Named for the rigid bite of their namesake canine, bulldog clips are a versatile tool for any organized soul. Typically made of metal, these spring-operated clamps can be used to temporarily bind documents together, but they also have many art-specific purposes: Use them to clip watercolor paper to a board, display photographs, or hold down pages when sketching en plein air. Not all bulldog clips are built equally, and we’ve found the most reliable ones for various needs.
1. X-Acto Bulldog Clips
It’s tough to find a clip that outperforms the ones made by X-Acto. Made of nickel-coated steel, these clampers are the ideal studio accessory. They have strong springs yet release with ease; they grip well but don’t pinch. You can use them to hold treated papers, from photo paper to pastel paper, and rest assured that they won’t harm your art.
2. Coideal Bulldog Clips
If aesthetics are an important factor, we like these elegant clips from Coideal. Unlike X-Acto’s product, these are free of branding; you can buy them in a simple matte black or white. The clamping area is more narrow than that of our top pick, so it has less gripping power, but this is still a finely engineered clip that will serve you well.
3. Juvale Stainless Steel Bulldog Clips
If you need a lot of clips—or tend to frequently misplace them—we recommend this set, which offers 150 bulldog clips at an affordable price point. Made of stainless steel and measuring just under an inch wide, these are small but secure clamps. They aren’t the most long-lasting option on our list, but you won’t have to feel overly precious about reaching for one or giving away a handful.
4. Tim Holtz Idea-ology Hinge Clips
Tim Holtz’s clips are by no means heavy duty, but they are great little supplies for small jobs. Each clip measures just .875 by .875 inches and has a satin nickel finish that gives them a slightly rustic look. They are ideal for hanging up individual photographs or using as pushpin alternatives. Avoid overloading them, however, as the clamps might leave dents in your possessions.
5. Sunny W Metal Bulldog Clips
Most bulldog clips have a pleasant, industrial look, but these have real flair. They are available in 11 colors, from rose gold to vibrant orange, as well as a rainbow set. Use individual ones to brighten up your workspace or buy an assortment to color code your documents. While aesthetically delightful, we wouldn’t recommend these for heavy-duty use, as the construction feels slightly flimsy.