How to bind papers without staples or clips [1]

[Chapter: DIY + tutorials ]

I learnt this trick from a Taiwanese program on smart tips and shortcuts for daily living. I think that was in 2005. It was such a fantastic tv show! Afterwhich I’ve spotted the same instructions posted at Instructables and Truveo. Well, for my personal use, I take 3 extra steps to complete the procedure which I’ll explain why further down.


1. Align the papers. Here I’m using 5 sheets of letter-size.

2. Fold a triangle on the left-hand corner and crease. The fold (the longest part) is about 5.2cm long, however measuring is not necessary.

3. Make a 1cm-long slit, about 2cm from the edge, then cut another about 1cm away from the first one.

4. Fold and crease the flap as shown.

You could stop at Step 4, which is officially the end. The next 3 steps seek to hold the flap down.

5. Lift up the flap from Step 4 and create that little hollow space.

6. At the top of the flap, press it down to flatten.

7. Fold down the 2 halves.


This is how it looks after you’ve completed all the steps, except for the triangle (Step 2), which has been folded over to the back of the stack instead of forward.

The heavier the paper, the bigger the triangle fold and the deeper the slits.

The maximum I’ve gone is 15 sheets.

[UPDATE :: There's an even easier binding method revealed in part 4!]

109 thoughts on “How to bind papers without staples or clips [1]

  1. It looks quite nice, but I have my doubts if this is what you want. When you connect a few documents with a staple and put several of these documents on top of eachother they will maken the corner where the staple is mounted grow faster then the other corners. If you use this method it wil grow even faster which will make te stack fall even faster. But I have to say that when you ae using it for 1 document and you live in a third-world country it is a great solution.

  2. Nice method and really cool too!

    Too bad that you still need a pair of scissors. The greatest thing would be binding papers with your bare hands.

    Greetings from across the ocean, The Netherlands.


  3. wow, i haven’t seen that since i was a kid. My English teacher would do that, since she was allergic to metal in the paper clips.

  4. I learned this years ago too, and have resorted to it in a pinch, hand torn (as carefully as possible, of course) and it managed to do what it was required to do…which was hold the few pages together long enough to get it to where it needed to go, where I then asked for a stapler, unfolded the “tab” made by the tears and stapled across these to keep it all together and looking almost okay. Frankly, it earned (or is that earnt? lol jk) me a nod for resourcefulness. Thanks for the refresher course and what its supposed to look like, when you’re not in a heated rush in your car cursing at youself for not bringing a stapler with you. :)

  5. Marcel, if you stack the papers clipped with this method toggling upside-down at each document, no corners will grow faster than the others.
    Why is this a great solution for third-world countries? I live in a third-world country and we have plenny of staples and clips as cheap as you have near your home (which might be in a first-world country, I guess) .

  6. This is real good. I kinda evolved this method from different tests I used to write and then end up without staplers. However, the staying down part is new. Cool

  7. I found it works great when you fold the rectangle backward, and further fold that into an inward triangle to lock it. THanksfor the stapleless tip, it’d work for my own purposes etc. I agree with the prof up there though, my teachers have gotten mad with my stapleless ventures to be greener. ;)I think this is useful though!

  8. Hey, this shames stapleless staplers !! Do they work well? I’v eonly used one once and I don’t remember it being phenomenally good

  9. Very cool. Thanks for the guide. A few people in the comments asked about staple less staplers, and I happen to know where you can get them. has them, just do a search for stapler, and its the second result. I’ll be using this trick to close paper bags for making home made microwave popcorn!

  10. I have a Crayola stapler that does something like this. It makes a slot and punches out a strip and somehow inserts that strip into the slot in the same motion as an ordinary stapler. I couldn’t find it and needed to make one fast – thanks for this!

    Professor Nate: depends on where you lose your stapler. Not everybody is made from the same stamp.

  11. Ignore Kin – you were correct in putting “learnt”, and not “learned”. In it’s past-tense, the Americans tend to use “learned” instead of “learnt”, “sleeped” instead of “slept”, etc, but what do they know about the Queen’s “English” anyway?

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