Introduction: 11 Unusual Uses for Straws

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Straws are already pretty great for sipping down delicious drinks, but did you know there so much more that can be done besides the ordinary?

Fun and inexpensive, straws are versatile and functional. Follow along as we explore vacuum sealing bags to noisemakers. 11 unusual uses for straws is sure to show you something you didn't already know about seemingly innocent straws.

Think of any other uses for straws? Share your ideas in the comments below.

      Step 1: ​paint Fun

      Maybe you remember using straws to blow paint around in elementary school art class - In case you forgot, it's loads of fun!

      Water based paint works best for this, as it can easily be diluted with a little water to make a thin paint. Either load a little paint into the straw, or dab a small puddle onto your canvas, then gently blow through the straw to create a unique art piece.

      Blowing a thin stream of air over the wet paint will allow it to crawl across the canvas and create interesting branches of colour. Try letting one color dry then applying another colour over to really give your piece depth.

      Step 2: ​flower Holders

      Fix droopy flowers by propping up the weak stems with thick straws. Alternatively, you can use straws as an extender to give your flowers new length in a tall vase.

      Just find any straw that's larger in diameter than the flower stem. Clear stars work well, as do green ones.

      Step 3: ​wire Organizers/markers

      In our digital age wire management is critical. Never accidentally unplug the wrong thing again my clearly labeling your device wires.

      Cut a straw lengthwise, then cut into small segments, wrap these segments around wires and label them with an indelible marker. Use a few different colour straws to keep things really organized.

      Step 4: ​spoke Fun (embellishments)

      Another classic from childhood are embellishments to your bike spokes. Straws can make a colourful and fun addition to your ride.

      Cut the straws lengthwise, then cut into segments. The straws can them be fit around each spoke, alternating colours or keeping it one consistent colour around each spoke of the entire rim.

      After this all you need is a card in the spokes and you're all set to cruise the neighbourhood!

      Step 5: DIY Vacuum Sealer

      Putting food into a plastic storage bag is a good way to keep things fresh, but you can keep things even fresher by removing any air trapped in the storage bag and prevent it from going stale.

      If you don't have a commercial vacuum sealer all you need to do is put your food into a resealable bag and close the seal most of the way, insert your straw into the bag before closing the seal and then suck as much air as you can from the bag. While holding he suction with your mouth, seal the bag while removing the straw in one motion. It might take some practice, but when done correctly you can effectively create a vacuum inside the resealable bag and keep for fresher for longer.

      Step 6: Necklace Chain Holder

      Keeping your delicate necklaces organized might be easier said than done, but keeping them safely threaded inside a straw is a good way to keep them from getting tangled.

      By using different coloured straws you can organize your jewellery by type, and different size straws can accommodate chunkier necklaces.

      Step 7: Straw Flute

      Start a band by making a straw flute. Bite the end of a straw to flatten it out, then snip the flattened end to a point. Carefully cut small holes along the length of the straw for the tone holes.

      To play, insert the cut end into your mouth and press down gently with your lips, then blow through the straw. You should hear the straw vibrating in your lips creating a buzzing sound, you may need to refine the placement of the straw in your mouth and the amount of air pushed through to get a sound. You'll know when you get it right.

      By varying the placement of the tone holes you can create different sounds. Just remember to not cut more tone holes than you have fingers to cover. Here's a short video of the straw flute I made.

      Step 8: Straw Siphon (science!)

      Joining two straws together can make a fun science experiment showing the action of a siphon.

      A siphon is an inverted 'U' shape, which causes a liquid to flow upward above the surface of a reservoir, with no pump, but powered by the fall of the liquid as it flows down the tube under the pull of gravity, and discharging at a level lower than the surface of the reservoir whence it came.

      To make a siphon, gently fold the end of one straw lengthwise and feed it inside the second straw then roll the folded end with your fingers to undo the fold and create a seal between the two straws.

      With a full glass of water placed near a sink, insert the straw into a full glass of water and suck on the straw to prime the siphon. Put the end of the straw into the sink below the bottom level of the glass and the siphon action should start draining the water from the glass. Science at work!

      Step 9: Individual Storage for Powders

      Straws also make great containers to store individual portions of any kinds of powders, like sugar, sports drinks, or salt and pepper.

      Making your own is easy, all you need is parchment paper and an iron. Cut the straws to the desired length, but at least 2" long so you can safely work with the straw and the iron. Fold over the parchment paper and insert the end of the straw in the valley of the fold, then work a hot iron over the parchment covered straw to melt the plastic seal the straw end.

      Fill the straw with your powder, then seal the other end. These small sachets are great for portion control, and they are waterproof!

      Step 10: ​funnel Extender

      Funnels are really handy tools, but the wide top doesn't always fit into tight spaces. Luckily most funnels have a tapered bottom that allows straws to be attached and extend the range of the funnel.

      Step 11: Toothpick

      For the times when a toothpick is not at hand, or when you want to subtlety remove food stuck in your teeth while at the table.

      Bite the end of the straw flat, creating a sharp point at the end. Then gently (and covertly) use it as a toothpick to dislodge anything stuck between your teeth. As a bonus, you can then use the straw to enjoy some of your beverage and rinse your mouth. If done correctly, no one will be the wiser.

      Do you have some more unusual uses for straws? I want to see them!

      Happy making :)