Screw Posts

Screw posts, also frequently called Chicago screws, are a simple, fast, and no-machine way to bind documents from a few pages to five or more inches thick. Screw post binding is popular for several reasons: it is inexpensive, easy, durable, can handle thick capacities, can be edited as needed, and only needs a simple hole-puncher to work. There are several different styles, including plastic, aluminum, and steel, as well as many colors, such as clear, black, silver, white, gold, brass, and more.

Get a quick overview of the various styles of binding posts that we offer so you can easily select the best option for your individual needs. The options we review include:

1. Aluminum
2. Steel
3. Plastic Snap-Lock 
4. Plastic Snap-Lock with Loops
5. Plastic Push-Lock


Shop Screw Posts By-Style

Ready to buy screw posts online? Click on the style you want below to see the selection.

Easy-to-edit, strong metal posts

Silver, black, gold, & antique brass colors are available. Sizes range from 1/8" up to 5" and extensions for longer lengths are also available.

Snap-closed, secure binding

Plastic snap-lock posts come in black, white, and clear colors, as well as sizes from 3/16" to 1". Once bound, they are tight and difficult to edit.

Ultra-durable editable posts

Steel posts are silver in color (pure steel) and are extra-durable for specialty applications. They are often used by engineers & others.


How to Bind with a Screw Post

There is no easier way to bind than with loose screw posts. These convenient little tools can bind thin or thick stacks, without needing anything other than your standard hole puncher. There is no machine required, and no hassle.

Instructions:

  1. Punch holes in your paper with a hole puncher. You can use a single hole puncher if you want just 1 post in the corner, or a 3-hole puncher if you want 3 posts along the spine, or any other combination you want. For higher capacities and stack punching, you can even use a paper drill.
  2. Place the female end (called the post) through the hole from the bottom of the stack.
  3. Place the male end (called the screw) into the female end. If using metal, screw them together. If using plastic, snap them closed.

Everything You Need to Know about Aluminum Screw Posts

Aluminum binding posts are, by far, the most popular option. They are what most people imagine when they hear the word "binding post". In fact, they can be found across a huge variety of industries; you can even find them inside photo books at craft shops.

Part of the reason why they are the preferred option is that they are easy to screw together and apart, which makes them easily editable whenever needed.  They glide smoothly into each other for quick and easy binding without hassle and misalignments.

They are also very strong! You might hear the word aluminum and picture an aluminum can; but these thick metal book posts are incredibly strong and will not bend, even under heavy pressure. As the capacity gets longer, so does the length of the screw on the male end, which makes for the strongest bind possible.

Of course, you also already know that these metal posts also come in various colors. Traditional silver/plain aluminum is the most common, but we also offer a clean and deep black that looks very elegant, a bright gold/brass that is vibrant and saturated, and an antiqued brass for a more rustic, old-fashioned appeal.

Aluminum posts also come in the largest selection of sizes; from as small as 1/8" up to as large as 5". This huge variety means you can really choose the best size for your document without having to compromise.

Another major benefit that aluminum Chicago screws have over other varieties is that they have optional extension pieces that can expand the capacity further. So whether you need to go larger than the five-inch maximum size, or you need to adjust your posts to handle an edit to the document that makes it thicker, you can keep on making them longer and longer until you reach your desired length. Keep in mind, of course, that as you add more extensions, you are adding more breaks in the solid bar, which can make them unstable and less-strong, so try not to go overboard.

Aluminum Screw Post Colors:

Specifications:

SizeColorsPost HeadScrew HeadHead DiameterPost Diameter
1/8"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassHoleFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
3/16"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassHoleFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
1/4"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassHoleFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
3/8"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassHoleFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
1/2"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
5/8"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
3/4"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
7/8"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
1"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
1-1/2"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
2"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
2-1/2"Silver, Black, Gold, Antique BrassSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
3"Silver, Black, GoldSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
3-1/2"Silver, BlackSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
4"Silver, BlackSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
4-1/2"Silver, BlackSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"
5"Silver, BlackSmoothFlathead Slot7/16"3/16"

Everything You Need to Know about Steel Screw Posts

Steel binding posts are the most durable option on the market. They are made of zinc-coated solid steel that is stronger than anything else, offering the most sturdy and stable bind. This makes them especially suited for those who work in the field and need something that can withstand being tossed around, transported, and handed from person to person often. This makes them the premier Chicago screw for engineers and construction companies.

Steel screw posts are, of course, popular among specialty industries because of their extreme strength. It really sets them apart from other selections out there, as they will not bend, even under pretty extreme pressure. But there are some other benefits of this style of post.

For one, the metal is smooth and incredibly easy to screw together and screw apart. This makes them editable as often as you may need, without having to fuss with misaligned or rough edges. They smoothly glide together for quick and easy binding.

While they only come in a standard steel/silver color, they do come in a nice selection of sizes from 1/4" to 2" capacities. Another major benefit is that they have optional extension pieces that can expand the capacity further. The extensions are 1/2" long.

Specifications:

SizePost HeadScrew HeadHead DiameterPost Diameter
1/4"HoleFlathead/Phillips Slotted7/16"1/4"
3/8"HoleFlathead/Phillips Slotted7/16"1/4"
1/2"Flathead/Phillips SlottedFlathead/Phillips Slotted7/16"1/4"
5/8"Flathead/Phillips SlottedFlathead/Phillips Slotted7/16"1/4"
3/4"Flathead/Phillips SlottedFlathead/Phillips Slotted7/16"1/4"
7/8"Flathead/Phillips SlottedFlathead/Phillips Slotted7/16"1/4"
1"Flathead/Phillips SlottedFlathead/Phillips Slotted7/16"1/4"
1-1/2"Flathead/Phillips SlottedFlathead/Phillips Slotted7/16"1/4"
2"Flathead/Phillips SlottedFlathead/Phillips Slotted7/16"1/4"

Everything You Need to Know about Plastic Screw Posts

Plastic binding posts are made from a thick resin that is strong while remaining very lightweight and economical. Plastic posts do not screw together as easily, even though they are threaded, and are most often simply pressed and snapped together. This creates a more permanent bind that, depending on the size, often require pliers to de-bind. They are not as editable as the metal options, and are available in capacities up to 2 inches, depending on the color. One special type of plastic binding post features a loop on one end that you can stick a string or neck chain through to allow for hanging.

Here are 5 tips to make working with plastic snap-lock screw posts easier:

Tip #1 - If using larger sizes, consider screwing them together instead of snapping. If you are having trouble aligning the threads, try just screwing it in a little crooked, and then straightening it out, then finish screwing in.

Tip #2 - When working with the larger sizes, the screw itself is longer, which can make it more difficult to snap together, as there is more resistance. You can use something soft, like a towel, to remove the strain and cushion your fingers as you press them together. Or you can use a tool, such as a set of pliers, to squeeze them shut instead. If you do choose to snap them closed, know that they may not come un-bound, or may require a lot of effort in order to do so.

Tip #3 - To unbind a snapped post, use a pair of pliers to grip and pull. Using a second set of pliers or a towel on the other end can be a huge help with grip, and make it easier to pull apart. Make sure to have a nice bubble of space around you, because the last thing you want is for your arms to fly open and hit a co-worker. Or to unscrew, use one or two flathead screwdrivers to start and loosen the grip, then finish spinning with your hands.

Tip #4 - If you’re trying to screw together a smaller plastic binding post, and are having issues aligning the threads, you may want to snap them together instead. Because the screw for smaller posts is shorter, the bind is not as tight and can be popped off with a pair of pliers fairly easily.

Tip #5 - If the smallest 1/8” size is too loose, consider our push-lock screw posts, designed to bind thin stacks with only a few sheets of paper.

With these tips, you can eliminate the stress and frustration of common problems people experience when binding with plastic snap-lock screw posts.

Standard Plastic Snap-Lock Post Colors:

Snap-Lock Specifications:

SizePost HeadScrew HeadHead DiameterPost Diameter
1/8"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
3/16"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
1/4"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
3/8"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
1/2"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
3/4"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
1"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
1-1/4"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
1-3/8"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
1-1/2"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
1-3/4"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"
2"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted3/8"1/4"

Looped Plastic Snap-Lock Post Colors & Specifications:

SizePost HeadScrew HeadHead DiameterPost Diameter
3/16"Flathead SlottedLooped17/32"1/4"
1/4"Flathead SlottedLooped17/32"1/4"
17/32"Flathead SlottedFlathead Slotted17/32"1/4"
1/2"Flathead SlottedLooped17/32"1/4"
3/4"Flathead SlottedLooped17/32"1/4"
1"Flathead SlottedLooped17/32"1/4"

Thin Push-Lock Post Colors & Specifications:

SizeHead TypePost HeadScrew HeadHead DiameterPost Diameter
3/16"Small HeadHoleSmooth (No Slot)3/8"7/16"
3/16"Large HeadHoleSmooth (No Slot)17/32"7/16"

Screw Post FAQs

  1. What are some other names for screw posts?  Chicago screws, book posts, binding posts, book screws, binder posts, Chicago binders, post binders, loose leaf screws, male/female screws, and more. 
  2. What sizes do screw posts come in? The range of sizes available will vary depending on the material of the post. Aluminum posts carry the widest range, from 1/8" to 5" for some colors, and 1/8" to 3" for other colors. Steel posts bind 1/4" up to 2", and plastic posts handle anything from a couple of pages to 1".
  3. What colors do screw posts come in? Aluminum posts come in silver, black, gold (brass), or antique brass. Steel posts come in silver. Plastic posts come in white, black, or clear.
  4. What are screw posts used for? The great thing about them is that they can be used for anything! The most common applications include presentations, blueprints, journals, scrapbooks, binders, and everything in-between.

Tips, Tricks, & Screw Post Hacks

Because screw posts are loose, and not connected, your bound book will be more flexible than traditional bound books. For that reason, one trick to get it to be more sturdy is to use a thicker binding cover. Something like a vinyl coverchipboard sheetpoly matte frost, or even punchable hardcovers are a great choice.

Need the ability to expand your document later? Make sure to get aluminum screw posts for the optional add-on extensions. You can screw them in-between the screw and post to extend the mechanism, without having to buy a whole pack of a different size. Plus, they are compatible with all sizes of aluminum posts, so they are universal in that way.

You can use any standard hole punch with your screw posts. They should make about a 1/4" diameter hole size, which is perfect for all styles of binding posts, no matter the material or length. Many users will choose a 3-hole punch and add 3 bindings but many choose to do a 2-hole or even a single hole in the corner instead. But since they are a loose binding, you can use as many or as few as you want. If you're making a small swatch you may just use 1, but if you're making a presentation you might want to use 3 or even 4-5 for extra stability.


A Few Final Words

Machineless binding is an excellent option for producing photo albums, sample books, blueprints, menus, swatch books, and so much more. With the right supplies on hand, you can create professional-looking covers and reap the benefits of affordability. Whether you need a sturdy mechanism to attach scripts or a gadget to secure a large stack of swatches for a design project, Binding101 has all your needs covered in our collection. We offer an assortment of binding screw posts to suit any application, including competitively priced metal and plastic options. Explore our selection today to find what you need!


From our Blog: Binding University

Browse our industry-savvy blog for educational articles, FAQs, special insights, & more! These top screw post blogs can help educate you on all of the ins and outs.