16 Clever Uses for Rubber Bands

loose pile of brightly colored rubber bands

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

Whether you call it a binder, elastic, lackey band, laggy band, lacka band or gumband, all we can say is blessed be the rubber band.

We have Stephen Perry to thank for the ubiquitous rubber latex loops – in 1845, Perry patented the use of india rubber for use as springs in bands, belts, et cetera, and also the design for elastic bands by slicing sizes of vulcanized india rubber tube. Perry invented the rubber band to hold papers and envelopes together, but its uses have multiplied into untold applications.

Which is good, because most of us have rubber bands coming out of our ears. They sneak their way into our homes via bundles of mail and the newspaper, bunches of produce and cut flowers. And then they seem to multiply, like rabbits, in the junk drawer.

So what to use them for? They're not as sleek a hack as binder clips, and they don't have the same repair integrity as duct tape, but they are the perfect in-a-pinch solution to many problems: Think: Providing the simplest means for an easy fix that might otherwise deem an item unusable.

Aside from that, they are genius for storage and organizing, they can be a wonderfully irreverent craft material, and they're just a good all-around little helper. There are as many ways to use a rubber band as your mind will conceive, but here are 18 right off the bat.

1. Prevent a Sliced Apple from Browning

sliced apple held with yellow rubber band

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

2. Make a Makeshift Tripod

3. Turn Regular Jeans into Maternity Pants

stretching out jeans waistband with yellow rubber band

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

4. Wrap Around a Hose to Seal Small Leaks

5. Create a Gripper to Conquer Stuck Lids

using rubber band as gripper to open jar of jam

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

6. Keep Books Closed in Your Bag

keep journals closed in your bag with a rubber band

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

7. Tame the Wily Measuring Tape

old measuring tape held together with rubber band

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

8. Craft a Statement Necklace

brightly colored rubber band jewelry


Mohamad Rifauzi / EyeEm / Getty Images

See how to make a rubber band chain necklace here, and for more inspiration look at these incredible creations.

9. Keep Ribbons from Unspooling

rolls of ribbon held together with red rubber bands

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

10. Tie-Dye Easter Eggs

For rubber band egg dying, see this step-by-step tutorial.

11. Keep Bags and Packages Sealed

hands seal bag of puffs with rubber band

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

12. Portion Control Pump Products (Especially Good for Kids who Can't Get Enough)

13. Hang Fliers Without Tape or Adhesives

Rubber bands

Eric Fischer / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

14. Make a Rubber Band Ball (That Can Double as an Eraser)

yellow and blue rubber band ball on white background

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

See the how-to (with video).

15. Force a Long-Exposure on a Vintage Camera

16. Keep Track of Treasures

Rubber bands around vintage postcards
 Marion de Man / Getty Images