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Map pins, as their name indicates, are commonly used to mark locations on map. Unlike tacks, they feature spherical heads—once made of glass, now of plastic—and are designed to remain in place but leave barely noticeable holes if removed. The engineer Willard C. Brinton, writing in his 1919 tome Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts, dedicates an entire chapter to the map pin, keenly noting its advantages: “The spherical head in contact with the map gives a very neat appearance, yet the spherical shape permits the fingers to remove the pin by straight pulling without any difficulty whatever.” For these reasons, map pins can be of great use to artists who want to marry utility with aesthetics. Use them to pin artworks on a wall, mark your projects, or as components in myriad crafts. Below, find the best multipurpose map pins for your needs.
Darice Map Pins
Sturdy, sharp, and costing about five cents a pin, Darice’s pack is the best basic option. You get 100 pins in six colors including black and white, so you can color-coordinate if you like. The plastic ball heads are consistent in size, and they’re small enough to not be distracting. Measuring 3/4 inch long, the burr-free shafts don’t easily loosen from walls, corkboards, or other surfaces, and they come to a precise point for efficient pinning.
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Jam Round Head Push Pins
These steel-tipped pins are a great choice if you’re in the market for fun, eye-catching colors. Each single-color box comes with 100 pins and is available in 15 hues including lime green, purple, and teal. These pins are slightly shorter than Darice’s pins, measuring just over 1/2 inch, and they also have a larger head that measures 3/8 inch across. Durable and consistent in quality, they are ideal for projects in which appearance matters.
ANOTHER GOOD CHOICE
Charles Leonard Map Tacks
These pins are about the same size as Jam Paper’s pins, but they differ in their color assortment and amount. This bulk option includes 12 individual packs of 20, each one providing a mix of five basic colors (yellow, white, blue, green, and red). These highly noticeable pins feature a rust-resistant steel shaft and a plastic head that is firmly anchored—you won’t have to worry about any of them falling off. We also like this option because it keeps small amounts of pins separate; you can open packs as projects arise, or perhaps give some to your studio mates.
Mr. Pen Map Pins
If you need lots of pins at once—and we mean a lot—look no farther than this pack, great for sharing in group activities. It includes 600 pins, each one costing not even a penny. You get 10 colors including pink, purple, and seafoam, and they come conveniently presorted. Each pin features a small (1/8-inch-diameter) head and a 1/2-inch shaft. We find that they are not as sturdy as more expensive pins, with a greater tendency to bend, but they will serve you well if you are working with softer materials like corkboard.
Juvale Metallic Round Head Map Tacks
These pins are another good option if appearances matter. You get a whopping 1,000 pins in four metallic colors: gold, silver, black, and rose. They have a pleasing shimmery effect and look more modern—and more expensive—than your average primary-color map pins. The pins are divided by color into sturdy plastic cases so you don’t have to find new homes for your pins. Each is sharp, solidly constructed, and easy to insert and remove.