18 Creative Ways To Repurpose Spare Hair Ties Around The House

Hair ties are an absolute essential for anyone with long hair. While they're typically not very expensive, all those billions of people who need to toss their hair into a ponytail or a bun certainly add up. According to data from Grand View Research, the total global hair accessories market was valued at $18.7 billion in 2021 and has only grown since then. Based on the numbers, it's safe to say that these little elastic bands have found their way into just about everyone's homes. What, then, should you do with all those extra hair ties you have lying around?

The obvious answer is to keep a couple on hand for the next time you need to replace your go-to hair tie that's been lost or worn out. After that, however, you likely still have quite a few just sitting in a drawer. When deciding what to do with those, these 18 hacks can help you cut back on that excess or even repurpose ones that have lost their previous stretch. At their core, hair ties, no matter how decorative they are, are essentially just rubber bands, which can also be repurposed in many ways around the house. Their simple shape and elasticity mean that they're perfect for a wide range of jobs around the house, and the fact that they're designed to be durable and more presentable than rubber bands can help ensure that they last longer and look better than their plain counterparts.

1. Close snack bags

If you enjoy having a wide variety of snacks at home, it's likely that you've run out of chip clips at one point or another. Even when you try to precisely fold over the bag to stop air from getting in, storing your snacks away without something to properly seal them off is a recipe for staleness. Luckily, a clean hair tie can be your savior. You can slip the band over the back in its entirety to seal it. If it's still fairly full, pull the top of the bag into a "ponytail" to seal it, or cut the material and tie it into a bow.

2. Drink markers

If you want to perfectly style your home bar, consider that sometimes, when people are drinking the same or similar-looking drinks, you often run into one major issue: swapped glasses. To help prevent this, consider creating drink markers. Drink markers can be made out of a wide variety of different things, but clean hair ties are one of the easiest options as they come in multiple colors and can fit a wide range of different glasses. Keep them as-is and just use different colors if you have a small crowd, or add on little charms to diversify the selection and ensure each guest has a unique marker.

3. Reusable gift wrap

When you're trying to create a special moment, the way you wrap your gifts is almost as important as the gift itself. With that being said, however, gift wrap can be incredibly wasteful, especially when you start adding on accessories like ribbons and tags. To help minimize this — and even add on an additional gift that the recipient can reuse — try incorporating hair ties into your present wrapping. These little elastics can easily do the same job as ribbons, helping both to secure the wrapping paper (especially if it's reusable as well) and add an extra level of fun décor to your final look.

4. Tidy up cords

If you've taken a look behind your television or computer lately, it's likely that you found a massive jumble of unsightly cords that lead in just about every direction. With the help of a few hair ties, you can control the chaos — or at least significantly cut back on the confusion. Use your hair ties to connect cables that are heading to the same location as one another, or take advantage of the fact that hair ties are available in multiple colors to help differentiate between similar-looking cords. 

5. Stabilize taper candles

Sometimes, your taper candles and candlesticks don't fit together as well as you'd like. To help make up for this tiny difference in size, consider trying this clever rubber band hack that keeps a tapered candle straight but with a hair tie. Wrap your hair tie around the end of the candle a couple of times to add a small amount of width and allow it to better fit into the candlestick. Thicker hair ties are a good option if you need to make up for a lot of space, but small elastics can also do the trick if you only need to fill a minor gap.

6. Plant support

When your plants need a little help staying upright, a stake or trellis can certainly do the job. However, you also need something that can secure your plant's branches to the structure without causing damage. A hair tie is an easy and accessible option. Grab an old hair tie, then either cut it and tie it to the plant or fold it in half to create a loop and pull the end through. The fabric exterior of the hair tie will be gentler on growing stems than a traditional rubber band, but the elastic can help guarantee that it still stays in place.

7. Prevent doors from latching

In situations where you're constantly running in an out of the house, it can get annoying to have to put down what you're holding in order to open your door each and every time. Sure, you could just leave your door open, but if you have pets that could escape or you're worried about bugs flying inside, this isn't best choice. Instead, try using a hair tie to prevent your door from latching. Hook it on one handle, twist, then connect it to the other to hold down the latch. The door will still be able to close, but you can easily bump it open.

8. Secure food storage containers

Making school lunches at home is a great way to ensure your children are getting a balanced meal in the middle of their day, but lugging their favorite snacks to and from school can result in some accidental messes, especially when they're being jostled around in a backpack. To help add an extra layer of security, consider putting a hair tie over the lids of their food storage containers. This way, if the lid isn't well-sealed, it won't open in their bag. This method can also serve as a great reminder for kids that might forget to fully close up lids when they finish their meal.

9. Makeshift tongs

Tongs are an absolute essential if you need to handle something with precision without burning yourself or getting your hands dirty, but, if you don't have any available, there's no need to worry. If you have two forks and a hair tie, you can make a set of tongs that are just as functional as a pair you'd buy at the store. Align your two forks so that the tines are facing away from each other, then wrap the hair tie around the point where the meet. The elastic will keep the forks together while also creating the spring effect that makes tongs functional.

10. Bookmark for hard covers

Many journals and books come with a convenient elastic or ribbon to help keep everything closed and mark important pages, but if you don't have one available, you can make your own out of a hair tie, ribbon and button. Attach the ribbon to your hair tie on one end, either using a simple stitch or fabric glue to secure it, then add a button on the other side to act as a convenient hook. The hair tie will allow the bookmark to stretch and fit taught over the cover, but the ribbon will allow everything to lay flat so you can still close the book.

11. Napkin rings

If you're looking for a fun tablescape idea for any occasion,  buying a ton of decorative items just to use them one time can seem like a waste of both materials and money. To avoid this while still creating a photo-worthy layout, consider using what you already have rather than purchasing new items, like clean hair ties rather than napkin rings. Wrap scrunchies or other decorative hair ties around your napkins for a one-and-done look, or use a more simple hair tie as a base and slip small inclusions like flowers, name tags, or herbs between it and the napkin to finish off the look.

12. Curtain pullbacks

Unless you're committed to blocking out direct sunlight 24/7, it's likely that you want to open up your curtains from time to time to make your space feel more bright and airy. Curtain pullbacks are the obvious choice for the job, but plenty of different things can serve the same purpose in a pinch. If you already have a hook or nail installed on the wall, grab a hair tie that matches your curtain and hook it on. Wrap the tie around the curtain, then hook the other end on the same spot for an easy but still presentable alternative to store-bought curtain pullbacks.

13. Make towels easier to hang

Towels falling off of hooks is deeply annoying, but, with this idea, you can ensure that they stay in place no matter how hastily you hang them. Loop two hair ties together, then weave the end of your towel through one. Use the other loop to secure the towel to your hook, and you no longer have to worry about it falling to the floor. When it comes time to use the towel, simply keep the hair tie in place while you wipe down your surface or clear away crumbs to save yourself some time.

14. Key ring

Keys are notoriously easy to lose, but key rings can help keep them together so you're not stuck keeping track of tons of tiny pieces of metal. Using a hair tie as a key ring, however, can make them even easier to find. After attaching your key — or keys — to the hair tie, you can comfortably secure them to your wrist so there's no chance they'll get lost. This is great for kids who make it home earlier than their parents after school, runners who don't want to lug around a large keychain on their workout, or just about anyone that finds themselves frequently locked out.

15. Stabilize propagation cuttings

Propagating plants from cuttings is a great way to expand your collection of houseplants without having to shell out a ton of money at the nursery. Sometimes, however, you have to get creative with your setup to ensure your cuttings actually develop roots. Plant cuttings need to be dipped but not completely submerged in water to form roots, so suspending them over the surface with some hair ties can be just the trick you need to help them thrive. Create a grid over the top of your cup with hair ties, then place the ends of the cuttings in the gaps to keep them in place.

16. Secure cards

If you have a large stack of cards, whether they're notes for your next big presentation or business cards to hand out at a networking event, using something to bind them together can be a serious help, especially if you have to toss them in a bag to transport them. Typical rubber bands are an okay fit for the job, but thinner paper can easily bend and crease when wrapped tightly. Hair ties are a gentler option and also one that you're more likely to already have in your bag or keep around the house if you don't typically find yourself in need of office supplies.

17. Makeshift money clip

Using rubber bands to secure larger quantities of bills is nothing new, but most of us don't frequently end up in situations where we're hauling around thousands of dollars in cash. This basic idea, however, can come in handy if you find yourself without a wallet. Fold your bills in half, then add in any cards you need to the middle of the stack. Wrap everything in a hair tie — they're more durable than rubber bands, which is incredibly important when you're going to be carrying such valuable items — and you'll be able to keep your necessities contained and accessible.

18. Extend tight waistbands

Let's face it: we can all use a little extra room in our waistbands from time to time. Whether you're stuffed from a large meal, between sizes, or looking for a way to extend the life of your favorite jeans during pregnancy, this hair tie hack can save the day. Loop a hair tie through the buttonhole of your jeans, then pull one end through the other to create a loop. Secure this loop on your button and you'll get an extra inch or so of space without having to make any permanent alterations to your clothes.