How To's & Quick Tips

5 Things to Do with… Chopsticks

Every single drawer in your apartment is overflowing with chopsticks. Sure, you could toss a few pair in the trash. But not many things in life are free; why waste one of those rarities? If only chopsticks could be used for a purpose other than lifting lo mein… .

Good news! You can repurpose chopsticks in a number of ways. Here are five favorites:


Summertime, when the livin' is-SNEEZE-just great. We all know that dust builds up within our oscillating fans and AC vents a little too quickly for comfort. No sweat: Use a rubber band to secure a paper towel around the tip of a chopstick, then soak the towel in cleaning solution. Now wipe away those dusty areas and restore your cooling apparatuses to factory-condition cleanliness.


Have your morning showers turned into standing baths? Mammalian sheddings might have finally gotten the best of your tub's drain. You could wait three weeks for the landlord to show up with a snake, or you could just grab a chopstick. Gently scrape it along the sides of the drain. Lift out the gunk and discard. Repeat two or three times. (This method is equally effective in sinks.) Note: Be gentle. Your pipes may be old and brittle, and one hard poke could pierce a hole.


Symbols of Asian culture in their own right, chopsticks enable you to quickly and easily start practicing the Zen-like art of knitting. Only a slight adjustment is needed to make them suitable as knitting needles. This is all it takes :


1. With a serrated knife, carefully saw off the top inch of one chopstick at a 45-degree angle.

2. Smooth over the rough edge with a piece of sandpaper.


Whether spreading the word about a new tech startup or galvanizing the world to protect animal rights, mini flags made from chopsticks are excellent promotional materials. Stake one in a planter located somewhere public, or hand out a hundred on the street. Here's one approach:


1. Customize your flag using graphic design software. (I recommend GIMPShop, since it's free and easy to use.)

2. Print your work, then cut out the image in the shape of a flag or pennant.

3. Place hot, crazy, or super glue around the top inch of one chopstick. Roll the edge of the flag around it.

4. Apply pressure as the glue dries.


Your guests are sure to be impressed by these nifty coasters made from-you guessed it-chopsticks. The possibilities are endless, as you can craft various shapes and designs by customizing the length of each individual chopstick. Below are some simple instructions for a basic square coaster to get you started:


1. Cut off the top and bottom two inches of ten chopsticks.

2. One by one, glue each chopstick together with hot, crazy, or super glue. Be sure let each pair dry before attaching the next one.

See? Easy as pie. Speaking of which, go grab a slice with some coffee to test out your brand-new creation.

For more on repurposing, consider:

5 Things to Do with… Bottle Caps
13 Easy Ways to Repurpose Old Armoires
Get Organized: 20 Ideas for Repurposed Storage