No office, classroom, or studio is complete without a tub of tacks. The humble thumbtack was invented in 1904 as a drawing aid by a German clockmaker named Johann Kirsten. Kirsten simply flattened the top of a pushpin, which had been invented four years earlier as a tool for marking maps. Today we find thumbtacks everywhere, from bulletin boards to dorm room walls, and they serve a variety of uses in DIY projects and home fixes as well. Browse our selection of the best thumbtacks below.
1. Charles Leonard Thumbtacks
How many times have you pushed a thumbtack into a corkboard and recoiled in pain, having crunched your finger against the hard metal edge of a too-small tack head? Probably too many times. But take heart: old-school office-supply brand Charles Leonard has thumbtacks that boast a 1/2-inch head as opposed to the traditional 3/8-inch head, which gives you a larger area to push against when inspiration strikes and you’ve just got to pin that piece of paper up, stat.
2. Officemate OIC Thumb Tacks
Reliable office brand Officemate has produced a line of nickel-plated steel thumbtacks that, like our first pick, boast a comfortable head, plus a slightly longer 1/2-inch shaft.
3. Mr. Pen Thumbtacks
Stock up with Mr. Pen’s 500-pack of silver-colored thumbtacks. These tacks have a 3/8-inch head and a 5/16-inch needle point. Made of steel, they are rust and corrosion resistant and can be easily secured to and removed from a multitude of materials. Sold in a pack of 500, they’re great for large and small projects alike, which is why they’re popular in classroom and group situations.
4. Clover Thumb Tacks and Remover
Those who do needlepoint use tacks to stretch their needlepoint canvas to ensure taut, even stitches. Clover makes needlepoint-specific pins that are notably sharp because they have to be pushed into the wood of stretcher bars rather than soft cork or drywall. They also keep the canvas in place without shifting, slipping or bending. It’s probably clear to see that these qualities are useful for whatever project for which you use thumbtacks. Note that this set also comes with a remover to handle tacks that are really wedged in.
5. Kokuyo Plastic Thumbtack, Transparent
Transparent tacks are useful when unobtrusiveness is key. But that doesn’t mean they can’t have a little style, too. These Japanese tacks have a subtly rounded top and notched sides that look stylish without looking gimmicky. Of course, looking nice means nothing if they don’t stay put, but luckily the size of these small thumbtacks belies their impressive strength.