It’s that time of year! The time when our houses are bursting with plastic packing materials that we don’t know what to do with. It seems wasteful to throw it all away after one use just to let it sit in a landfill for centuries. After all, it once protected the gifts that we’re about to give to children (along with a plastic-filled and polluted Earth).
While bubble wrap is a perennial favorite packaging material (as well as cheap toy/distraction device and even stress reducer) there’s no need to ball it up and stick it in the trash after you unwrap the goods. In fact, if you can keep yourself from popping it, there are quite a few ways to reuse it.
Click through to see 50 alternatives to ditching your bubble wrap after just one use.
1. Shield your windshield
When the temperature drops and things get frosty or snowy and you’re parked outside, keep some bubble wrap handy to cover your windshield at night. Just slip it under your windshield wipers to keep it in place.
The bubble wrap will keep frost from forming and all you have to do in the morning is roll it off to remove it along with any snow that’s piled up on your car.
That’s one less morning task you have to dread!
2. Insulate your windows
If it’s not cost-effective to replace your windows with more energy-efficient ones and window plastic is simply an extra expense and more plastic waste in your home, try reusing your bubble wrap for the job.
In fact, all you need to do to install it – according to this guide – is to spray your windows with water, put the bubble side towards the glass, and let it keep out the cold.
When it’s time to remove it in Spring, you won’t have to worry about any leftover residue and you can reuse it year after year by rolling it up and storing it in a place where it won’t get popped.
3. Get a better grip on garden tools
In fact, if you don’t tape it directly to your rake or shovel, you can remove it and reuse it on all of your garden implements.
Bonus: it also helps prevent hand blisters!
4. Line your greenhouse
You may even get to skip the supplemental heater, depending on the type of greenhouse you have.
5. Plant protector
The wrap will protect the plant or its flowers if it falls over as well as protect your car from dirt, pollen, petals, or leaves that come off during transport.
6. Protect your walls
While you might not see it as decor, per se, you can certainly count on it to protect your walls.
Try putting it on walls or door handles to prevent dents from doors that slam open.
7. Handbag shaper
If you have a handbag that you’re storing (even just for a few days) that needs to retain its shape, try stuffing it with bubble wrap while it’s in the closet. That way it won’t collapse in on itself and it will also be easier to store standing up.
8. Protect your shoes
But did you know you can also use bubble wrap in the rain and snow to wrap your non-waterproof boots?
Yep, it looks silly, but would you rather have to scrub the sidewalk salt out of that suede? Simply slip them on and off when going in and out of your home, work, stores, or car.
9. Protect your knees
Bubble wrap can serve as a great buffer for your aching knees while gardening, cleaning the floor, or fixing things that require you to be down on the cold, hard ground.
You might not get a lot of use out of it after that, but at least you repurposed that plastic before it hit the trash can!
10. DIY lumbar support
Simply take some bubble wrap to create a lumbar pillow for the back of your chair or even stuff it inside to replace that old, depleted stuffing.
11. Keep food from bruising or breaking
Keep your produce in place by lining shelves and drawers with bubble wrap.
That will keep things from bruising or being in otherwise less-than-pristine condition when you go to eat them.
Also, forget scrubbing the drawer. Just peel the bubblewrap up and replace.
12. Keep your boots at attention
Simply roll up any extra bubble wrap and slide it in to keep them standing upright, avoiding wrinkles in your leather and saving space in the process.
13. Create a jewelry travel case
You can opt for a pricey jewelry roll, but bubble wrap works just as well.
Just be sure to space your necklaces and other jewels a few inches apart and roll tightly to keep them from slipping and sliding around.
14. Pack light and smart
Make sure you pack some bubble wrap to keep liquids in place and leak-proof in your suitcase!
15. Protect your privacy
You don’t even need to affix it to windows – you can just hang it as a sheer(ish) curtain across any glass that requires even temporary privacy.
16. Partition your space
It can be especially helpful in situations where there’s only one window and a full curtain would block too much light.
17. Craft a bubble calendar
Start your morning off with a pop by creating your own bubble calendar.
You can also create chore calendars for kids who get to pop their bubble when they accomplish one of their tasks for the day.
Easy and satisfying!
18. Keep pets warm
The bubble wrap will help keep things cushy as well so your pet doesn’t have to lay on the cold, hard ground or floor.
This is obviously a better solution for small dogs than big ones who might get scared when they hop on a bed and hear all those pops!
19. Scare potential intruders
The popping sound it makes when they step on it is sure to make them think twice about moving forward.
Of course, you’ll only want to do this when you leave town so you don’t smash all those bubbles on your own way in and out of the house.
20. Keep pests out of your garden
A sheet of bubble wrap will also help protect plants against cold snaps.
21. Decorate a cake
Create stylized grooved on the side or top of your cake by pressing bubble wrap into the frosting when it’s cold (so it doesn’t stick).
Just be careful to clean the bubble wrap if you’re repurposing it!
22. Curl your hair
Over 1 million people have watched Paula Stephânia do it successfully on YouTube to create perfect curls on damp hair.
23. Insulate drinks
Not only will it protect your hands but it will help insulate your beverage too, keeping it cool or hot.
24. Avoid hanger folds in clothes
It’ll take up a bit more space in your closet, but reduce your ironing.
25. Insulate your grocery bags
Try lining your reusable shopping bags with bubble wrap to keep the cold in.
26. Create outdoor decor
We love these bubble wrap Christmas trees. The bubble wrap gives them a lacy effect and you don’t have to worry about them getting ruined when the weather outside is frightful.
27. Get crafty with bubble stamps
A little paint and a piece of paper to decorate will keep little ones entertained for at least a little while as they stamp and decorate to their heart’s content.
28. Bubble wrap run
Try creating a bubble wrap run for them to play with and see who can pop the most bubbles with their feet first?
It’s not the quietest activity, but it sure is fun!
29. Relieve stress
This creative craft is a great gift for the stressed-out person in your life!
30. Use it as a learning tool
They’ll be eager to learn/play with their new tool!
31. Bubble wrap checklist
Next time you have a scrap of bubble wrap lying around, why not repurpose it to feel more productive?
32. Create floating flowers
It’s easy, only requires a small scrap of leftover bubble wrap, and will have your friends asking just how you created something so lovely and unique.
33. Wrap it up
It’s time to think outside the box by reusing your bubble wrap as wrapping paper.
34. Wrap yourself in bubbles
Our creative clothing endeavors might end at a bubble wrap rain poncho, but some people really know how to go the extra mile!
At the very least, this might give you some Halloween inspiration.
35. Make a bubble bag
We love this idea for a light and easy shopping bag made from repurposed bubble wrap.
You can find the instructions here.
36. Make jello bites
Kids are bound to wolf down these tiny treats!
Take a look here for the video instructions.
37. Decorate Easter eggs
As a bonus, you can use whatever toxin-free substance you want instead of smelly vinegar and artificial dyes.
For instructions on how to stamp your Easter eggs, go to One Mom and a Blog.
38. Stop your toilet from sweating
Wrapping your toilet tank with bubble wrap helps keeps condensation at bay.
According to Grandma’s Home Remedies:
“To prevent condensation on your toilet tank, line the inside of the tank with bubble wrap to keep the outside of the tank from getting cold – which is the reason condensation forms under warm, humid conditions. To line the tank, simply shut off the supply valve under the tank and flush to drain the tank. Next, wipe the inside walls until they are clean and dry. With silicone sealant, glue pieces of bubble wrap to the large flat surfaces.”
39. De-stress your steering wheel
Those little pops will keep you from popping off at that car that cuts you off.
40. Stuff a scarecrow
Next time you set up a scarecrow in your yard (either as decor or, you know, to actually scare crows) try stuffing it with bubble wrap instead of hay or newspaper that will get wet and moldy in the harsh weather.
41. Protect your furniture
Placing a sheet of it across cushions will also help keep dust and fur at bay (in case they do jump up).