post written by: Marc Chernoff

40 Practical Tricks for an Ordinary Rubber Band


Cool Tricks for the Rubber BandMy father always carries a couple rubber bands with him wherever he goes.  You can find them in his car, wrapped around pages in his planner, or simply hanging around his wrist.  Recently, I asked him why he always seems to have a rubber band at his disposal.  He said, “They’re damn practical, that’s why!”

This got me to thinking… What are some interesting, practical applications for the ordinary rubber band?  I got a few tips from my father, wandered around my house on a rubber band experimentation mission for an hour, and did a little research online.

Here’s the full bag of tricks:

  1. Keep Food Fresh – Simply wrap a rubber band around a bag of chips, salad, or baking flour to seal in the freshness.Rubber Band Lunch
  2. Act as a Reminder – Wrap a rubber band around a specific page in your planner (and also around the front cover to prevent bending) or around your wrist as a reminder to get something done.
  3. Rubber Padding – Wrap a couple rubber bands around a TV remote or ash tray to prevent it from sliding and scratching the table’s surface.
  4. Hold Various Objects Together – …like pencils or index cards.  This one is obvious.
  5. A Bookmark – Wrap a rubber band around the front cover and through the middle of the book to whatever page you finished on.  Next time you pick up the book the first page that isn’t rubber-banded will be the page you left off on.
  6. A Hair Tie – Perhaps you could make a ponytail.Rubber Band Hair Tie
  7. A Paper or Poster Scroll – Roll it up and put a rubber band around it.  It’s ready for storage.
  8. A Safety Strap for Eye Glasses – Break a rubber band in half and tie each end to the part of the glasses frame that sits over your ears.  You can secure the glasses to your face if you make the rubber band short enough.
  9. Finger Exercises – Bunch all your fingers together and place them through the center of a rubber band.  Spread your fingers out and let them contract.  Or, wrap a rubber band from your index finger to your pinky and move your index finger away from the other fingers.  Repeat this process for the other fingers.Rubber Band Finger Exercises
  10. A Handle Grip – Wrap several rubber bands around the end of a pole or stick to create a handy grip.
  11. Secure a Lid onto a Container – If you don’t want the contents to spill, put a rubber band around it.
  12. Quick Tagging – Are these batteries at the bottom of my bag charged or uncharged?  Tag your batteries with rubber bands so you never have to guess.  You can differentiate between various groups of objects by tagging each group with a certain color rubber band, or a specific number of visible rubber bands.
  13. Stress-Relieving Rubber Band Ball – If made soft enough, a rubber band ball can make for a perfect stress relieving squeeze toy.  It helps out when you’re in a fidgety mood.
  14. Mark the Level of Liquid Remaining in a Solid Color Container – Take a paint can for instance… before you pound the top back on, wrap a rubber band around the outside of the can at the same level as the paint remaining in the can.  Next time you need it you’ll know exactly how much you have left in a single glance.Stress Relieving Rubber Band Ball
  15. Slingshot / Catapult – Every kid’s favorite thing to do with a rubber band, but if you think hard enough, I bet there are some practical uses for making one of these.
  16. Simple Art – Take a pegboard and stretch different color rubber bands in various shapes until every peg has been used at least once.  Fun, creative and simple.
  17. Strap an Injured Finger – Use a rubber band to strap an injured finger to a firm stick or piece of cardboard until it can be properly casted.
  18. Melt and Use as an Adhesive – It’s not glue, but a melted rubber band does make a darn good adhesive.
  19. A Distraction – Pull the famous rubber band gun trick and shoot a rubber band across the room.  Try to hit something that makes a sound, or just catch your victim’s attention.  As soon as they look the other way, make your move.Rubber Band Tie Dye
  20. Tie-Dye – The style may have died in the seventies, but who really cares… a DIY tie-dye project can be a blast.  If you have kids, it’s a cheap, creative way to entertain.
  21. Prevent the Mixing Spoon from Sliding into the Bowl – Wrap a rubber band around the upper part of the spoon’s handle just above the point at which the spoon touches the rim of the bowl.  Now the spoon can’t slip and slide in.
  22. Insulate Electrical Current – Rubber bands can act as insulators for low wattage electrical current.  Wrap a rubber band around an exposed region of a wire (before the wire is live).
  23. Design Fancy Easter Eggs – Wrap several rubber bands in different directions around the eggs before dunking them in the Easter egg dye.  This will create interesting designs on the dyed eggs.
  24. A Pencil Eraser – Fold a rubber band in half a few times and use it to erase pencil markings.  It works surprisingly well.Rubber Band Easter Egg
  25. Keep those Files IN the Manila Folder – Manila folders are a great tool for filing papers until you accidently drop a one.  Since a manila folder is nothing more than a sleeve, the files will spill out everywhere.  A rubber band can fix that problem in jiffy.
  26. Kitty-proof or Puppy-proof Your Toilet Paper – Kitties and Puppies love to shred things.  Toilet paper is one of their top 10 favorites.  Wrap a rubber band around the roll of toilet paper to avoid the dangling temptation.
  27. Grip that Jar Lid – Place a thick rubber band around the rim of a jar lid and use it to grip the lid while you twist it off.
  28. Limit Soap Dispenser Output – Put a rubber band around the neck of pump-style soap dispensers to limit the amount of soap dispensed per pump.Rubber Band Soap Dispenser Limit
  29. A Car Visor Receipt Holder – Wrap a few rubber bands around your car’s driver-side sun visor.  Conveniently slip all your miscellaneous receipts, parking stubs, etc. under the rubber bands until you have time to sort them out.
  30. Keep Wires or Yarn Untangled – Wrap a rubber band around it before the mess gets out of control.
  31. Toddler-proof the Cabinets – Stretch a few rubber bands tightly between the left and right cabinet knobs to lock them in place.
  32. Rubber Band Motor – Create Kinetic energy with a rubber band.  I’ll let PBS explain this one: The Rubber Band Motor
  33. Draw a Straight Line – Stretch a rubber band out and trace that perfectly straight line.
  34. Paint Brush Wiper – Stretch a rubber band around an open paint can from top to bottom so it crosses over the opening just above the paint.  Wipe the excess paint off on the rubber band instead of getting the side of the can all messy.Break-in a Baseball Glove with a Rubber Band
  35. Break-in a Baseball Glove – A brand new baseball glove is stiff.  First, it must be broken-in to be an effective tool for catching balls.  Bend the leather, beat on it with a rubber mallet, apply shaving cream all over the glove, put a ball in it and wrap a rubber band around the whole glove.  Let it stand for awhile to mold the shape of the ball.  Repeat every few days as necessary.
  36. Keep a Sliced Apple Fresh – This one may seem bizarre, but I tried it and it works fairly well.  Slice and apple into wedges.  Then place all the wedges back together and wrap a clean rubber band around them so the apple looks whole again.  It will keep the apple wedges from browning about 50% longer than just tossing the wedges in a standard sandwich bag.
  37.  Cure an Overbite – When stretched between opposite ends of the upper and lower jaw over a period of time, the force of a rubber band can correct a minor overbite.  Orthodontists typically employ this method in conjunction with braces.Simple Rubber Band Wallet
  38. A Wallet Replacement – Is you wallet always bulging out of your pants pocket?  Get rid of it.  Instead, wrap your cash around your ID and credit card and then wrap a rubber band around the outside of the cash.
  39. Revive an Old Broom – Are the broom’s bristles a bit worn?  Tighten them up.  Wrap a thick rubber bands halfway up the broom’s bristles to hold them in place.
  40. Create Traction Between Two Flat Surfaces – Spread out several rubber bands between two flat surfaces to create traction between them.

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25 Comments

  • Great tricks, #28’s pretty cool, for excessive soap dispensing.

  • I liked the wallet replacement idea. Simple, efficient.

  • Gah! Don’t use rubber bands in your hair for ponytails — it’ll break and tear out hairs when you take it out.

    As a knitter, I also wouldn’t let a rubber band anywhere near my yarn stash. High quality natural fibers can be just as delicate as human hair.

    I actually prefer no-breakage hair elastics to rubber bands for a lot of these usages, especially where the grippy-ness of a rubber band isn’t required. Elastics don’t leave those awful rubbery marks on things when left for a while (another reason not to let rubber bands near my yarn).

  • I wrap one under the “trigger” of compressed air cans to avoid their accidental release while stored in a drawer. They’re also great for holding the little plastic straw to the side of the air (or WD-40) can.

  • Know those “wine charms” to use on drinks at parties? They don’t work very well on glasses that don’t have a stem. When company visits, we’re always using different color rubber bands to assign glasses to drinkers.

  • #41: Place a rubber band around your “fat wallet” (applies to men), and it helps prevent your wallet from being pick-pocketed. The rubber band will grab the fabric of the inside of your hip pocket, and prevent easy removal of your wallet from the pants pocket.

  • […] here is a link to the rubber band post, peruse the blog from there, you won’t be […]

  • pretty handy list. i keep rubber bands on my door knob for when i need them, but i might just start carrying some with me. thanks.

  • @All:
    Thanks for the additional insight and comments.

    @Natural Woman:
    Never leave home without them. ;-)

  • Nice one day I dint bring my earaser to my common entance test an I found out I had a rubber bant that saved me thanks for the great tips

  • stretch it between your pointer + middle finger and use it to fling folded paper at people during class

  • Fold a piece of paper in half again and again and again (in one direction) until you cant fold it any more.

    Fold it in half in the ther direction. this will make this kind of shape… > or <

    Place an elastic band around your thumb and index finger (or whatever is confortable) then hook the paper over it. this will make a quick slingshot!!!!!

  • Don’t forget killing flies. I have the unique ability to kill flies by shooting them with rubber bands. We’re typically a capture and release family, but flies are difficult to catch. But not with a rubber band.

  • in need of rubber band
    May 19th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Funny you should post about this I am actually in need of a large green rubber band ….I have searched all over the internet anyone have any ideas. (specs I need are approx. 5/8″ wide by 22″ )

  • rubberbands are also for entertainment at dinner or at a bar, friends house and more. Its MAGIC!
    Take 2 and inner link them and then appart again with out undoing them! You would need a video to see it,,

    Thanks,
    The Magic Of Michael Minter,
    magicofmm72@optonline.net

  • this is at trish i am sorry but the hair rubber bands are the same thing as a rubber band

  • A skinny rubberband works great as dental floss if you’re at the office and have a piece of beef jerky stuck between your teeth.

  • To go along with the 1st item - Keep Food Fresh - I use rubber bands to tie up bags of frozen vegetables or fruit that I might open but not finish at one time. Keeps them from falling all over the freezer! Doesn’t impact freshness really, but it helps.

    Rubber bands are kind of like duct tape - useful for a ton of things.

  • Indeed Michael, I used to play a bunch of tricks with Rubber Bands. Do you have a link to the video ?

  • wow..this is really useful.thanks for sharing! :D

  • You also use a rubber band to curve the bill of a baseball cap around a baseball. Pretty common stuff but not taken into account, though.

  • These are great tips here, but the one about toddler proofing the cabinet by putting a rubber band around two knobs should be rethought. Some two year olds and even younger children can easily figure out how to get a rubber band off of two knobs as shown in this picture. Mine could figure out even more complicated setups. If they get the band off, there’s a risk that they may put the rubber band in their mouths and choke on it. I know that the writer means well and the other tips are great, but this one tip should be removed just to be on the safe side. There are other products which can be used which avoid this danger. It would be helpful if articles on rubber bands cautioned parents about the dangers of leaving rubber bands where small children can pick them up. Also, young children don’t understand the danger of the band snapping back at them and may be injured if that happens. They could also catch their fingers in the doors if the bands have enough flex to open the doors a bit.

  • Awesome info once again! Thumbs up.

  • Fun Stuff To Learn
    March 2nd, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Great tips. Just learned many methods of shooting a rubber band with my fingers and thought it wass cool so i kept looking for stuff to do with them. I will start to collect them now, thanks.

  • Wrap a number of strong elastic bands around two short slightly overlapping poles so they are too long to fit in a built in wardrobe. Compress them lengthwise and they will wedge in (Do not use on flimsy wardrobes such as plywood). A rubber band under either end grain provides extra grip on glossed doorways for a curtain. No need nails or screws.

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