gets them out of the way while still leaving something to keep the phone from sliding forward.

This part can be a little tricky so take your time. Bend the front end to the left about a 1/4 inch up from the previous bend. Doesn't have to be perfect. After that we need a 45 degree bend downward at about the split of what we have left. I find the least frustrating way to accomplish this is by bending it over the thumb nail.

Note: I have short and strong thumbnails so please don't do this if your nails bend or break easily or if you have crazy, long nails like the secretary in the original Total Recall.

You should end up with something that looks somewhat like the last picture above. If you did, great job! You can set this aside for now.

Step 4: Unfolding the Right Side

Picture of Unfolding the Right Side

Big surprise. Next we need to do the same thing to this paper clip except mirrored. Don't worry though, I'll explain.

First, begin with the end of the larger bend facing right this time. Once you bend the middle, smaller bend out and up as pictured, bend the end to the right. Then perform the same thumbnail bend as before.

Now you should have two mirrored but similarly fashioned paper clips. Great job!

Step 5: Putting It All Together

Picture of Putting It All Together

Next, place the large bend of the right clip through the large bend of the left clip as pictured. Be sure to go under the inner post and over the end post. When you have it right you should be able to see a heart shape.

Note: Throughout the next few folds it is important to try and maintain this heart shape so that the stand holds together and doesn't collapse when you place your $800 iPhone on it. (Or my $10 power bank.)

While holding the two clips in this position, carefully bend the end post of the right clip forward and across the front of the heart. Don't rush it because it's hard to straighten it out and try again. You should have some hanging over. Next turn it over and bend the excess over the back. This helps hold the stand together but also keeps the ends from scratching up that fancy phone of yours.

Next, while still holding that heart together, turn it back over and do the same to the left side. Forward and across, then back and across.

Once that is done you can place it on a table and press down with your thumb to finish bending the ends flat across the back if you'd like.

Looking good!

Step 6: Making Adjustments and Finishing Up

Picture of Making Adjustments and Finishing Up

Now before we dive nose-first into season 7 of the Walking Dead, we should make sure the whole thing sits relatively flat on the table. If it teeters a bit, make small adjustments to the arms until it's stable.

The great thing about this rig is that you can widen it if you need to or bring it closer in. Play with that and find what works. One drawback however is that it only works in the sideways position. Please don't try and stand your phone upright on this or you may end up messaging me with a cracked screen or something.

Hope this is useful for you and enjoy! Please feel free to tell me what you think of my first Instructable and what I could do to improve. Thanks guys!

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Bio: Yes, I am a biological entity that derives enjoyment from making useful things.
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