How much can a thumbtack hold?

Thumbtacks are one of the most common household items. They are used for a wide range of purposes, from hanging pictures and posters to organizing paperwork and securing decorations. However, many people are often skeptical about the amount of weight thumbtacks can hold.

In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about thumbtacks and their weight-bearing capacity.

What are Thumbtacks and How Do They Work?

Thumbtacks are small, thin, and pointed metal pins with a flat, round head on one end. They are designed to penetrate a surface, such as paper, foam board, or corkboard, by being pushed through it with the help of pressure and force applied by the thumb or a hammer. The tip of the pin that goes through the surface is sharp, while the opposite end is rounded, so as to keep the pin from slipping back through the surface. So, how does it work? The pointy end of the tack penetrates the material, and the flat head makes contact with the surface. The friction between the flat head and the surface creates a force that keeps the tack in place.

How Much Weight Can a Thumbtack Hold?

The weight a thumbtack can hold varies and depends on several factors, such as the size of the thumbtack, the material the thumbtack is being stuck into, and the direction of the weight applied. The weight-bearing capacity of thumbtacks ranges from a few grams to a couple of ounces.

Factors that Affect the Weight-bearing Capacity of Thumbtacks

Here are some of the primary factors that affect the weight-bearing capacity of thumbtacks:

  • The size of the thumbtack: The size of the thumbtack is a critical determinant of its weight-bearing capacity. Generally, larger thumbtacks can hold more weight than smaller ones due to their increased surface area that creates more friction and holds the tack in place.
  • The material being stuck into: The surface the thumbtack is being stuck into also affects its weight-bearing capacity. For example, paper and foam boards are not as sturdy as wood or cork, which affects the amount of weight a thumbtack can hold.
  • The direction of the weight applied: The direction of the weight applied to the thumbtack also affects its ability to hold weight. If the weight is hanging directly down from the thumbtack, it will hold less weight than if the weight is resting on the surface the thumbtack is sticking into.

So, to answer the question of how much weight can a thumbtack hold, we can say that a small thumbtack typically can hold up to 0.5 ounces, while larger thumbtacks can hold up to 2 ounces of weight. However, it is best to keep in mind that thumbtacks should not be relied on to hold heavy or valuable items, as they have a low weight-bearing capacity and can easily slip from the surface in which they were stuck.

How to Use Thumbtacks Safely?

While thumbtacks are handy tools for a wide range of purposes, they must be used safely to avoid accidents and injuries. Here are some tips for using thumbtacks safely:

  • Choose the right size: Choose a thumbtack that is the right size for the task at hand. Avoid using small thumbtacks to hold heavy or valuable items.
  • Protect your fingers: When pushing the thumbtack in, protect your fingers by holding the flat end of the thumbtack with a pair of pliers.
  • Use a hammer: If your thumbtack is not going in easily, use a hammer and a block of wood to push it in.
  • Do not use thumbtacks on delicate surfaces: Do not use thumbtacks on delicate surfaces, as they can damage or leave permanent holes on the surface.
  • Keep thumbtacks out of reach of children: Finally, keep thumbtacks out of reach of children and pets, as they can be a choking hazard if accidentally swallowed.


In conclusion, thumbtacks are essential tools for various purposes, but they have a low weight-bearing capacity. Typically, they can hold up to 0.5-2 ounces of weight. It is essential to use thumbtacks safely and carefully to avoid accidents and injuries.

Most Common Questions and Their Answers:

  • Q: Can thumbtacks hold curtains?

    A: It is best not to use thumbtacks to hold curtains. They have a low weight-bearing capacity and are likely to slip from the surface, causing the curtains to fall. Instead, use curtain rods or brackets that are designed to hold curtains safely.
  • Q: Can thumbtacks hold picture frames?

    A: Yes, thumbtacks can hold picture frames, but it is best to use them for small and lightweight picture frames. For larger frames, it is best to use nails or screws that offer better weight-bearing capacity.
  • Q: Can thumbtacks hold posters?

    A: Yes, thumbtacks can hold posters. However, it would be best if you used them with a poster tack or double-sided tape to ensure that the poster stays in place. It is also best to use multiple thumbtacks around the edges of the poster to distribute the weight evenly.


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