Uncommon Yet Brilliant Uses For Forks In Your Home And Garden

While a set of silverware typically lasts a decade or longer, it's only a matter of time before your forks begin to show signs of wear. They may become bent, rusted, scratched, or discolored. Fortunately, you don't need to throw them away after buying a new set. Both metal and disposable plastic forks can be repurposed in uncommon, yet brilliant, ways throughout the home and garden. Recycling the forks in this manner not only saves you money, but also contributes positively to the environment.

From inventive home hacks, like using a fork to help install nails to hang a portrait, to unexpected garden solutions, such as repelling pests from a vegetable garden, an old and seemingly useless fork can quickly become an indispensable tool. If you don't have any old forks, yet still want to take advantage of these crafts, you'll find most thrift shops have an abundance of used cutlery at a deeply discounted rate.

Store fruit in style

Thanks to the pliability of old metal forks, you can use them to build the most attractive fruit bowls — ones that combine style and functionality, and make excellent conversation pieces. You can use the bowls on your kitchen counter or display them on the table in your dining room.

To create the silverware fruit bowl, start at the base and create a "stand" by crossing two forks, gluing them together. Arrange the forks, and other cutlery pieces, so that they touch one another, being sure to add a dollop of glue anywhere they intersect. Branch out from the base to create the sides of the bowls by placing some forks straight up and down and intersecting others at an angle (this is where you can get creative). Again, you'll need to add glue anywhere the forks touch. It's also ideal to glue the tines down to prevent accidental pokes. Tip: You can make this fruit bowl using forks, knives, and spoons — whatever utensils if you prefer.

Deter pests in the garden

Are your vegetable gardens plagued by hungry rabbits or squirrels? If so, you can reuse your old plastic forks as a deterrent to keep the critters from munching on your growing carrots, lettuce, and peppers. This is a much better alternative to chemical repellents, as those may seep into the ground and end up in the food that you will eat later on. You'll find plastic forks are quite effective, as the spiky tines won't feel good when stepped on or touched by ravenous predators, but they also won't cause any major damage to the animals.

Wash your used plastic forks thoroughly to remove any food debris that would further attract animals to your garden. Once dry, press the forks down into the ground throughout your vegetable garden, leaving approximately 1 to 2 inches of the handle, plus the tines, sticking straight up out of the soil. You'll want to space the plastic forks about 12 inches apart. Replace any broken forks as needed.

Create a charming wind chime

There's nothing more relaxing than sitting on a front porch enjoying a fresh summer breeze while the song of a wind chime plays melodious music in the background. You'll be pleased to learn there's no need to pay for wind chimes if you don't already have a set of unused silverware, as you can put together your own decorative instrument using these metal items.

To start, drill a small hole into the end of a fork's handle. Thread a piece of twine or thick string through the hole and create a big loop for hanging. Bend each of the four tines at the bottom of the fork so that one faces east, one west, one south, and one north. Curl the tips of the tines under to create small loops. Grab four more forks and drill a hole in the end of each of their handles as you did before. You can now use twine or string to attach the forks to the loops in the tines of the original fork, or you can add some decorative jewelry pieces in between the tine loops and the holes in the handles of the forks. Hang your charming wind chime on the porch or from a tree in your garden.

Aid in installing and removing nails

Nails are necessary when hanging most family portraits or works of art; however, these tiny tools are often hard to get in straight or pull out without a great deal of effort. That's where old forks come in handy. Since forks have tines, they can be used to both guide nails into a wall during installation, as well as remove nails, without requiring a great deal of elbow grease.

When placing nails in a wall, baseboard, or piece of trim, stick the nail in between two of the fork's tines and begin hammering. This method also protects your fingers from accidentally getting struck by the head of your hammer as you work. To remove a nail, slide the nail's head in between two tines. Use the fork handle as leverage and start prying. You'll be surprised how quickly the nail comes loose.

Add a decorative touch to plant pots

Another way to recycle plastic cutlery is to use it to add a decorative touch to plant pots. Most planters are plain in color and devoid of any style. Giving them a little bit of pizazz will draw attention to your garden or windowsill. All you need for this simple craft is a set of plastic forks, a pair of scissors, a hot glue gun, and some spray paint.

Determine how you'd like your garden planter to look. You can use just the tops of the forks to cover the lip of the planter, or the tops with part of the handle to also cover the base. Simply use scissors to cut the forks to fit your desired length. Next, decide whether you want the forks to face inward or outward. Glue the forks into place all the way around the planter using your hot glue gun. Spray the entire planter with the paint color of your choice. Silver and gold have an elegant look, while red, orange, or yellow will add brightness to your garden. This fork DIY is really just about aesthetic, so have fun with it!

Create a stunning coat rack

Do you have a lack of storage space in your home? Why not create a stunning coat rack for your mudroom or hallway using a set of old metal forks? In addition to winter jackets, this rack can also be used to hold school backpacks, baseball caps, and even umbrellas. Another option is to place the rack in a bathroom to hold a set of towels.

Cut a block of wood to fit your space. Smaller pieces of wood may only hold three hooks, while larger cuts can accommodate five or six. Stain the wood to match your existing decor. Once the stain is dry, take your forks and bend the handles up to form the shape of a hook. Attach the heads of the forks to the block of wood using small screws (you may need to drill a hole first). Space the forks out evenly. You can leave the tines as is, or bend them to form a unique design.

Label plants in the garden

If you plant several different types of seeds at one time, you'll need a way to identify what is planted where. Plant markers are easy to make yourself using a variety of items you already have at home, such as a set of old forks. You can use the plant markers inside a flower pot or in the ground to reveal what is growing in each of the garden's rows.

Take an old paint can lid and spray paint it your desired color. Once the paint dries, use a paintbrush to write out the plant name. Place the lid within the tines of the metal fork. Stick the fork handle right in the soil of your planter or garden. Another option is to use a metal stamper to imprint the plant name directly on the fork. Again, all you need to do after that is push the bottom end of the fork into the soil of the vegetation you wish to identify.

Display photos and recipes

There's no need to purchase a photo or recipe stand, as making one yourself is quite simple. In fact, all you need is an old metal fork and a pair of pliers. This type of small easel does an excellent job of displaying cherished memories on a shelf or fireplace mantel, as well as holding up your favorite cookie recipe card for easy reference when baking.

Take the two outside tines of your fork and bend them forward. Curl up the tips so that they are able to hold a photo or recipe card. Take the two center tines and bend them backward. Although the easel is now ready for use, you can paint the fork to give it a bit of color. Of course, you can always opt for a fork with a decorative handle, as this will also give your stand some style.

Provide added support for growing plants

Old forks are not just excellent tools for creating plant identification markers, but they also work perfectly for staking plants to give them some much needed support during periods of strong winds, heavy rain, and early growth. While you can use both metal and plastic forks for this garden task, you'll need to make sure any plastic forks are sturdy and resistant to bending.

Push the handle of the fork down into the soil next to the growing plant you wish to support. Make sure an inch or two of the handle is above ground. Cut a piece of twine and wrap it around the plant's stem and the fork's handle. Secure the twine with a knot, making sure it's tight, but not pulling on the plant's stem, otherwise you risk injuring the plant or bending it.

Create a candle holder for your tea lights

Sometimes all you need is a little bit of light to illuminate a space or to create a more romantic ambiance for a dinner guest. This is effortlessly achieved using a few old metal forks, a rubber band, and a tea light to create a candle holder. You can use the home crafted candle holder on a dining room table, a fireplace mantel, a nightstand, or a windowsill.

Take three forks for each candle holder you'd like to make and bend the heads backward. Take the handles and bend them backward about an inch down from the heads to create a sort of basket shape. Place the handles together and secure them with a rubber band. The candle holder is now ready for you to set a tea light inside the basket. If you'd like, you can add further decoration by wrapping the handles with twine or by spray painting the forks before you begin the craft.

Turn an ordinary mirror into a ray of sunshine

Creating your own piece of art is also possible using a collection of old metal forks. This project requires the use of a circular mirror, which you can hunt for at your local thrift shops, in the event that you don't already own one. The mirror will be transformed into a beautiful sun-like shape. You can hang the piece in your home or office, or gift it to a friend or family member as a Christmas, birthday, or housewarming present.

Remove the mirror from the circular frame. If you can't do this, cover it up with newspaper and painter's tape. Extend the old cutlery out from around the mirror to form the sun's rays. Add some gold spray paint (or whatever other color you prefer) and the mirror then becomes a work of art. Replace the mirror or remove the newspaper and painter's tape once the paint has dried. Tip: While you can use all forks for this project, it also works well when you alternate old forks, spoons, and knives.

Make a decorative border in the garden

There are many ways to create a decorative border to line your walkways or to separate your flowers or vegetables from the rest of the landscape, one of which is utilizing old forks that you would normally throw away. The forks can be installed as-is, or jazzed up using paint or ribbons. There's also the option to bend the tines to add an artistic flair.

Outline the border you wish to create using a piece of string. The border can be straight or have curves — whatever fits your space and matches your decorative style. Press the forks into the soil along the edge of the string. You can butt them up next to each other or space them out a bit. Once you're finished, remove the string. If you prefer, spray paint the forks ahead of time, bend the tines, or tie ribbons at the top of the handles. Wait for the paint to dry before using the forks to decorate your garden.

Form personalized napkin rings

Do you enjoy throwing dinner parties for your family and friends? One way to wow your guests is to create personalized napkin rings that let each visitor know exactly where to sit. You can do this using a collection of old metal forks and a set of metal stampers. You'll find these napkin rings provide a vintage feel, so you may want to plan the rest of your table settings around that style.

Try to find old forks that have a decorative pattern toward the top of the handle. You'll need one fork for each napkin. Use metal stampers to stamp the name of each guest just below the fork's tines. Bend the handles backward to form a loop. The napkin will go through the loop. When you set the napkin rings on the plates, the guest's name and decorative upper handle will be on full display.

Tip: If you're finding it hard to read the names of your guests, color over the stamped letters with a permanent marker. Use a cotton swab dipped in acetone to clean up any marker surrounding the letters.