16 Clever Uses for Rubber Bands

Bunches of scallions on a cutting board

ErikaMitchell / Getty Images

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

Rubber band around apple
Treehugger / Melissa Breyer

2. Make a Makeshift Tripod

camera phone rigged up on pole with rubber bands
Ricardo Mendonça Ferreira / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Turn Regular Jeans into Maternity Pants

Young woman, jeans held together with elastic band, mid section
Jerome Tisne / Getty Images

4. Wrap Around a Hose to Seal Small Leaks

Rubber bands
Just_Ice. / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

5. Create a Gripper to Conquer Stuck Lids

Rubber band on the top of a jam jar
Treehugger / Melissa Breyer

6. Keep Books Closed in Your Bag

Pencil in notebook with rubberband holding it closed
Elodie Giuge / Getty Images

7. Tame the Wily Measuring Tape

Rubber band around measuring tape
Unhindered by Talent / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

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

Rubber bands holding ribbon spools
Treehugger / Melissa Breyer

10. Tie-Dye Easter Eggs

Rubber band patterns on colored eggs
James Britton / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

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

11. Keep Bags and Packages Sealed

Rubber band closing a bag of grain
Treehugger / Melissa Breyer

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

Rubber band on a pump bottle
chilsta / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

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)

Close up of white rubber band ball
Andy Roberts / Getty Images

See the how-to (with video) here.

15. Force a Long-Exposure on a Vintage Camera

Rubber bands forcing a long exposure on a vintage camera
imwearingcons / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

16. Keep Tack of Treasures

Rubber bands around vintage postcards
 Marion de Man / Getty Images