All The Amazing Ways To Repurpose Baking Sheets Inside & Outside The Home

Baking sheets are an absolute necessity to have in the kitchen, whether you use them to roast vegetables, bake cookies, or catch drips to avoid having to clean your oven every time you make a pie. With so many uses, however, it's not uncommon to have baking sheets lying around that are past their prime or simply not performing as well as the others in your collection. While they're incredibly easy to use, lots of baking sheets can take up a ton of space — something to consider if you're one of the 54% of Americans who feel overwhelmed with the amount of clutter in their homes (via onedesk). Luckily, there's a way to clean out your cabinets without just dumping your old pans in the trash: upcycling.

Thanks to their super-simplistic, flat, and durable design, baking sheets can be used in a wide array of different DIY projects around the house and outdoors. With a bit of creativity, they'll be completely unrecognizable from their former lives in the kitchen. While the idea of starting a DIY project might be a bit intimidating especially if you're a beginner, there's no need to worry. Most of these ideas only take a few minutes and some simple materials to pull off, so they can easily be completed in an afternoon with items you likely already have around the house.

Serving tray

You might not think that you would have much use for a serving tray, but if you have a large family or frequently host, they can really come in handy to help you serve multiple drinks at once, dole out desserts, or simply set the table, especially if it's outdoors. To make your own, you'll need an old baking sheet, clear sealant, and paint, contact paper, or decorative tape. Give your baking sheet a good scrub, then get to work transforming it into a piece that's worthy of your next dinner party or special event. Finish it off with the sealant to protect it from spills.

Chore chart

One of the many things you can take advantage of when using baking sheets in your DIYs is the fact that they're usually magnetic. Because of this, they make the perfect base for a chore chart. Simply divide your baking sheet into sections labeled "to-do" and "done" using paint, metallic markers, or washi tape, then create some magnets to represent common chores like tidying up, washing dishes, and taking out the trash. These magnets can be made by adding printed pictures or simply the words themselves. If you have multiple people using the same chart, you can also divide the "done" section per person.

Lap desk

Laptops are designed to be able to be used just about anywhere, but simply resting your computer on your legs isn't always comfortable. That's where a lap desk can come in handy. To make your own, you'll need a baking sheet, some velcro, and either an old pillow or some fabric and stuffing. Glue or stick your velcro to the bottom of the baking sheet, then attach the other piece to the same spot on your cushion. Simply attach these two together, and you have a more comfortable lap desk for use in the car, around the house, or out on the patio or porch.

Short-term art displays

If you have kids, you know that they come home from school, summer camp, or daycare with a ton of art. Each of these pieces are special, and, as a parent, you likely want to display them, but the sheer quantity makes it difficult to spotlight every drawing or painting you end up with. One super simple solution is a magnetic gallery wall. Take a few baking sheets, paint them, and hang them on the wall like you would frames. Display your child's art with a magnet, then replace it as they make new pieces. This way, there's no damage to the art or your walls.

Plant drip tray

Planters and flowerpots, when given proper holes for drainage, are designed to allow excess water to flow out of the pot rather than having it collect and pool in the container. This is great in theory, but it can lead to unwanted dribbles of water on your surfaces. To prevent your plants from causing damage to your tables or countertops, consider putting them on a baking sheet. You can simply use the sheet as-is as a barrier, or you can take it a step further and add a layer of pebbles to ensure your pots have a barrier between them and any possible puddles.

Decorative tray

A decorative tray is a great item to incorporate into your décor, especially if you're attempting to create a landing space for miscellaneous items. Paint or cover your baking sheet with contact paper, then place it in the middle of your dining table to act as a centerpiece, on your couch to hold remotes, or on your bedside table to give your go-to items like notebooks, water bottles, and reading glasses a home. This hack is especially helpful if you have a plush ottoman — a tray on top can add stability and allow it function more like a coffee table in a pinch.

DIY station

DIY projects can be a lot of fun and can save you a ton of money, but those benefits are a bit less appealing if you're constantly having to deal with involved cleanups and even potentially permanent damage to your surfaces. To prevent this, simply use a baking sheet as a protective layer between your project and your tabletop. Whether you're pouring wax to make your own soy candles, using hot glue to secure two objects together, or painting a piece to make it fit in with your home décor, you'll be grateful to have a protective surface that's durable and completely reusable.

Dish rack tray

Having a dish drying rack on your counter is a great way to ensure your plates, bowls, and silverware completely dry before putting them back in your cabinets, but many styles of drying racks don't have a bottom drip tray. As a result, your countertops are on the receiving end of all that excess water — bad news for anyone with countertops made of laminate or other more porous materials. To prevent this, simply layer a basic dish drying rack, like this Essentials White Wire Dish Drying Rack from Dollar Tree, over an old baking sheet for a basic and low-cost solution.

Mini chalkboard

If you're in search of a way to easily jot down notes without wasting a ton of paper, look no further than chalkboard paint. A coat or two of this paint can transform just about any surface into something writable, including an old baking sheet. Hang it on the wall and use the slight lip at the edge to hold onto your eraser and chalk or chalk markers, or keep it portable to jot down notes, help with homework, or doodle. Because it's still made of metal, you're also able to stick already-written notes and pictures to your board using magnets.

Pet food tray

Our pets are known for a lot of things — their silly habits, favorite toys, and love of going on walks — but their table manners don't usually make the cut. If you have a pet that's a messy eater or drinker, a mat or tray underneath their food bowls can help to minimize the mess and make cleanup significantly easier. You can buy these pads at your local pet store, but something as simple as an old baking sheet can also do the job. Pro-tip: If you notice the metal sheet sliding around, place a layer of non-slip drawer liner between the sheet and your floor.

Paint palette

Whether you're working on an artistic masterpiece or simply playing around with a brush, it's likely that you need a surface to mix paint on. Traditional artist palettes made of wood or plastic will certainly do the trick, but if you don't have one on hand, an old baking sheet makes for a great substitute. Baking sheets are non-porous and won't absorb your paint, they give you a large surface area to blend colors, and they even have a slight lip on the sides to help prevent any potential drips and spills that would require extra cleanup. 

Tool tray

When you're working on a project, whether you're under your car or tinkering with something at your work station, the last thing you want to have to do is worry about where your tools are. In these situations, a simple tray like an old baking sheet can be your saving grace. Use it to hold tools you know that you'll need so they are in an easy-to-find location and won't roll away, or keep it nearby so you can set down screws, bolts, and other small parts without worrying that they'll end up lost in a dusty corner somewhere.

Paint tray

Paint trays are designed specifically so you can fully coat a paint roller without completely dunking it, so they need to be fairly wide and shallow. Coincidentally, baking sheets also fit this mold. While they're usually slightly shallower than the plastic paint trays you'll find at the hardware store and don't feature any texture or slope to help you remove excess paint, they can do the job in a pinch, especially if you're only doing one wall or a few touchups. Just make sure you don't overfill your sheet — you don't want to end up with puddles of paint on your floor.

Drip tray

Even if your car is in good shape, it's not uncommon to face the occasional oil leak. A couple of drops here and there isn't a major issue, but it can make a permanent impact on your garage floor in the form of unsightly stains. There are large metal drip pans available on the market that you can slide under your car to protect your floors, but a simple baking sheet can do the job just as well for no extra cost. Unfortunately, most of these pans are a bit too shallow to use for a full-on oil change, but they can still make for an effective protectant.

Shoe tray

If you don't have a dedicated mudroom in your home, members of your family tracking in dirt and mud can wreak havoc on your floors, especially if you live somewhere that frequently faces wet weather. One of the easiest ways to solve this issue is by creating a dedicated space, either inside or outside of the house, to remove dirty shoes. Shoe racks are obviously perfect for the job, but a simple baking sheet can also do the trick. Leave it as-is, or add a layer of pebbles to ensure your shoes dry out quickly after trekking through puddles.

Seed starting

Starting your own seeds is a great way to get more involved in the gardening process and save some money on more developed plants, but buying all the materials you need from your local garden center can be unexpectedly expensive. To cut costs, consider using what you already have: a spare baking sheet, for example. Once you've planted your seeds in their individual containers — or used a TikTok seed starting hack to explore alternative cultivation methods — place them all on a baking sheet to keep them together and trap moisture that could drain from the bottom of the pots. 

Memo board

Keeping track of business cards, grocery lists, and small notes can be a challenge, especially if you need to tidy up your office desk, but a memo board can help keep everything visible and in one place. To make your own, all you need is an old baking sheet, some paint, and a few magnets. Give your baking sheet a coat of paint and some sealant if necessary, then use your magnets to display important items. For an added layer of convenience, you could also stick on a magnetic pen holder and notepad to jot down memos and lists.

Advent calendar

Creating an advent calendar or countdown calendar is a great way to get kids involved in the lead up to Christmas or other big events like birthdays and vacations, but they're often overpriced and filled with items that you can't customize. The solution? Make one yourself. You'll need an old baking sheet, decorative paper, ribbon, some magnets, empty matchboxes, and paint. Paint your baking sheet, then cover your matchboxes with paper and attach a magnet to the back of each one. Add on numbers, fill them with treats, then use the ribbon to hang the calendar on your wall for fun daily surprises.

Road trip activity trays

Having a massive toy collection for your kids is great for when you're at home, but many times these items don't translate well once you venture outside to head on a trip. Luckily, baking sheets are a flat surface, so they can be used in lieu of a table for playing with toys like cars and blocks. They're also magnetic, so they can be used in conjunction with magnets to keep everything stable, and they have a lip around the edge, so things that roll like markers and crayons won't end up on the floor.

Mixing soil and potting plants

If your baking sheet is a bit too beat up for indoor use, consider taking it outside to help you fill pots in the garden or mix your own soil. For instance, maybe a succulent needs sand, soil, and perlite mixed together to thrive. Simply pour your potting mix ingredients into your tray, then use gloved hands to combine it all. If you're filling up a pot, you can then just use your hands to transfer the soil or weild a small gardening trowel. You could also pick up the tray and pour the mixture into the pot, if desired.