It turns out that there are plenty of other ways to hold pieces of paper together with little bits of bent wire, besides the classic “Gem” shape. All that you have to do to make your own paper clips is cut pieces of wire and bend them into a variety of shapes illustrated on a paper clip template. And if you need a little convincing that unique paper clip designs can have a significant impact in the world, then just take a look at this excerpt from the Wikipedia page of Norwegian inventor Johan Vaaler, whose paper clip design was eclipsed by the more efficient “Gem” design:
Vaaler’s alleged invention of the paper clip became known in Norway after World War II and found its way into some encyclopedias. Events of that war contributed greatly to the mythical status of the paper clip as a national symbol. During the resistance to the German occupation during World War II, after pins or badges bearing national symbols or the initials of exiled King Haakon VII were banned, Norwegians began to wear paper clips in their lapels as a symbol of resistance to the occupiers and local Nazi authorities. The clips were meant to denote solidarity and unity (“we are bound together”). Their symbolism was even more obvious because paper clips are called “binders” in Norwegian. Their presumed Norwegian origin was not generally known at that time, but when that widely believed story was added to the war-time experience of many patriots, it strengthened their status as national symbols.
So, I guess this tutorial could double as a way of making lapel pins as well!