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25 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Workshop Scraps

Handy ideas for putting leftover project materials to work instead of throwing them away

Workshop Hacks

Photo by Stephen Swintek

Once a big DIY task is finished, take stock of the extra supplies before heading to the dumpster. Recycle these 25 key components to help you complete your next job.

Create Hanging Storage With Hardware Cloth

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Store bungee cords or other tangle-prone items neatly on the wall using a DIY hanger. Staple each end of a 3-by-12-inch strip of hardware cloth to a 3-by-3-inch piece of scrap wood. Affix the hanger to the garage wall; hook one end of each cord in the mesh.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Hardware Cloth

Tether Your Top

Photo by John Gruen

Simply link the top of the garbage bin to a handle so that it never goes missing.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Sash Chains

Use Paint Stirrers to Raise a Planter

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Cut notches into stir sticks every 1½ inches and assemble them as shown. Place the grid under a pot to prevent deck stains and rot.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Paint Stirrers

Use Weatherstripping to Spread Stain

Photo by Ian Spanier

Cut felt weatherstripping into squares for spreading stain in tight corners on furniture.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Weatherstripping

Use Sandpaper to Spiff Up Tile Grout

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Some gentle friction with a folded fine-grit piece rubs out stains. Cover glazed surfaces with tape, and apply a sealant once the grout is clean.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Sandpaper

Prop Up a Painting Project With Planting Pots

Photo by Beth Perkins

Use four or more pots to lift a cabinet door, piece of trim, or other item you're painting off the ground so that you can reach every nook and cranny.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Plastic Planting Pots

Use Shellac to Restore Old Hardware

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

After removing dirt and paint drips from hinges, knobs, and pulls, seal the pieces with clear shellac—it will keep brasses from tarnishing too.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Shellac

Use Carpet Scraps to Cushion Knees When Gardening

Photo by Rob Howard

Roll up a scrap of carpet and kneel on it when spreading mulch, planting flowers, or weeding.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Carpet Scraps

Use Car Wax to Keep Appliances Fingerprint-Free

Photo by Laura Moss

Apply a thin coat of car wax to stainless-steel fridges and stoves. Buff clean to resist fingerprints and smudges.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Car Wax

Use Sand to Hold Open a Door

Photo by Tina Rupp

Center a sealed ziplock bag of sand on a square of fabric. Gather the fabric at the bag's top and secure with raffia, then place in front of a door.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Sand

Use Copper Pipe to Make a Wind Chime

Photo by James Merrell

Cut various lengths of tube; the longer the piece, the deeper the sound, says Dale Powell of the Copper Development Association. Drill a hole an inch from their tops. Loop fishing line through the openings and hang from a wood disc.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Copper Pipe

Use Drywall Corner Bead to Lift Up a Small Paint Project

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Place two short lengths of bead on your work surface so that the folded edges are facing up. Rest your item across the pieces before painting it.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Drywall Corner Bead

Use Window Screens to Keep Soil Inside a Flowerpot

Photo by Laura Moss

Line the bottom with a patch of screen before filling it, to stop dirt from washing out through the drain hole.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Window Screens

Use Vinyl Tiles to Create Plant Coasters

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

For a no-ring solution under a potted plant, cut two tiles into matching circles and stick them back-to-back.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Vinyl Tiles

Use Bricks to Make Literary Bookends

Photo by Ian Spanier

Get inspired by your favorite classics and brush a faux book jacket onto a brick with acrylic paint and a calligraphy pen, then display it proudly next to the real thing.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Bricks

Use Wood Dowels to Hang Curtains on the Cheap

Photo by Ian Spanier

Cut a 1½-inch dowel to your desired length; the rod should extend at least 3 to 6 inches past the sides of the window casing. Drill pilot holes in the dowel ends to accept threaded cabinet-knob finials; hang on brackets.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Wood Dowels

Use Pipe Insulation to Prop Up Paintbrushes

Photo by Laura Moss

Slip insulation over a paint tray's edge. Cut notches; tuck brush handles in so bristles stay out of the paint.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Pipe Insulation

Use Chalk to Cinch a Screw

Photo by Dave White

Scraping both sides of a flat screwdriver on a piece of chalk keeps it from slipping off the screw as you tighten it.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Chalk

Use PVC to Help Collect Leaves

Photo by Zave Smith Photography

Use this trick from TOH plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey: He rakes leaves into a PVC frame clamped to a garbage bag. The frame holds the bag open and works like a dustpan.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for PVC

Use Foam Spray to Quiet a Washing Machine

Illustration by Ivary

Spray foam along washing-machine water-supply pipes where they meet walls to quiet spin-cycle vibrations.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Foam Spray

Use a Garden Hose to Grip Buckets

Photo by Jeff Harris Photography

A piece of an old hose slipped over a wire handle provides a better grip.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for A Garden Hose

Use Wood Flooring Scraps to Create a Cleat

Photo by Ryan Benyi

To hang a heavy object, cut two pieces of flooring to a length just shorter than the width of the object. Screw one piece, groove-side down, to the back of the object. Fasten the second length, tongue-side up, to the wall, making sure to hit at least two studs. Lower the object onto the piece mounted to the wall, resting the groove on the tongue.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Wood Flooring Scraps

Use Drywall Screws to Sub for a Stopper

Photo by Don Penny/Time Inc. Digital Studio

Screw one into the nozzle of a tube of glue or caulk to clear and seal it; leave it in for a top that screws off.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Drywall Screws

Use a Drywall Bucket to Carry Garden Tools

TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook wraps a canvas tool apron around the outside of a bucket so he'll always have pruners and a waste receptacle at the ready. Similar to shown: 56-Pocket Bucket Tool Organizer by Bucket Boss; about $20, Amazon

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Drywall Buckets

Use Sawdust to Soak Up Spills

Photo by Stephen Swintek

Keep a bucket of sawdust handy for accidents. Sawdust is highly absorbent and can quickly contain spills of oil or paint.

See more ideas in 10 Uses for Sawdust