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11 Totally Unexpected Ways to Use Bubble Wrap

It's not just for popping and cushioning packages. Consider the glorious versatility of bubble wrap.

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Keep frozen foods cool

Grocery shopping, that is. Particularly in summer, keep some bubble wrap in the trunk of your car so you can wrap up frozen foods to keep them from thawing out on the trip home. Even ice cream stays firm with an insulating layer of bubbles around it. Here are healthy frozen meals that can help you lose weight.

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Prevent wrinkled pants

Keep unwanted creases from imprinting themselves on the slacks you hang in your closet by wrapping the hangers in bubble wrap. Roll a layer of bubble wrap around the hanger bar, making sure that the smooth side of the wrap faces the pants and the bubbles face the bar. Keep the wrap in place with duct tape.

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Let kids go crazy

Young kids like nothing better than to move and shake and make lots of noise. Fulfill all their wishes: Hold a dance party on bubble wrap. Tape several sheets of bubble wrap together until you form a large square or rectangle, and make sure that the bubbles face up (so that the dancers will pop them as they boogie). You may want to duct tape the dance floor to your floor so that it doesn’t move with the dancers. Freeze dancing is particularly fun on bubble wrap.

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Help shoes last longer

Place a small piece of rolled-up bubble wrap in each of your shoes to help them maintain their shape. Roll up longer pieces to keep the calves of your boots standing upright—and to keep their shape. Here are more smart tricks to make shoes last longer.

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Prevent pain in long car rides

Your car seat may be comfortable for short trips, but what about long ones? Make it dreamy by covering the seat and the back in a double layer of bubble wrap (with the bubbles facing out). The bubble wrap will support your body and provide a comfy ride over the long haul. Here are surprising tricks to keep your car organized.

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Take it camping

Take a six-foot piece of bubble wrap with you the next time you go camping. Place it under your sleeping bag before you retire for the night. The bubble wrap will provide a cushion for your body and act as a tarp to keep your sleeping bag dry.

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Support young trees

Whether you mow your lawn or your lawn service mows for you, you’ll want to protect small, fragile trees and tree seedlings. How? Wrap bubble wrap around their thin trunks. Keep the bubble wrap in place with masking tape. You can easily remove the bubble wrap when the lawn is done.

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Keep your doghouse cozy

Bubble wrap is a safe, non-toxic option for insulating a doghouse to keep your pooch toasty in winter. And, unlike with fiberglass, if your pet gnaws at it, he’ll merely get a surprise if a bubble pops!

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Prepare for a picnic

Heading out for a picnic? Wrap items you want to stay cold—cans of soft drinks, egg salad sandwiches, popsicles, and so on—in bubble wrap. Your picnic will be much more appetizing when you arrive at your destination.

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Keep tools in good condition

Protect your tools from each other and from the toolbox by lining the toolbox with bubble wrap. Hold the wrap in place with duct tape. The cushioning will help your tools last longer.

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Rest easy

Pillows and camping don’t mix, unless you make a pillow out of bubble wrap. Simply fold the bubble wrap a few times and place it inside a pillowcase. The bubble wrap won’t get dirty and will provide a gentle cushion for your head.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest