Fill emptied plastic eggs with puffed rice cereal and silver-ball cake decorations to make impromptu maracas for kids.
4 of 26Erica McCartney; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Wrapping Paper as Napkin Ring
Cut even strips of leftover wrapping paper, wrap around a napkin, and affix with tape. There’s no easier—or cheaper—way to dress up place settings.
5 of 26Photos: Erica McCartney; Styling: Linden Elstran
Baby Food Jar as Easter Egg Decorating Aid
Design Rothkoesque Easter eggs. Fill a jar with dye, then dip half the egg in and let dry. Dip again, but only one-third of the egg. Repeat with both ends of the egg until you have stripes in varying shades.
Here's a fanciful and fun way to serve cubed cheese, cherry tomatoes, and more: Place large buttons on a tray, spear the hors d'oeuvres with toothpicks, then anchor the toothpick ends in the buttons' holes.
7 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
CD Case as Photo Place Card
Assign seating at a holiday dinner. Slide festive photos of various family members into a case and prop it in front of a place setting.
8 of 26Photo: Erica McCartney; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Doily as Candle Holder
Looking for an easy and inexpensive way to dress up tables? Give pillar candles delicate, lacey embellishments by folding doilies in half, wrapping them around candles, and securing with tape.
9 of 26John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Confetti as Packing Material
Don't ditch excess confetti or shredded paper. Use it to cushion breakable items so they arrive in one piece.
10 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Toothbrush Holder as Vase
Don’t have a vase small enough to display those pretty buds you picked? A seldom used toothbrush holder fits a small arrangement perfectly.
11 of 26John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Stretchy Bracelets as Wine Charms
Snag a couple of your child's stretchy bracelets to identify guests' glasses at your next party. Bonus points if the shapes match your party's theme. Submitted by: Abby123
12 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Beans as Candle Anchor
Pretty and functional. Fill a hurricane vase with beans before adding a pillar candle to help keep the candle steady and minimize mess (the beans will catch the wax).
13 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Pipe Cleaners as Drink Labels
Skip the fancy wine charms and use an array of brightly colored pipe cleaners to identify guests' drinks at your next get-together. Submitted by: LassieBV
14 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Cake Stand as Soap Dish
Glam up a bathroom or vanity. Stock soaps and washcloths on top, or showcase your prettiest perfume bottles.
15 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Paper Doily as Candy Cone
Form a cone with a small (5-inch) doily, secure with tape, and fill with candy and treats. The lacy server is a sweet upgrade for the next time you gather the ladies (think bridal shower) or girls (birthday party, sleepover, extra-special playdate).
16 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Pastry Tip as Place Card
Set a sweet table and use scalloped pastry tips in fun colors as place-card holders.
17 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Votive Candle Holders as Place Cards
Arrange a luminous table setting. Write guests’ names on strips of parchment paper and wrap them around votive holders, securing the ends with tape. As an alternative, remove the candles, cut snapshots of guests to match the height of a holder, and then curl around the inside wall.
18 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Easter Grass as Packing Material
Don't trash that plastic Easter grass (but do keep it away from your pets; it can be dangerous if consumed). Use it as packing materials for delicate items—so you won’t need to worry whether Uncle Bob's favorite Chianti will make it to his wine cellar unscathed.
19 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Tissue Paper as Purse Shaper
Help a purse or boots to keep its shape with tissue stuffed inside.
20 of 26Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Paper Doily as Cupcake Holder
These cute patterns on cupcake liners are there one minute, gone the next—they virtually disappear in the oven. For a pretty touch, trim off the patterned edge of a large (12-inch) doily and wrap it around the cupcake liner. Seal with clear tape.
21 of 26Ryan Cooley
Easter Baskets as May Day Gifts
Maximize your green quotient by recycling that Easter basket for a May Day treat. Simply fill the basket with treats—a batch of fresh-baked cookies, candies, flowers and candles, or something more elaborate—for a surprise on your best friend or relative's doorstep.
22 of 26Yunhee Kim
Eggshells as Bottle and Vase Cleaners
Here’s an idea for all those eggs you hard-boiled: Use their broken eggshells to clean the hard-to-reach places in bottles and vases. Drop some crushed shells in the bottle, add warm water and a drop of dishwashing liquid, and give it a good swirl. The shells will scrape off the gunk you can’t get to, so you can save your elbow grease for the dinner dishes.
23 of 26Antonis Achilleos
Paper Shredder as Confetti Maker
Feed colorful gift-wrapping tissue through your shredder to produce instant Easter-basket grass.
24 of 26Rita Maas
Rubber Band as Easter Egg Decorator
Decorate eggs by positioning bands around them in a pattern before dipping them into the dye.
Create a custom paint palette for an afternoon art session.
26 of 26James Wojcik
Eggshell as Seedling Planter
Using a pin, poke a hole in the bottom of an empty eggshell half, put it in an egg carton (for stability), and fill with soil and seeds. Once your seedling appears, plant the whole thing in the ground. The eggshell will disintegrate and nourish the soil.