When you cut away the label or top portion of any produce that comes in a net bag you end up with a nice little bowl ideal for camping or a picnic.
Chances are you’ll eventually run out of things to store in your egg cartons so here are some ideas for using egg cartons that don’t involve storing items in them but should still work to make some aspect of your life a little easier..
Poke a few holes in the bottom of an egg carton for drainage. Fill each section 3/4 full with potting soil and vermiculite. Plant seeds according to package directions and set in a sunny window.
Remove the lid from the egg carton and save it for another use, such as a drawer organizer.
Pour birdseed over the bottom portion of the carton so that each section is filled with birdseed.
Poke holes in the four corners of the carton and attach a bright string or ribbon to each corner. Don’t use fish line as the birds may not see it and get entangled it in. Gather the strings together at the center, knot, and hang your bird feeder from a branch.
Pour melted wax over the bottom section of a paper carton so that each section is approximately 1/3 filled with wax. For obvious reasons – which I didn’t figure out until I used a plastic egg carton – don’t use a plastic egg carton. Place one charcoal briquette in each section with the wax. Close the carton and store until your next barbecue. To use, tear off and set aside the top of the carton for another use such as a resting place for your barbecue tongs and barbecue sauce brush. Place the bottom half of the carton in the bottom of the grill. Light the carton. Wait a few minutes and then add more charcoal.
You won’t need lighter fluid with this fire starter. Fill each section of a paper egg carton with dryer lint. Pour melted wax (from candle stubs) over the lint. When wax is hardened tear apart the sections and use for fire starters.
Fill the lid of a plastic egg carton with chips, cracker and/or veggies. Serve dip in the half with the egg indentations. This works best when using Styrofoam cartons. The cardboard ones will soak up any liquid in the dip.
Many of the ideas in this section call for saving the top half of the carton for another use. I pack a few egg carton tops with my camping gear and in my picnic basket to use as cutting boards. When the meal is done just toss them in the trash.
I stack egg carton tops in my cupboard next to my plates and when I want a disposable plate there they are. These are great for when the dishwasher is full of clean dishes and I don’t feel like washing dishes by hand, for a day at the beach and for picnics.
Use Styrofoam egg cartons to make extra ice for parties or picnics. Wash them well before filling with ice. Keep the lids attached so you can stack them in the freezer. Getting the ice out pretty much trashes the egg carton but at least you got one more use out of it.
Egg cartons are great garage sale “cash registers” because you can divide your change into separate compartments. Staple an envelope or two pieces of elastic to the inside top of the carton for the bills.
Use the carton whole, break it up or pack small items inside the carton.
Now I bet you’ll think twice before throwing away an egg carton.
Is there anything better than a nice warm fire on a chilly day? I used to leave my fireplace cold for two reasons – 1) it cost money to buy logs and 2) I didn’t always have the time to sit and enjoy the fire. I’ve now solved both of these issues and am looking forward to many cold days warmed by the free logs I’ve amassed. AND I didn’t have to tromp through the woods with an axe and a sled to collect my firewood.
How do you get free logs you may ask? Well we all have newspapers and junk mail that (hopefully) we’ve already been tossing into the recycle bin. Now you can turn all those papers into free fireplace logs!
Start by laying out your paper with the larger pieces on the bottom and piling more sheets on top. You can put really small pieces of paper into the very top layer. You can add as many layers as you want. It’s good to make logs of varying thicknesses so you have a variety to use. Start rolling at one corner and roll across the stack to the opposite corner rolling as tight as you can. When you’ve rolled to the opposite corner use cotton string or twine to tie around the log once at both ends and in the middle also if it’s a larger log. It’s best not to use plastic ties and other synthetic items because as you burn your log you’ll be releasing those toxins into your home – not good.
Once you have all your logs rolled, take them outside and soak them with a hose or use your bathtub to soak your logs until they are wet all the way through to the inside. Let them dry in the sun – which could take as long as three to four months which is actually a shorter length of time than if it were curing a green wood log. If you want your logs to look more like logs and less like rolled up paper you can add coffee grounds or tea leaves to the soaking water. Neat trick!
If you get in the habit of rolling all your papers once a week or so then you’ll always have some logs drying and some ready to use.
These newspaper logs are just as nice as wood logs as far as producing heat, flame and a cozy atmosphere. A three-inch log will burn for about an hour.
If you want to have some fun with your logs you can add one pound of borax, table salt, or Epsom salts to each gallon of soaking water. Borax will give you green flames, table salt makes yellow flames and Epsom salts produce a white flame.
Oh – I almost forgot – reason number 2. Now that my fireplace logs are free I enjoy the luxury of burning them when I’m working in the kitchen where I can see the fire in the family room or while I’m working out in the family room instead of only enjoying a fire when I can sit right in front of it and get the full benefits. It feels so luxurious to have a fire going while busying myself around the house. Just make sure to not leave a fire alone for more than a couple of minutes.
I can’t stand wire hangers, nevertheless they still end up accumulating in my closet. The dry cleaners, garage sales and thrift store buys all tend to come with wire hangers. Die-hard recycler that I am I can’t seem to throw them away so I started looking for ways that I could use them to either make my life a little easier (as in the Bottle Dryer tip below) or craft them into something beautiful. Some of these ideas came straight from the old noggin, and some came from surfing the Internet.
To keep water spots from forming on the inside of items with a narrow neck, tape a rag to a straightened out wire hanger and use it to dry the inside of your container.
Mix one part dishwashing liquid to two parts water in a large container. Untwist the hanger and stretch it out straight leaving one end bent. Bend the bent section back on itself to make a handle. Bend the long straight section around to make a large hoop. Dip your new bubble-maker into soap solution and wave it gently to create giant bubbles.
Straighten out one or more hangers. Leave one end curved and doubled back on itself so you have something to hold onto. Use to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire.
Using wire cutters cut the long piece of wire away from the curved pieces. Use pliers to shape the wire into stars, hearts, diamonds, circles … whatever shapes you want for your Christmas decorations. Decorate the wire shapes by:
Tie ribbons to the top of your new decorations to hang them on your tree, in a window, on a mantle …
Bend a hanger into a circle. Wrap it with ribbon or raffia. Construct a web by wrapping ribbon, yarn and/or string across the open section of the hoop. String beads and feathers onto fishing line or heavy duty thread and tie onto your new dream catcher.
Cut, bend, twist and shape hangers into all kinds of accessories for Halloween costumes. Swords, wings, halos and horns are a just a sample of what you can shape and cover with fabric, foil or paper.
You’ll need two wire hangers for this one and if you want to get really creative you can add more layers and use up more hangers.
With a pair of wire cutters cut the long straight portion of each hanger at the point just above where it curves up so that you have two straight rods with a slight curve up at each end. With a pair of pliers make a loop in the center of one of the rods. Thread the other rod through the loop and bend the loop downwards and twist so that it locks the two rods together. Now use the pliers bend the end of each rod so that it curves back onto the rod creating a closed loop and making sure that there are no sharp edges exposed.
Decide what you want to hang on your mobile. You can print something onto card stock and cut it out, use small toys, whatever suits you or in the case of a true DIY’er, whatever is laying around the house. Poke a hole in whatever you’re using, thread string, ribbon or fishing line through the hole and tie to the loop at the end of each wire. Tie string, ribbon or fishing line to the center loop to use for hanging your mobile.
Cut away curved pieces from 4 hangers. Twist a small loop at the end of each wire. Thread 3 sections onto the 4th section. Wrap the straight piece that all the others pieces are strung onto around a 6″ to 8″ pot just below the lip. Thread one end of the wire through the loop at the end of this wire and then twist the wire back on itself to secure.
Cut the straight sections away from the curved sections. Bend one or more pieces of wire into a wreath shape. If using more than one piece of wire, use pliers to make a loop at the end of one wire. Slip the other wire through the loop then make a loop at the end of the second wire and bend it over the other loop to secure. After bending into your wreath shape do the same with the other two ends to hold the wreath together. You can make a single strand wreath or multi-strand wreath (which makes it easier to attach decorations to). Use florists wire to attach holly, evergreen or vines branches to your wreath. Leave as is or continue adding other decorations such as: