8 Amazing Ideas for What to Do with Packing Peanuts for Home to School Art

Packing Peanuts and Camera
Photo Courtesy of Pexels – Luis Quintero

Shipped products you receive often come with packing peanuts for protecting the item. Personally, I hate them as the buffer to keep the fragile item safe due to the mess they always cause landing up on my carpet and sticking to my fingers. In addition, they are usually not biodegradable peanuts, which is bad for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Therefore, instead of risking them to a landfill, here are eight clever ideas for what to do with packing peanuts that I found to productively recycle them in creative ways that you may have never thought of.

How to Use Packing Peanuts

In the past, I used to save them and reuse for shipping other items. You can do that if you want to avoid tossing them out, but I found wrapping them in newspaper or paper serves as excellent protection. However, here are eight other ways that I now use that loose-fill packing material.

Potted Plant Drainage – If you have a habit of over watering plants, you’ll love this tip. Layer the foam peanuts at the bottom of your planter before adding the soil and the plant will provide better drainage and solve that problem.

Tightening Loose Screws – Have you ever had a screw that came loose or somewhat stripped from a hole such as from a kitchen table leg? Here is an easy hack to use a polystyrene peanut for a quick rescue simply by breaking it apart followed by stuffing it in the hole before attempting to tighten it again. The cut peanut snugs up the hole to make it easier when using that screwdriver.

Crafting Material for Art Projects for Young Children – You can make some interesting things using styrofoam peanuts. Elementary art teachers find them handy to use in projects to stimulate creativity in their young students and as a free resource to keep their art material budget down.

For instance, children can draw an outline such as a snowflake, a snowman, an Easter basket, Christmas tree, etc. and glue on peanuts to fill it in and then paint.

The kids can also mold shapes out of packing peanuts to form objects like houses, castles, cars, etc. You’ll need a container with water and the peanuts for this art project. The student lightly dips a peanut in the water and then attaches it to another dry one, which adheres well. They keep repeating the cycle until the desired shape of the thing that they’re trying to craft is finished. Then it is painting to give it the detail and artistic touches to show off their beautiful objects of art.

Young art students can dip the peanut into their paints of various color to press like a brush on paper to make abstract designs or realistic pictures. They can turn the peanut from different angles or cutting them, which creates a new shape and texture to their work.

Door Draft Blocker – Polystyrene peanuts and your crafting can also involve their stuffing inside old knee or tube socks, sewing the top shut to put against a drafty doorway. You can also make a wonderful one cutting an old pair of pajamas, using a leg to stuff the peanuts in before sewing the top of the leg shut to shove against the door.

Sweet Smelling Bathroom Refresher – Take a container and fill it with foam peanuts. Then grab your favorite essential oil. Sprinkle about six or eight drops before placing in a spot where you want to hide it and your bathroom will release that a glorious smell. Once the scent gradually loses its potency, you just refresh it with more drops of the essential oil.

If you have space and room, you can use a decorative bathroom bowl and leave it out to beautify your bathroom as well as scent.

Hand Protector When Pounding a Nail – Maybe you have trouble keeping a nail in place when you go to hammer it. An ideal solution is placing a peanut down first, inserting the nail and then pounding it in. This trick will steady the nail and help against you accidentally hammering your finger.

Sharp Tool Protector – Protect yourself from grabbing the wrong end of a tool that can cut you. Just take a packing peanut and stick the dangerous end of the tool in to secure it for more safety.

Arranging Dried Flowers – Plastic foam peanuts also are perfect for lining the bottom and sides of a vase to insert dried flowers when forming a lovely floral arrangement.

What You Don’t Want to Use Styrofoam Peanuts for

Cats, small dogs and little children may like to play in a box of packing peanuts, but this can end badly. Cats, especially could leave their fun with tiny pieces of that styrofoam attached to their fur, which they end up licking. This can cause intestinal blockages for any animal or a child, if you miss that second when the child sticks one in his or her mouth, only to swallow it.

What I shared with these uses for packing peanuts is what I like to do to avoid wasting a good resource for simplifying life and possibly saving some money. If you have other foam hacks to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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