New Uses for Old Things: Holiday Edition
Candy Canes as Cupcake Decorations
Remove the cellophane wrapping from the canes and form hearts by placing them hook to hook and tail to tail on a nonstick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on the canes’ size) or until they stick together when you pinch the ends lightly. Cool thoroughly and remove with a spatula. If you want to make flat hearts with psychedelic stripes, bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Playing Card as Gift Tag
A playing card is a winning stand-in for a gift tag. Numbers 2 to 10 are fun for kids' birthdays; the king and queen of hearts are perfectly suited as valentines. (Use a permanent marker to write your message.)
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.
Ribbon as Utensil Holder
When utensils are wrapped together, guests can grab what they need in one go—great for a buffet table.
Bobby Pin as Gift-Card Clip
More than just a hair accessory: Attach a note to a ribbon with a colorful or bedazzled bobby pin.
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.
Wrapping Paper as Tray Liner
Turn an old tray into a special serving piece with a single scrap of pretty paper. Use double-sided tape to keep it secure.
Toilet Paper Tube as Wrapping Paper Holder
Slide empty toilet paper tubes over wrapping paper to keep it from unraveling.
Washi Tape as Cocktail Flag
Skip drink umbrellas in favor of this low-effort DIY option. Attach decorative tape to coffee stirrers and drop into signature cocktails. Guests will, well, drink to that!
Birthday Candles as Valentine’s Day Card
Turn a birthday party prop into a loved one's bright spot on February 14. All you'll need to make this card is a blank note card, glue, and a felt tip marker.
Ribbon as Cake Stand Embellishment
Take your cake stand to new heights by wrapping a plain glass vase with a ribbon in your signature shade.
Matchbook as Valentine’s Day Card
Once you've found your perfect match, it's easy to turn sentiments into handmade crafts. Start with a blank note card, glue, and a felt tip marker.
Playing Card as Valentine’s Day Card
When the stakes are high, you'd bet your money (and your heart) on this guy. Start with a blank note card, glue, and a felt tip marker.
Puzzle Pieces as Valentine’s Day Card
For the one who lights up your life, create a card that'll be for keeps. Start with a blank note card, glue, and a felt tip marker.
See more homemade valentines.
Holiday Lights as Night Light
Fill a large Mason jar with a strand or two of battery-powered lights to add whimsy to a walkway or a nightstand.
Candy Wrapper as DIY Gift Wrap
Sworn off candy? Use the leftover wrappers to sugarcoat small-scale presents: Cut a wrapper into a flat sheet, then fold and tape as usual.
Party Hat as Candy Dish
Use extra paper party hats to corral candy on a display table—or fill them with popcorn to hand out to kids.
Tinsel as Ornament Filler
If you have extra tinsel but aren’t feeling a fuzzy tree this year, stuff a handful into clear glass ornament balls. You’ll get tinsel in small, sparkly doses.
Tissue Paper as Cupcake Wrapper
This frilly tissue paper wrap makes a birthday treat even sweeter. Cut a circle and gently gather it around the bottom of the cupcake, securing with a rubber band.
Holiday Tags as Drink Labels
Merlot gone missing? A small, adhesive gift tag keeps each drink in the right hand.
Ribbon as Shoelace
Let everyone know you march to the beat of your own drum; use colorful ribbon in place of shoelaces. Change when the mood strikes.
Cereal Box as Sweets Carrier
Attention, PTA members: Here’s a practical Transport Alternative for the bake sale. Tape a cereal box closed, then cut away the front or back panel to create a tray for those top-selling brownies. Best of all, you can just "donate" the box.
Shoelace as Ribbon
Happy birthday, sport! Use a (clean) shoelace for a simple, reusable gift tie.
Ribbon as Place Card Embellishment
Punch four holes around a piece of cardstock, then tie two pieces of ribbon along the top and bottom to make a striped place card.
Post-It Notes as Garland
Admit it: You’ve always wanted to unfurl an entire stack of Post-its. Here’s your chance. Gently attach one end to a wall and spread the stack across without pulling too tight (you don’t want the sheets to come un-stuck) to make a quick, graphic garland.
Paper Towel Tube as Linen Organizer
Keep linen placemats and runners crease-free; roll them around a paper towel holder instead of folding.
Kid Art as Holiday Wrap
Oh, that’s grandma dressed as an alligator? Perfect for wrapping her birthday gift. (And the fridge door is full anyway.)
Buttons as Appetizer Stand
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.
Pumpkin as Place Card
Spell out guests’ names with adhesive letters (or write them with a permanent marker); send the mini gourds home as party favors.
Tree Bow Ornament as Napkin Ring
Use tree bows (with built-in loops on the back) to hold napkins for Christmas dinner—or turn any ornament into a decorative tie by threading a ribbon through the wire loop on top.
Pine Cone as Place Card
Dust off pinecones from the yard to make rustic (and free) place card holders for a fall dinner party. You can also paint them for a more modern look.
Sticker Dots as Party Cups
Turn plain white cups into custom-designed party wear with simple dot stickers, available at any office supply store.
Kazoo as Place Card
Ready to blow it out at your next dinner party? Use a permanent marker to write guests’ names on kazoos to designate seats—perfect for New Year’s Eve.