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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

8 Handy Ways You Can Use Popsicle Sticks to Solve Your Problems

Tongue depressors, craft sticks, little wooden thingies: Whatever you want to call them, Popsicle sticks are great for more than just doctors' offices and frozen treats.

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Robert Ingelhart/iStock

Use for finger paint

Most kids adore the mess they get to make with finger paints, but more than a few actually don’t like sticking their fingers in the cold wet stuff. There’s no need for them to miss out on the fun. Give your picky young one a handful of Popsicle sticks and let him paint with them to his heart’s content.

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Label the garden

Seed packages on a stick look charming, but by the time the seedlings are coming up, the packages have faded and blown away. Avoid the confusion by writing the name of each plant in permanent marker on a craft stick and stake it in the ground at the end of the row.

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Keep track of your house paints

By the time you need to make a spot repair on the living room wall color, that paint color’s name may be a distant memory. So when you finish a paint job, dip a Popsicle stick into the color and when it dries, use a permanent marker to write the color name and the room where it was used. Keep the paint sticks in a safe place on your workbench.

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Make a temporary splint

Suspect a broken finger? You’ll need to go to the emergency room to be sure. But until you get there and treated, you can keep the injured digit stable by laying it against a craft stick and wrapping it with gauze.

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Steady a shaky bookshelf

Is that bookshelf rocking a little unsteadily? No need to go to the hardware store for shims. Just use one of these.

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Make skewers for kids

Got a picky toddler? (Who doesn’t?) Make food fun by skewering healthy bites on an easily grabbed Popsicle stick. Pieces of chicken breast, chunks of fruittt—with food on a stick, every meal becomes a game.

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Pack an impromptu spoon

Out of plastic spoons? Grab a Popsicle stick and toss it in the lunchbox as a handy utensil for eating creamy foods like yogurt or pudding.

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Robert Ingelhart/iStock

Give a kid his own “knife”

Little ones always want to do what the grownups are doing, but you’re still not comfortable letting her use a dinner knife. Instead, let kids spread their own jelly or peanut butter with a craft stick. It does the same job as a metal knife and you can throw it away when they’re done.

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More Cheap and Useful Solutions

The new book 99-Cent Solutions has more than 1,300 smart uses for everyday items, from grocery store staples to cleaning supplies to beauty products. Learn more and buy the book here.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest