How can I reuse or recycle old blunt and bent pins?

pinsWe’ve had an email from Julie:

What can I do with old sewing pins? After years of faithful service, they’re all really blunt or really bent or both (since one leads to the other). I know they’re tiny but what can I do with them?

Most pins I’ve come across are made from steel so could probably be recycled with your normal metal recycling. It’s such a tiny amount of metal though, it hardly seems worth the bother but it’s still better than them sitting in a landfill dump somewhere.

As for reuses, blunt dressmakers pins with plastic heads could be chopped down (with wirecutters) and used instead of push pins on a notice board. I also imagine they could be used in costume jewellery making – any specific ideas?

Any other uses?

(Photo by drniels)

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12 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old blunt and bent pins?”

  1. Amberjet says:

    You can trim the pins short and then bend the ends into a loop like on an eye pin. Attach several of these to a short length (about 1 inch or less) of chain using jump rings and the end of the chain to an earring hook. Do this twice and you have a cute pair of colorful earrings! :D

  2. It is a different kind of metal and can snap when you turn the top over so from normal pins for using in jewellery so be careful and consider wearing eye protection. Better to be safe than sorry. Once they are bent over, no problem, the dressmaking pins do the same job as conventional wire pins.

  3. Karmae says:

    if they are just blunt, sharpen them by using a good pincushion that is filled with emery powder.

  4. Clare says:

    This isn’t recycling — but I think the Japanese hari-kuyo festival is a lovely idea. Needles which have broken during the year are saved up and on the day, stuck into pieces of bean curd to thank them for all their hard work.

    You can read about it, and see pictures here:

  5. Alice says:

    You can sharpen blunt pins and needles very easily with a knife-sharpening stone.

  6. Rupert Savage says:

    Please, please, please, do let me know if you have any coloured pins that are lying around. I am preparing a peice of installation art and desperately need as many as possible.

    If anyone knows where else to look, ANY advice would be greatly appreciated…prices are extortionate for coloured pins.

    Of course if you help, your name will apear on the program as a sponsor!


    Rupert Savage

    • Julie says:


      Do you mean the tops of the pins are colored? I have quite a few that I do not use anymore because they are too small- I use a larger one now. If you are still interested, I could send them to you. Let me know:

  7. acev says:

    Push them through a square piece of styrofoam board, and use it to prop your dyed Easter eggs on to dry. Keeps them from getting impressions on them.

  8. Tuned in says:

    Cut out the metal part, use little spheres to decorate objects by gluing with hot glue.

  9. Vermiculite says:

    Cut bent metal part shorter, and sharpen the edge. This way it becomes push pin for a message board.You can also add decorations to it, for example glue under the head a bead flower or a button. Such push pins will look super cute.

  10. Tostito says:

    If you have only plain sewing pins, just glue to them beads and, voila, you’ve got fancy pins!

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