New Year’s New Uses
Jewelry Box as Coaster
A pretty jewelry box top is the perfect size for most wine glasses. Decorate the inside or add some confetti for a party.
CD Sleeve as Confetti Holder
Has your iPod player rendered that stack of CDs useless? Collect the spare sleeves, fill with confetti, and pass out to guests so they’re prepared to send off the happy couple.
Cornstarch as Makeup Protector
Balance the oiliness of moisturizing makeup. Brush on a thin layer as a finishing touch.
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.
Party Hat as Confetti Holder
Hang party hats upside down and fill with colorful ready-to-be-thrown confetti.
Q-Tip as Makeup Brush
Artfully dab on costume makeup without getting your good makeup brushes dirty.
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!
Felt Pads as Clothing Securer
Help strappy garments stay on hangers. Affix a circle to each end.
Deodorant as Blister Preventer
Make breaking shoes in less of a pain. Rub clear-gel deodorant on spots prone to blistering before you step out in a stiff new pair.
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.
Baby Oil as Necklace Detangler
Rub a few drops of baby oil into each knot and work them gently free with a straight pin.
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.
Nail Polish as Snag Preventer
Keep a snag in your stockings from growing by dabbing it with clear nail polish.
Pencil Eraser as Earring Securer
If the backing for one of your studs goes AWOL, slice off a disk-shaped wedge from an eraser. The earring will stay put, even if your pencil looks denuded.
Salt as Wine Chiller
Chill a bottle of bubbly fast. Place ice around the bottle’s base in a bucket and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of salt. Repeat, layering ice and salt up to the bottle’s neck. Fill with water, wait 10 minutes, and serve.
Clip-On Earrings as Shoe Embellishments
Channel Grandma’s style and update plain white wedding shoes (or everyday ballet flats) with a funky pair of clip-on earrings. Attach them to the shoes at the center (or slightly off center), and let your fancy footwork peek out from under your gown. You'll be able to update your bejeweled flats as quickly as you change your mood.
Duct Tape as Shoe Soles
Tape a piece onto each sole of new, slippery shoes for added traction.
Plastic Easter Eggs as DIY Maracas
Fill emptied plastic eggs with puffed rice cereal and silver-ball cake decorations to make impromptu maracas for kids.
Cold Compress as Wine Chiller
Get that bottle of Pinot Grigio to the perfect temperature by wrapping it in a cold compress or ice pack.
Dish Towel as Wine Bag
Place the bottle along one side of the fabric so that the bottle’s top meets the top of the fabric. Fold the excess material at the bottom over the bottle, forming a pocket of sorts. Then roll the dish towel evenly and secure at the neck with ribbon.
Window Decals as Drink Markers
Decorate (and distinguish) wine or water glasses at your next get-together with removable window decals.
Courtesy of reader Linda Winterhoff of Williamsburg, Virginia
Cloth Napkins as Coasters
When cloth napkins become overly stained, cut them into 5½ inch squares with pinking shears, and let them protect your tables at parties. To make a longer-lasting version, lay a napkin flat on a piece of felt and use the shears to cut the square out of both pieces of fabric. Apply fabric glue to the edges and across the middle of the felt piece, then press the napkin to the felt.
Washing Machine as Drink Chiller
Fill the tub with ice and extra bottles of beer and wine so you don't have to empty the refrigerator to make room for party supplies. Bonus: The melted ice neatly drains right through the machine's holes.
Colander as Ice Bucket
Make ice cubes last longer at your next cocktail party: Put them in a colander set into a bowl. As they melt, the water will drain through the holes instead of sitting and turning the ice to slush.
Lollipops as Cocktail Stirrers
Look for traditional lollipops in colors that complement your drinks. Lime-flavored stirrers give vodka tonics an extra burst of flavor. It's an inner-child twist to a distinctly grown-up beverage (and fodder for cocktail-party small talk).
CD as Drink Coaster
Stop wet glasses from leaving messy tracks on the tabletop. Truth is, some CDs are more useful as coasters.
Raisin as Champagne Restorer
Drop a raisin into the open bottle a few minutes before pouring and any last gasps of carbon dioxide that are left in the wine will stick to the raisin’s ridged surface, then release again as tiny bubbles. A little more sparkle to lift your spirits.
Wine Glasses as Candle Holders
Elevate tealights or plain votives. Place a candle in a thick-walled glass and anchor it with a thin layer of sand or small pebbles for more elegant mood lighting.
Electrical Tape as Cup Labels
Avoid drink mix-ups by color-coding cups with electrical tape at a birthday party.
Mold Ice With a Bundt Pan
Give a punch bowl an elegant (and functional) touch with this floating ice sculpture. Simply fill the cake pan with water (or nonalcoholic punch), freeze, and pop out before serving.
Coffee Filter as Wine Strainer
When the cork crumbles, salvage a bottle of wine by slowly pouring it through a filter into a pitcher or carafe. That way your $25 Fume Blanc won't go down the drain.
Champagne Flutes as Candle Stands
If you find yourself with a mismatched collection―or without bubbly―flip thick-walled Champagne flutes upside down to create a beautiful grouping of candle stands for a shelf or a mantel. Use heavy wineglasses for table centerpieces, as the wider mouths will provide more stability to withstand bumping.
Cake Stand as Candle Holder
Create a candle centerpiece to light up your wedding (or you dinner table) by using cake stands as platforms for votive and pillar candles in assorted sizes.