How-To: A Working Paper Wrench

How-To: A Working Paper Wrench


At Maker Faire Bay Area this year, Jay from MakerBlock found himself needing to tighten some wingnuts, but he didn’t have a wrench. Rather than asking around (I’m sure he could have found one with all the makers on site), he hacked together a solution on his own. It’s super simple: just one piece of paper. Roll it up into a tight tube and fold it in half. To use the paper wrench, place the paper tube around the wingnut, squeeze, and turn. Jay says:

I used this same exact paper wrench with a small 3mm hex wrench to tighten bolts on my project box.  Just as with the wingnut, the paper wrench let me get a better grip on the hex wrench and tighten the bolts without hurting my fingers.

7 thoughts on “How-To: A Working Paper Wrench

  1. Simon says:

    Ha! Quietly brilliant – love it!

  2. makerblock says:

    Hi Laura!

    Thanks for the shout-out! Actually, earlier in the day I *had* borrowed a drill from one Maker and a drill bit from a different one entirely. I, in turn, gave out extra zip ties. It just so happened that making and using a paper wrench took almost no time at all… :)

    In case any one is interested, I’ve made all the materials from my Maker Faire display board and booklet available as a PDF download at my site. If anyone wants to get started building their own drawing robot, please stop by


    Jay / MakerBlock

  3. Uri says:

    Simple and easy to make — will it work? — I’ll have to remember to try it next time I’ve got a stuck butterfly nut.

    The problem with simple solutions that other people come up with is to remember them when you need them. Anyone has a solution for that?

    1. Seth Meyers says:

      Unfold the wrench and reveal your checklist of clever ideas?

  4. jd90 says:

    I can understand if there is a debilitating disease involved, but a wingnut was designed to be tightened using only fingers.

    1. makerblock says:

      Well, I needed the wingnuts to be tighter than finger-tight. Unless the nuts are very tight, the two pieces of plywood from my mounting board won’t mesh cleanly.

  5. thebeard says:

    The whole point of using a wing nut is that it can be tightened by hand.

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