How can I reuse plastic pens? Over my 62 years the reuse of most anything has come pretty easy to me with just a little thought, and the expectations that it only has to work for me. But plastic pens have been "the challenge" of course, along with disposable razors.
I solve the razor problem with the long term use and care of a rechargeable electric razor. Plastic barrel pens are everywhere. Yes, I own a refillable pen. But still those plastic critters continue to sneak into my house. I have tried crafting with them. I even made a sort of a small detail paint brush out of one, along with building a tree. I use several for Christmas tree ornaments. I tried to make a fishing lure once, a seed plater, stakes for house plants, and darts for a dart board.
You could try making pan flutes. I've never done this but it's a thought. Finger over the top will let you transport small amounts of liquid. Cut them up and make beads for kids to use crafting. Pea shooter? Stockade fence in a Lego village. Easy carry handle for cord - thread cord through then tie cord to object being carried.
Here's a few ideas:
1) Outdoor plant hangers: How about taking the old ball-point ink cartridges out so these plastic pens are hollow & using them as beads. I think you could run 18 gauge (brass or galvanized) wire through them to make outdoor plant hangers. Just string them on as you would any beads. Use 3 strands of longer "beads" on the top & 3 strands of smaller "beads" under the plant's pot to hold it up.
2) Twirly Stars: I make all kinds of 3-D stars out of cut-up colorful straws with my granddaughter We simply run dental floss through them after cutting them to size. I think these hollow plastic pens are just heavy duty straws, so you could use them to make "stars" too. The pens could even be painted with that new spray-paint made especially to stick to plastic!
3) Beads: Have someone use a band saw to cut a handful of them into inch sized pieces to use for sturdy beads for projects.
4) "Bones" for fabric dolls: Sometimes it's hard to find sturdy scaffolding or skeleton material for fabric dolls. I think you could attach a fimo head to these pens (after they are cut to size) then run an 18 gauge wire through the center of them & use this to either stuff your doll with or to wrap your fabric around & when the doll is finished the joints could even bend too!
* I know you can bend old vinyl records by simply heating them at 200 for 1 or 2 minutes in the oven, I bet you could carefully bend these empty plastic pens too, but use care & don't burn yourself (or your house down)!
5) Plastic "bamboo": Use the pens like they are Bamboo & make place-mats out of them (using dental floss & spray paint) or better yet, thread the dental floss through the empty cartridges in & out through them (like they are big long beads) & make a cuter cover for your house plants pots.
6) Log Cabin for Dolls: Use wire &/or glue to make a "log cabin" for Polly-Pocket dolls (Polly Pocket dolls are tiny dolls that are all the rage for young kids these days).
7) Litter Box Help: Wire or string hollow pens together to make a ramp or "rug" for kitty to walk on when leaving cat box so litter isn't tracked around house.
8) Hold Up New Plan Starts: Poke a hollow pen tube into your newly started plant to help it stay upright.
9) Hold Plastic Off of Plants: Use pen tubes to hold plastic off of new seedlings to form a "mini-greenhouse".
10) Ribbon Holder: String wire through pen & put pen through the spool of ribbon.
11) Knitting: I know it sounds crazy, but I've always thought if all the ink was gone from the pens that you could possibly clean the ball-points with alcohol or fingernail polish remover, then when they're totally clean you could use them as knitting needles. You could even add on another pointy end & make double-sided knitting needles or even use them as stitch holders.
12) Loop Turners: If your sew, you've maybe seen those fancy tubes they use to turn something inside-out (in place of a safety pin) I think they are called "Loop Turners". I'm wondering if you could make them out of hollow ball-point pens & wire?
Well, you surely have me beat! I buy pens that are reusable, that have fillers, but yes, those 'others' do sneak into the house. Unfortunately, this issue of Thrifty Fun came too late as I tossed probably 100 of the darn things out.
What I would have done, would be to take a Styrofoam ball, maybe 4 inch, and dip the non-point end into tacky glue and shove it into the ball. When the entire thing is covered with spikes, spray paint it, toss glitter on it, and hang it as a sputnik type 'ornament' for Christmas.
The insert that holds the ink. Those I am saving and cutting up to use as clear beads.
Man, REALLY wished I'd not tossed those.
On reevaluating the plastic pen body itself. I can see unique earrings, neckleces, pins, bracelets and even money clips being fashioned. Let's face it these plastics come in every colour (that is a big plus). The key is how to cut them. Some kind of saw blade? Perhaps melting and reshaping I just had another thought, creating buttons out of plastic pen barrels.
Amazing isn't it when we tune ourselves into possibilities, instead of just tossing items into trash cans. That plastic trash can itself could in reality be fashion out of plastic pens melted and molded.
Yes we are talking about some toxics fumes, energy spent, in remanufacturing, but if we do it on let's say just one of a kind scale. We as a whole could stop countless landfills being filled up.
Yes, those plastic pens take up space in those dumps, and they might still be there in a thousands of years.
You know our ancestors must be rolling over in their graves. The way we waste stuff. Reuse was always their key to having a better life.
Thank you All Again For All Your Ideas
I've used them as funnels to fill miniature bottles that I put root cuttings in to sell. Works Great!
My kitten LOVES to chase pens more than she likes the toys I have bought for her! You could probably decorate the pens and give them as gifts to your friends with young cats--or fill them with catnip!
I use my old empty pens as hair pins to hold a hair bun. It works great too! You can always decorate them and make them look pretty. Peace!
If you take the pen apart, you could use the barrel as a stem supporter for cut flowers. However, this only would work if the top and the bottom of the pen can be removed. Sorry, that's all I can think of!
Thank you, for all your very good ideas for the reuse of plastic pens.
I would bet there are plenty more out there. Don't be shy if the idea works for you ,then it is a good one. I wonder if it would be possible to make a basket just out od plastic pens?
Someone out there like to try? Perhaps glueless using some kind of strong thread and needle, and wrapping them the opposite way with small strips of tighten cloth. Hey how about one of you trying it?
I have only a few plastic pens left in my house. I made a small base of a basket and started fashioning a crude handle. Reuse what a beautiful word.
check out www.instructables.com I've found some excellent ideas for recycling there.
Remove the ink tube and pen point, wash and use as coffee/drink stirs?
1. Empty the barrels so they are open on both ends; use yarn or thread to weave them into a small trinket box. Alternatively, build with them in the way "craft sticks" (popsicle sticks) are used.
2. Have you ever heard of "Straw Weaving"? It's a modern take on a very old technique, and can be used to make belts, bracelets, or, with some sewing, a hat or scarf. If you drill fitted holes into a wider base you can create your own "peg loom" to make bigger items such as rugs or small tapestries. Note that for either of these uses you would be using the empty barrels, as above.
3. You could try to flatten the barrels out (with a hammer perhaps) and that may present a new set of options as well.
They are more expensive than the cheap Bics, but if you're really interested:
There is a pen called B2P (Bottle To Pen). It is made out of recycled water bottles. When the pen runs out, you refill with Pilot G2 refills. Pilot G2s are nice, dark, black or blue gel pens with smooth writing.
You can get bolder or less bold refills.
It's something to consider if you want to switch over to using these pens.
I am a loom knitter. Many of us use the empty pen barrels as a tool for maientaining the proper tension on the yarn when wrapping the pegs on the loom. If no-one else in your household loom knits, perhaps you can decorate the barrels, add a comfy pencil group, and give them to any loom knitters you might know.
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