8 Clever Uses for Plastic Straws

Have you ever pried a straw out of the mouth of a young child, only to find it macerated and dripping in saliva? Let’s all let out a collective “eeeewww.” In general, my “clever uses” articles are meant to teach people how to get a second use out of something disposable. In the case of straws, I’m honestly going to have to suggest that you be very picky about which straws you reuse. I really don’t expect anyone to reuse chewed up, spit-covered drinking straws.

Now: It is not too gross to wash plastic drinking straws and save them for DIY projects. That is, it is not too gross to wash plastic drinking straws that are in relatively decent condition. Soak them in hot, soapy water, and maybe some nice disinfecting vinegar or vodka. Never mind. Don’t waste vodka on this. You are better off pouring yourself a martini (or a Long Island Iced Tea; I’m not judging!) with the vodka, and disinfecting the straws with vinegar.

When the plastic drinking straws are clean and dry and you’ve amassed a decent-sized collection, try your hand at one of the following projects.

Drinking straw lamp shade: The L.A. Times featured a drinking straw lamp shade that would fit into a whimsical modern design scheme. It’s awesome: Bright colors, weird texture, and it’s a design object that makes a person reconsider the limits of materials. Electrician for wiring the pendant light not included.

The straw cluster chandelier: Design Sponge featured a spiky-looking straw cluster chandelier. It’s definitely a way to turn trash into treasure.

Woven coasters: According to Country Living, woven drinking straws are a great material to make coasters from. It looks like a good project for kids to do on boring car rides.

The straw weaving loom: True Blue Me & You introduced the idea of using drinking straws as a portable, simple, DIY weaving loom. As you weave around the straws, you pull the straws out, producing a length of woven fabric.

Tiny vases made of drinking straws: One of my favorite blogs, Coolhunting, featured tiny vases made from drinking straws. A drinking straw can be an effective way to keep a single flower hydrated in transit.

Drinking straw condiment pack: Adventures in Fluff shared a DIY travel condiment packet idea made out of reused drinking straws with the ends burned together. Obviously, the straws would need to be sanitized before using them to transport mustard. In a similar vein, a number of DIY bloggers have used a similar technique for making DIY ointment packets for travel or camping.

Make your own gummy worms: Just the picture of these DIY gummy worms gives me the creeps. They are long and shiny and wormy. They are a bazillion times more disgusting-looking than prefabricated gummy worms. If you are inclined to make creepy crawly gelatin worms, head over to Cool Instructographics for instructions.

Use drinking straws for caulking: Quite a few DIY blogs suggest taping a small length of drinking straw to the nozzle of a caulking gun to get caulk into tight corners. Silver Spring, MD HVAC contractor Harvey W. Hottel also recommends using drinking straws to smooth caulk lines.

Do you have any great uses for drinking straws? Please share them in the comments.

By Chaya Kurtz, Networx.com


Alina Kanaski
Alina Kanaski1 years ago

Interesting ideas! Thanks for sharing.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson2 years ago

meh, i'd rather just stick with drinking from them, or not buying them at all. thanks though

John S.
Past Member 3 years ago


Valerie A.
Valerie A.3 years ago


Elizabeth O.
Elizabeth O.3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

LMj Sunshine

Interesting, ty.

LMj Sunshine

Interesting, ty.

Carole K.
Carole K.3 years ago

Noted so I can re-read later. I'm always on the look-out for ways to re-purpose trash into treasure. We don't use very many straws; but we can definitely re-use the ones we do have. Thanks for the ideas that are sure to spark more.

Joan Mcallister
3 years ago

Not sure that I will make any of them but thanks for sharing.

Alison A.
Alison A.3 years ago

Thanks for posting.