I consider pantyhose to be right up there with duct tape as a tool kit
essential. A friend with two daughters saves them for me.
Have a spool of nylon fish line that keeps getting loose? Got a box that you're tired of re-taping? Lost the straw thing on your WD-40... again? Pantyhose do it all and more! And they come in colors!! Even better, discarded pairs are FREE!
Step 1: What You Need
A. Pantyhose, stockings, knee highs, tights, socks... holes or not, all have a potential future.
Some version is usually available free from parents of little girls or big girls. In a pinch one could (shudder) purchase new pantyhose at any grocery or drug store.
B. Sharp scissors suitable for cutting cloth. If you don't have a pair of sewing scissors designated for "cloth only!'' this is a good reason to get a pair - and label them.
Step 2: Using Pantyhose Whole
There are a few uses for pantyhose in their original whole state.
You can actually bundle a bunch of packing boxes with one pair.
You can use them to keep foam pads on a camp cot. One leg over, one leg under, ignore the body. Because they are soft and stretchy, there's no hard ridge of cord to keep you awake.
They are big enough and strong enough to tie up queen sized memory foam or just about any other bedding.
Step 3: Cutting Pantyhose Into Basic Parts - 1 Body + 2 Legs
TIE FIRST! Tie off the legs before cutting them from the body. This allows the knots to be very close to the 'body'.
THEN snip off the legs. I usually keep a 'body' full of 'bodies' on hand along with a 'leg' full of legs.
Step 4: Things to Do With Whole Legs
Legs are just the right size to go around Styrofoam coolers. Stretch the leg around the cooler and tie a knot. One leg at each end works well. You can usually remove and replace the legs without untying them.
This size is also handy for keeping sleeping bags, foam camping pads, or tarps rolled.
Step 5: Pre-filter Your Shop Vac
'Bodies' make good pre-filters for shop vacs. They keep the big stuff from blocking the filter pores. This is especially handy when using a wet vac for dusty situations.
I put a quart of water in the bottom of the tank before I begin. The body is on the filter. When I'm done cleaning, I peel the body off the filter. ( It's turning inside out in the process. ) The big stuff is inside the body 'sack' now. I hang/stretch the 'sac' across the top of an old plastic pitcher so the big stuff is cupped in the body. Then I can pour the cruddy water from the tank through the body... catching the medium and small stuff. The muddy water in the bottom of the pitcher is then free enough of debris to go down the drain. The drained 'body' (full of crud) goes into the garbage.
Step 6: Easy Disposable Strainers
'stockings' or 'hose' have been used as strainers for generations.
You can, of course, strain paint. with a single layer piece of a body or leg.
You can drain alfalfa or other small seeds after soaking them. ( Later in their development, changing to something with a courser mesh will let the hulls drain out. )
Step 7: Let Air Circulate in Boots or Gloves But Keep Critters Out
OK, I'm phobic about the idea of venomous things hanging out in boots and gloves that have been stored in basements or garages.
Use 'thighs' for this. Start with a whole pantyhose and tie the standard knots between the legs and the body. Then tie a second set of knots about an inch below the first set. Cut between the double knots on each leg. You now have the body tied off and two legs with knots at the top and toes at the bottom. Cut each leg about 9 inches below the knot. Put the resulting little 'hat' on each boot. Air can circulate, and the boots can dry, but critters will have to make an effort to set up house in the toes.
For gloves, put the whole glove inside a closed leg section and tie off the end.
Step 8: Stuff Can Be Stored in Sections of Legs
Lengths of legs with a knot at one end make great storage for weirdly shaped things that might normally go into a plastic bag. But plastic bags are bulky, and noisy, and don't breathe well. Keeping stuff in lengths of legs (depending on your style of pantyhose) lets you see what's inside, and they expand or contract to fit the shape of whatever they hold.
Easily snagged things like silk scarves are more safely stored this way.
Step 9: Make 'super Bands' (or Instant Hair Scrunchies)
Cut strips across the legs of pantyhose, stockings, tights, or even some socks. The wider the strip, the thicker the loop will be and the less far it will stretch.
Stretch the resulting loops. They will curl up into 'super bands'.
I think they're super because indoors they won't rot like rubber, they come in almost infinite sizes, they each have a definite maximum size.... and the band is still STRONG at that maximum size...well, I could go on, but you get the idea. I love 'em.
They may remind some of you of the potholder loopers of the '50's. (And just think of all the things you did with those!)
Step 10: Close Boxes
Almost any box can be closed with pantyhose. Because they are still strong at maximum stretch, they are good for boxes of sockets, or colored pencils, or other boxes that require strength.
If you have something like a fan box and need a super huge band, cut a band from a 'body'.
Step 11: Keep Straws With Spray Cans
This works best with bands made from sock ribbing or kiddie tights.
Folding a piece of tape around the straw will keep it from slipping through.
Step 12: Stretchy Ties for Almost Anything
Stretched bands that have been cut work well as ties in many applications.
In the garden, they're gentle on the plants and easy to handle. They don't hold moisture or provide homes for pests the way strips of rag or some twines do. They tend to rot in a season of sunshine, and can usually be broken or torn from supports when cleaning up the garden.
Step 13: Bands As Bike Clips
A pantyhose or sock bands (knotted to fit you if it's too large) work well as soft bike clips. They fit quietly in pockets or can be comfortably worn under pant-legs when not riding. It isn't necessary to take your shoes off to put the bands on, I just wasn't wearing shoes when I took the picture.
Step 14: Unstretched Slices of Leg Can Keep Things Wound Up
If you cut wide strips and don't stretch them to the point of curling, you have a nifty way to keep string, fishing line, parachute cord, yarn etc. from coming unwound. While balls of yarn can't be used while wrapped, anything on a spool can be pulled off without removing the strip.
Step 15: Hang Things From Doorknobs # I
There are two easy ways to do this. The first is a band with a knot in the middle. One side of the now double loop goes around whatever you want to hang and the other goes over the doorknob.
Step 16: Hang Things From Doorknobs # 2
This uses either the toe or a knotted length of leg.
Step 17: Stretchy Super Strong 'yarn' - the Possibilities for This Stuff Are Endless!
Non-run or non-laddered legs are best for this. Snags are OK.
Figure out how thick you want the 'yarn' to by by trying different widths of bands. You will want to cut the strip wider than the band because you will be cutting on a diagonal. Stretch what you've cut. This is incredible stuff!
This 'yarn' can be knit or crocheted into amazingly strong stuff. It can be used as mild elastic to keep a sweater neckline from being baggy. It can be braided into a stretchy cord. (key bracelet?)
Step 18: Defeat Chaos in Your Duffel!
Because they have virtually no bulk or weight, leg sections and 'bodies' can organize travel bags.
I finally tried this when packing to live out of a duffel at a five day workshop/camp. I'll never pack without legs and bodies again! Pants, shirts, etc fit at least partially into bodies. Socks, underwear, or other small items fit into legs. No new wrinkles get added (once stuffed, things tend not to move), and everything is easy to find - even at day four. Add a laundry bag for dirty clothes, and you're set to go.
Step 19: Ladder Socks
Removable, washable booties for you ladders... that don't fall off. Useful when the ladder needs to be in the bathtub, or anywhere else you want to keep clean and unscratched. (Because they can slide on smooth surfaces, be careful to keep your weight OVER the ladder... Don't over reach.)
Step 20: Instant Knee Pads in a Pinch
'instant' kneepads: part of a leg with an opened piece of pipe insulation (or cut garden kneeling pad) tucked inside.
Step 21: Tame the Thermometer Probe Lead
Pop a toe over coiled probe lead to simplify storage in a drawer (with other stuff that could tangle with it).
Step 22: Ribbing for Cuffs
Sock tops make great ribbing for cuffs when sleeve lengths need to be altered...or when old ribbing wears out. I saw this years ago in a book called Kid Kutz.
Step 23: Breathable, Washable Wrist Gaiters for the Garden.
Keep dislodged bugs from falling into your sleeves when picking overhead fruit, and keep surprised predators outside your clothes when reaching into weeds. Put sock tops over your gloves and pull the 'heel' edges over your sleeves. The top edge of the sock works best at the wrist. Try to pull the 'heel' edge up over the sleeve vent . If sliding over gloves is difficult, you can put your hand in the sock top and then peel the 'heel' end over it (turning the sock inside out in the process).
Step 24: Greenhouse Rescue
Prop up floppy plants in 'rose pots' by putting chopsticks in the corners and sliding 'super bands' (cut from pantyhose) up from the bottom. Being less springy than rubber bands, they don't rip the skewers out of the pots.
Step 25: Keep Rolls of Paper or Fabric Tidy
Slip a closed section of leg onto either end of the roll. This also keeps critters from making homes inside the roll.
Step 26: Keep Change Sorted Until You Have Coin Rolls
Socks and pantyhose are strong enough to keep change sorted when you've run out of coin sleeves... so you don't have to sort it all again when you get the paper sleeves.