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Clever Reuse Ideas

From our popular "10 Uses" column -- creative ways to reuse household items

Eye-catching DIY memo board: Frame a pretty scrap of fabric or wallpaper, hang in a high traffic area, and use a dry-erase market to jot down reminders on the glass. via @Real Simple

10 Cheap Organizing Hacks for a Clutter-Free Home

To make decorative luminaries, drill holes in pint-size cans, making a pattern. Place a votive candle in each can. | Photo: Tina Rupp

10 Uses for Paint Cans

Fill a large paint can with sand or gravel, and stick a garden torch in the middle. | Photo: Ryan Benyi

10 Uses for Paint Cans

Create storage for pencils or brushes: Place adhesive-backed magnets on the bottoms of small paint cans (use a hot-glue gun for extra hold). Attach to an inexpensive magnetized knife strip on the wall. | Photo: Ryan Benyi

10 Uses for Paint Cans

New or used, these metal pails have a variety of uses around the house | Photo: James Worrell

10 Uses for Paint Cans

Window-Frame Trellis: Turn an old window that's missing its glass into a support for climbing vines. Here, a single sash is attached to an elevated planter made from scrap wood. As an alternative to a window, use a Windsor-style chair with vertical spindles in the backrest. Place potted plants on the seat and train tendrils around the spindles. | Photo: Courtesy of Lark Books/Sterling Publishing

Turn Salvaged Junk Into Garden Ornaments

Protect your stovetop: Use pie plates to surround gas burners or to line burners on an electric range. Cut a hole in the center large enough for the burner, as needed. | Photo: Misha Gravenor/The Image Bank/Getty

10 Uses for Aluminum Pie Plates
  • Anna Wachtel Riley

    This is bad advice. Using aluminum on electric burners can cause overheating which can burn out connectors and wiring. Drip pans for electric ranges are cheap and readily available at every hardware store and most anywhere that sells even basic home products (drugstore, big box retailer, etc).

  • Anita Frank

    Agreed, Anna! Just buy new drip pans--really inexpensive!

Prevent melted-wax mess: Place pie plates under burning candles outside to stop wax from dripping onto your table or patio. | Photo: Tetra Images/Getty

10 Uses for Aluminum Pie Plates

Use a pie tin as a mini roller tray. It is the perfect size to hold small amounts of paint when doing minor touch-ups around the house. | Photo: Janice Richard/E+/Getty

10 Uses for Aluminum Pie Plates

Bird deflector: Craft tin ornaments from a pie plate to keep feathered friends from striking your windows. (The ornaments break up the reflection.) Create a design—we drew ours freehand—and cut it out with tin snips. Poke decorative holes with the point of a compass and hang with string. | Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewelyn

10 Uses for Aluminum Pie Plates

Back a glass tabletop: Revamp the plain glass surface of a coffee table or desk by layering a sheet of paper under it.

10 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

Use as a photo mat: Try cutting out a piece of thick, subtly patterned wallpaper to surround pictures inside a frame.

10 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

Make a memento board: Cut a piece of plywood to size and cover it with batting and fabric. Secure with a staple gun. Tack a piece of lattice on top with brad nails. Tuck paint swatches and the like into the openings.

10 Uses for Lattice

Liven up a boring light switch: Remove the switch plate, and place a piece of wallpaper on top of it. Fold the paper's edges over the plastic, attaching it with a thin coat of craft glue, then screw back into place.

10 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

Wrap presents: Choose a festively patterned wallpaper to cover gift boxes; it's heavier and more durable than standard wrapping.

10 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

Beef up your garage or shed's storage with this rustic shelving unit. It's a breeze to build: Just place the crates on top of one another, one at a time. Drill pilot holes in the corner braces to prevent the wood from splitting, then fasten with 2-inch deck screws. For extra support, screw the unit into a wall from inside the crates.

88 Quick and Easy Decorative Upgrades

Make instant art: Paste an oversize scrap (or several smaller remnants) to a wall and frame it with molding.

10 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

Craft a privacy shade: Cut paper to your window's width and its length plus 2 feet, and fold accordian-style.

10 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

Create templates: Cut out a shape or design you like from a piece of wallpaper and use as a guide to re-create the motif.

10 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

Add style to stairs: line the risers with a bold pattern.

10 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

After the walls have been lined and the paste has dried, don't toss the remains of that roll. Instead, put the scraps to work.

10 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

From, this clever idea for using a disposable aluminum foil pan to create a stovetop smoker.

Smoked Salmon Recipes

Reclaimed railway ties with pebble insets make for a handsome and eco-friendly garden pathway.

Take the {repurposed} Path Less Traveled

Add marbles to the bottom of a vase to keep your florals in the drink and make arranging, well, child’s play.

New Uses for Flowers

From Dysfunctional Designs, dozens of fun ways to upcycle vintage TV this one, turned into a swanky retro bar. |