6 Things to Do with Styrofoam

Don’t throw out those Styrofoam packing chips the next time you get a parcel! Here are six inspired ways to put Styrofoam to good use around the house.

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What exactly is Styrofoam?

What exactly is Styrofoam?

Did you know that “Styrofoam” is actually a brand name for the thermal insulation manufactured by Dow Chemicals? What most people refer to as “Styrofoam” is simply generic expanded polystyrene foam, often used for things like coffee cups, food trays, coolers and different types of packaging material.

Chances are you have some polystyrene foam products lying about-and most of them are likely destined for the trash. Before you toss them out, though, try using them in these cool and creative new ways around the house.

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1. Use Styrofoam to Keep Nail Polish Nice

1. Use Styrofoam to Keep Nail Polish Nice

Is it time for a mani/pedi? When applying nail polish, a styrofoam pellet or a small chunk cut from a block of foam packaging placed between each finger or toe will help spread them apart and keep the polish unblemished until it can dry.

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2. Use Styrofoam to Hold Treats for Shipping and Freezing

2. Use Styrofoam to Hold Treats for Shipping and Freezing

To prepare a quantity of snow cones or ice-cream cones in advance, cut a foam block from an old Styrofoam cooler to size so it will fit flat in your freezer. Cut holes just large enough and close enough to hold cones so they won’t touch, fall over, or poke through the bottom. Fill the cones and slip them into the waiting holes. Then pop the whole thing into the freezer ready for serving at a moment’s notice.

Check out 5 Things to Do with Ice Cream Scoops!

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3. Use Styrofoam to Make a Floating Tray for the Pool

3. Use Styrofoam to Make a Floating Tray for the Pool

Styrofoam is nearly unsinkable. Use the scraps from an old foam cooler to make a drink holder or tray that will float in your pool:

  • To make a soda can holder, cut two pieces to the size you want the finished holder to be, then cut holes the same size as a soda can in one piece. Glue the piece with holes on top of the other piece, using a glue gun with hot-melt glue.
  • To make a tray with a rim, just glue small strips of foam that are at least 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) high around the edge of a larger tray-size section of the material.
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4. Use Styrofoam to Make Your Own Shipping Pellets

4. Use Styrofoam to Make Your Own Shipping Pellets

You’d like to use foam to ship some fragile things, but all you’ve got is sheets or blocks of foam, not pellets. No problem! Just break up what you have into pieces small enough to fit in a blender and pulse it on and off to shred the foam into perfect packing material.

These packing hacks will make your next move as stress-free as possible.

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5. Use Styrofoam to Make a Kickboard

5. Use Styrofoam to Make a Kickboard

A sharp kitchen knife is all you need to cut a panel of foam into a kickboard for your swimming pool.

Check out more extraordinary new uses for ordinary household items!

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Garden shrub design
Photo: Shutterstock

6. Use Styrofoam to Help Shrubs Withstand Winter

Sometimes shrubs need a little help to survive winter’s ravages. Leftover sheets of extruded tongue-and-groove Styrofoam insulation are perfect for the job. They’re rigid, waterproof, and block wind and road salt. Here are two ways to use the material:

  • To give moderate protection, cut two Styrofoam sheets and lash them together to form a pup tent over the plant. To hold the pieces in places, drive bamboo garden stakes through the bottom of each piece into the ground.
  • For something more substantial, fit pieces together to box in the plants on four sides. Put a stake inside each corner and join the pieces with duct or packing tape.

Plants in containers that overwinter outdoors are more likely to survive with Styrofoam protection too.

Check out these five amazing indoor gardening ideas from expert Carson Arthur!

Originally Published in Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

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