Over 40 New Uses for Aluminum Foil | Reader's Digest

Over 40 New Uses for Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil does more than wrap-up food -- check out its many uses!

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Make a funnel
Can’t find a funnel? Double up a length of heavy-duty aluminum foil and roll it into the shape of a cone. This impromptu funnel has an advantage over a permanent funnel — you can bend the aluminum foil to reach awkward holes, like the oil filler hole tucked against the engine of your lawn tractor.

Re-attach a vinyl floor tile
Don’t become unglued just because a vinyl floor tile does. Simply reposition the tile on the floor, lay a piece of aluminum foil over it, and run a hot clothes iron over it a few times until you can feel the glue melting underneath. Put a pile of books or bricks on top of the tile to weight it down while the glue resets. This technique also works well to smooth out bulges and straighten curled seams in sheet vinyl flooring.

Make an artist’s palette
Tear off a length of heavy-duty aluminum foil, crimp up the edges, and you’ve got a ready-to-use palette for mixing paints. If you want to get a little fancier, cut a piece of cardboard into the shape of a palette, complete with thumb hole, and cover it with foil. Or if you already have a wooden palette, cover it with foil before each use and then just strip off the foil instead of cleaning the palette.

Prevent paint from skinning over
When you open a half-used can of paint, you’ll typically find a skin of dried paint on the surface. Not only is this annoying to remove, but dried bits can wind up in the paint. You can prevent this by using a two-pronged attack when you close a used paint can: First, put a piece of aluminum foil under the can and trace around it. Cut out the circle and drop the aluminum foil disk onto the paint surface. Then take a deep breath, blow into the can, and quickly put the top in place. The carbon dioxide in your breath replaces some of the oxygen in the can, and helps keep the paint from drying.

Line roller pans
Cleaning out paint roller pans is a pain, which is why a lot of folks buy disposable plastic pans or liners. But lining a metal roller pan with aluminum foil works just as well — and can be a lot cheaper.

Keep paint off doorknobs
When you’re painting a door, aluminum foil is great for wrapping doorknobs to keep paint off them. Overlap the foil onto the door when you wrap the knob, then run a sharp utility knife around the base of the knob to trim the foil. That way you can paint right up to the edge of the knob. In addition to wrapping knobs on the doors that you’ll paint, wrap all the doorknobs that are along the route to where you will clean your hands and brushes.

Keep a paintbrush wet
Going to continue painting tomorrow morning? Don’t bother to clean the brush — just squeeze out the excess paint and wrap the brush tightly in aluminum foil (or plastic wrap). Use a rubber band to hold the foil tightly at the base of the handle. For extended wet-brush storage, think paintbrush Popsicle, and toss the wrapped brush in the freezer. But don’t forget to defrost the brush for an hour or so before you paint.

Reflect light for photography
Professional photographers use reflectors to throw extra light on dark areas of their subject and to even out the overall lighting. To make a reflector, lightly coat a piece of mat board or heavy cardboard with rubber cement and cover it with aluminum foil, shiny side out. You can make one single reflector, as large as you want, but it’s better to make three panels and join them together with duct tape so that they stand up by them-selves and fold up for handy storage and carrying.

Shine your chrome
For sparkling chrome on your appliances, strollers, golf club shafts, and older car bumpers, crumple up a handful of aluminum foil with the shiny side out and apply some elbow grease. If you rub real hard, the foil will even remove rust spots. Note: Most “chrome” on new cars is actually plastic — don’t rub it with aluminum foil.