Introduction: Binder Clip Ball

About: Some of the best building materials are cardboard, duct tape, pvc pipe and imagination.

This Instructable will show you how to turn 60 binder clips into a ball. With 5 dollars 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 this binder clip ball.

Step 1: The Goods

This 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 combined together.

So to start, divide your 60 clips into 12 groups of 5 clips. Next, take all your arms off 4 of the clips and 1 arm off 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 pentagon 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 pentagon. 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 the pentagon shape, 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 pentagon. Weave another arm through the first and connect to the second pentagon. 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 pentagons 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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