According to the EPA, Americans throw away 1.6 billion disposable pens every year. That’s a lot of plastic. It’s sad that we use and waste so much plastic when a lot of it can be reused or repurposed. You may be wondering how you can use pens for something other than writing. If you use your imagination and get creative, you can come up with some ideas of your own. Pens and pencils can be reused for crafts and other projects. They can be used to make toys, and you can use them for both inside and outside projects. The sky is really the limit when it comes to repurposing pens and pencils.
Here are 35 unique ideas that can help you recycle some of the pens and pencils you have lying around in your own home. If your pen runs out of ink or stops working, don’t throw it away. Instead, use one of these ideas to repurpose it.
1. Cat Toys
If you remove the ink and interior parts from pens, they make great cat toys. Cats can bat them around, or you can tie strings through them and hang them around the house for the cats to play with. You can even tie more than one together to make the toys even more fun.
2. Garden Markers
You can poke pens directly in the ground in front of seedlings and write the name of the plant on them. They are durable, so they will hold up to the weather, and they are the perfect size for any garden. Remember to clean them before placing them in the soil.
3. Decorate A Car
If you have an old car, a derby car, or a car that doesn’t look too great on the outside, you can attach old pens to it to make it look unique and interesting. Just glue the old pens on the car in any pattern. It’s sure to turn a lot of heads when you drive down the street.
4. Plant Starter Sticks
If you plant a lot of seeds, you can use pens or pencils as starter sticks. The plants will have something to cling to as they grow. Once they get started, you can remove the pens or pencils and save them for other plants.
5. Coffee Stirrers
Clean the pens thoroughly and use them as coffee stirrers. You can wash and reuse them as often as you want. After you are done using them as coffee stirrers, you can still recycle the pens.
6. Jar Funnels
If you have a lot of small jars and some big pens, you can use the pens as funnels in the jars. Wash them thoroughly before inserting them in the jars. You will also need to remove all of the interior pieces of the pen to get it to work like a funnel.
7. Christmas Tree Ornaments
Maybe you want to make an office-supply tree, or maybe you can use them to make other shapes and ornaments. You can string them up and use them as garland or dip them in glue and glitter and use them as icicle ornaments.
8. Fishing Lures
Who knew you could make plastic pens into fishing lures? Just empty them and paint as desired. Add eyes and tails to make them look like minnows or insects. Attach them to your pole, and use them to reel in a big fish.
9. Plant Hangers
String some empty pens together to create a beaded string that you can use to hang your plants. Attach the string of pens to your pots and hang them inside or outside your home. The plastic pens are durable and will withstand the elements and the weight of the plants.
10. Christmas Tree
You can stack the pens in the shape of a tree to make Christmas décor that you can display in your home. Cut the pens if necessary and spray paint them when you are finished. You can make them as big or small as you want.
11. Make Beads
Cut the pens into pieces and use them as beads. You can use a small saw or a good pair of scissors to cut the pens up to make small beads. Use them for crafts or jewelry.
12. Thread Spools
You can wrap your extra thread, wire, or yarn around pens and use them as spools. They spin to release the thread, so they are easy to work with. You can also use them to combine thread and yarn that may not fit on a regular spool.
13. Hair Pin
If you need to pull your hair up and don’t have any Bobbi pins or hair ties, a plastic pen can help. Just twist your hair up into a bun and stick the pen through the bun to secure it. It should hold for a while to keep your hair pulled back out of your face.
Hang your pens on a string and wrap it around an old lamp to make a pen lampshade. You can either remove the ink or leave it inside the pens to create a color to the light. Make sure none of the pens are touching the light bulb, though.
15. Doll Making
If you like to make dolls, you probably buy wooden dowel rods to make the arms and legs. Instead of spending money on wood, replace it with these plastic pens. They are just as sturdy and are the right size for most dolls.
16. Toy Houses
Your kids will be thrilled when they see the toy houses you have made for them out of plastic pens or pencils. Just stack them to create a house shape. You can build windows and doors, paint them, and even add embellishments to make them look better.
You can glue or string the pens together to make placemats. Come up with unique shapes and designs or stick to something simple. You can also use them as mats to put under pots and planters.
You can use pens to make all types of art. You can string them together to make jewelry, glue them to wood or canvas to make wall décor, and just arrange them to make sculptures. When you see the pens as art materials, the possibilities are endless.
19. Stick Dolls
Make bodies out of pens or pencils to create stick dolls. You can add clothing made from fabric or paper to dress them. Add rounds beads to make the head, and paint faces on them.
20. Aquarium Décor
Make caves and other aquarium décor for your fish. Clean the pens thoroughly and use silicone to attach them to each other. You may also need to weigh them down with stones to keep them in the aquarium and prevent them from floating.
21. Pencil Holder
You can use old pens to make a pencil holder for a desk. Just glue the pens around a can to create the shape. Once the glue dries, remove the can, and you have a pencil holder. Toss some desk supplies in it, and you are ready to go.
22. Pencil Coasters
Cut pencils or colored pencils into small pieces that are all the same height. Glue them together to make coasters. You can use them for hot or cold drinks, and they even make great gifts. You can even use different colors to match a theme or color scheme.
23. Pencil Eraser Stamps
Carve out pencil erasers in different shapes to make stamps. Dip them in ink, and then stamp paper. You can make them in any shape, and you have control over how they work. These are also fun for kids to make on rainy days.
24. Pen Picture Frame
Save your old pens and pencils, and trim them so they are all the same length. Glue them to a picture frame to create a fun, new look. You can even build them to create a picture frame as long as you have a sturdy back to put on it.
25. Pencil Toy Logs
Before you throw out your old, broken pencils, think about how they can be used. Pencils look a lot like little logs. Cut off the tips and erasers, and you have a little “log” for your kids to play with.
26. Pen Ring Holder
Put a plastic pen into some clay and allow it to dry. Once the clay is dry and the pen is sturdy, spray it with paint. Now, you have a ring holder that you can put in your bedroom or closet.
27. Colored Pencil Jewelry
Chop colored pencils into small pieces and glue them together to make different patterns. Attach earring backs, chains, or key rings. You can use them for a variety of jewelry and accessory pieces.
28. Styrofoam Engraving
If you don’t know about Styrofoam engraving, you are missing out. This fun art form is great for people of all ages. Instead of drawing, you use something pointed to engrave a design in Styrofoam. Old pens are perfect for making these designs.
29. Sprinkler Head
Take a plastic bottle and make holes in it with pens all around the bottle. Hook the end of the bottle to a hose, and you have a nice sprinkler head that will distribute water all over your yard or garden. This also can be a fun summer activity for kids.
30. Crochet Hook Handles
Add some glue to the inside of a pen and push a crochet hook inside it. Allow it to dry, and you have a nice handle for your needles. This is also a clever way to sort them and store them, so they don’t get bent or broken.
31. Make Tin Art
A pen can be used to push designs into tin cans. Just make small dots on the cans to spell out a word or outline an image. The dots should go all the way through, so a light can be put into the can to make a lantern.
32. Toy Teepee
Do you kids have little toys that they like to play with? You can use old pens to make teepees and tents for those toys. Just make the frame from the pens and add a small piece of fabric to make the tent part. It’s perfect for tiny dolls and little animals.
33. Pen Jump Rope
String a bunch of pens together to make a long rope. Put bigger pens at the ends for handles. Make sure the rope is long enough to jump. You can also use old markers. Then, let your kids have fun with something you made from recycled materials.
34. Stylus Handles
If you use a stylus and wish the handle was a little bigger or more comfortable, grab an old pen. Remove the interior parts of the pen and shove the stylus inside it. Add some hot glue to secure it, and you have an improved pen stylus.
35. Spit Wad Shooter
This one may not be a good idea. It could be a lot of fun but also cause a lot of trouble. Simply pull off the tip and end of a pen, and you have a perfect spit wad gun. Don’t let the kids take it to school, though.