HOWTO make a magnetic detachable stapler for center-stapled booklets and the like

On Instructables, DIYHacksAndHowTos has a great method for separating a cheap stapler and sticking magnets on both halves, enabling you to center-staple booklets and the like. Every year or two, I do something zine-like that requires this sort of thing, and I always end up wasting money on a long-reach stapler that's always lost by the time the next project rolls around. (Don't get me wrong, long-reach staplers are awesome, but if you only need to do booklets once every year or two, they're a lot of investment). This is what I'll do next time (and as a bonus, it'll be great for kid craft projects where we want to use a staple in th center of a large sheet of paper).

One limitation of a typical office stapler is that it only lets you staple about 3 1/2" into the paper. This isn't enough for a lot of projects. If you want to put together your own comic book or a large banner, you are usually stuck stapling your project onto a piece of cardboard or carpet and then bending the legs of the staple by hand. They do sell extra long staplers or staplers with swivel heads but they still have their limitations.

A better option would be to make a stapler with a detachable base. The base would be positioned under the paper and aligned to the top half of the stapler with magnets. This would allow you to staple any area of a project regardless of location. So in this project, I am going to show you how to convert a standard stapler into a two part magnetic stapler.

How to Make a Two-Part Magnetic Stapler by DIYHacksAndHowTos (via Lifehacker)


  1. Huh. I’d think the better option would be to either pay the printer or copy shop to staple it or to spring for a decent binding machine which even has the bonus of producing something that actually looks okay.

    1. Easier said than done when the first hundred zines all had a mistake and you have to redo them all…

  2. I have a long arm stapler that cost me 20euros. It has a guide on it so I can set it up to accurately staple the same distance into the paper each time. It’s going to be harder to get accurate results with this stapler.

  3. Cory… i gotta call BS on losing multiple long-reach staplers. I’ve one and am often reminded of it simply because of its footprint. That said, I agree that this is a pretty s’well option for those who rarely need one.

  4. It is a cool and elegant hack, but I wonder how well the alignment works? The stapler hast to be precisely aligned with the anvil below to staple properly. The distance from the magnets to the anvil seems like it would make precision a bit of a challenge. A less seamless (that is, a hack that is more of a visible change from a regular stapler and less able to convert back to normal use) but more precise hack would be to use the magnets on the anvil to magnetically fix them to magnets on the working end of the stapler.

    However you align the magnets, using this device will be slow since you have to pull the stapler appart from the base each time you need to reposition for a staple. Good for one offs and very short runs but for a quantity of zines? It would drive me crazy.

    I’ve almost never used my long arm stapler. It’s more like the albatross of office supplies. It is too useless to my everyday life for me to loose. It just sits there, taking up space, mocking me.

  5. Never mind a long reach stapler.  Too inaccurate.  Saddle staplers are where it’s at.

    Yes, I own one.

  6. I have a stapler I bought in a stationery store in GuangZhou, China about 13 years ago.  It does centre staples without being taken apart.  I’ve always wondered why you can’t get them in the West.

  7. Office staplers of yore used to have a snap-hinge that allowed you to swing the base back out of the way in order to do exactly this sort of saddle-stitching. I wasn’t aware that they no longer had this feature.

  8. Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler… they’ve moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn’t bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler…

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