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10 Uses for Gutters

Before you consign your metal off-cuts to the recycling pile, consider these clever ways to make use of them

Go With The Flow

Photo by Andrew McCaul

They carry rainwater away from your house, but aluminum troughs have other uses, too. Need inspiration? Read on.

1. Make a Windowsill Planter

Photo by Laura Moss

Cut a length of aluminum gutter (ours is 12 inches long) with tin snips. Tap on end caps, securing them with a crimping tool; caulk with silicone. Add potting soil and plants.

2. Protect Seedlings

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In colder weather, place a length of gutter atop tender garden plants at night to shield them from frost.

3. Store Sundries in The Shop

Photo by Laura Moss

Crimp end caps onto lengths of gutter. Screw through the gutters' backs into two 1x3s to make a ladder-style storage unit. Hang on a door or across a stud bay.

4. Hide Cord Clutter

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Screw a length of gutter across the inside back legs of a desk so that furniture can still sit flush with the wall. Use the gutter to keep excess cord off the floor and out of sight.

5. Build a Tabletop Drinks Trough

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Crimp end caps to a length of gutter and seal with caulk. Remove a section of the center plank of a wood picnic table to fit the length of the gutter. Drop the gutter into the opening and secure it to the table along the inside with sheet-metal screws. Fill the trough with ice.

6. Hold Trimmings

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Stand rolls of ribbon, string, or twine upright and side by side in a foot-long piece of gutter. It's a perfect dispenser for pulling out and cutting short lengths.

7. Create a Custom Message Board

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Flatten a length of galvanized steel gutter using a rubber mallet, and leave the rolled lip along one side intact. Hook the lip onto a wall-hung metal kitchen-utensil rail (find them starting at about $3; ikea.com). Use magnets to post notes and daily reminders.

8. Make a Bookshelf or a Picture Ledge

Photo by Laura Moss

Crimp end caps onto 3-foot sections of gutter. Paint as desired. Fasten to the wall by screwing through the backs of the gutters. Use them to display art or large picture books.

9. Secure a Pipe

Photo by David Carmack

Cut a 2-inch section of gutter with tin snips. Bend back the ends to form a horseshoe-shaped strap. Place over PVC or steel pipe and screw the bent ends into the wall or ceiling.

10. Use as a Critter Deterrent

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To keep stray cats from getting into a fenced garden, place a length of gutter open-end down over the top of a garden fence. When they jump onto the fence, the rattling noise will spook them.