Ice Cube Trays and Coffee Filters

First...Ice Cube Trays!

On my quest to Reuse, Recycle and Re-purpose, I have come across unusual and creative uses for items that are so “every day” in our lives, that we totally forget that they are even there!

Long ago, I had a refrigerator that did NOT make its own ice. It was always someone’s job to crack the ice cube trays and replenish the bucket sitting in the freezer for cubes! Alas, it usually became MY job since everyone else had Ice amnesia! When we finally got a refrigerator that produced its own Ice, well, you should have seen me skating around the kitchen!

But today, in my over packed garage, I have boxes of “plastic” things and that is where the old ice trays have met their destiny…until now!

Currently, I have ice cube trays loaded with buttons, beads, pins, clasps, tacks, clips and needles.  Another set of trays holds earrings, necklaces, pins, tacks, rings and broaches. And yet another has nails, screws, staples, bolt, nuts, washers and rings. They have turned out to be incredible organizers for my junk drawer, jewelry box and art supply basket. But, I decided to look a bit further and see what else ice cube trays could be transitioned into!


Just put the following items into the little ice cube sections, freeze them and then transfer them to a plastic bag to use (portion control amounts) at a later time! The measurement equivalent is about 8 cubes equals One cup. Very Convenient!

*Pesto  - great for little dollops to be used for pasta and sauces.

*Lemon & Lime Juice - One cube is perfect for sauces and dressings.

*Stocks & Soups - One cube equals enough for a single serving of veggies.

*Fresh Herbs - Frozen, Herbs keep their smell and value for a very long time.

*Cookie Dough - One cube equals TWO pretty nice sized cookies.

*Egg Whites - I don’t use whites often so I freeze them and put them away in a freezer bag.

*Tomato Paste - A full can is TOO much. One cube is PERFECT!

*Simple Syrup - One cube in a recipe for Sweet and Sour anything.

*Fresh Berries - I use a cube in Pancake Mix.

*Homemade Baby Food - One cube is perfect for One baby meal.

*Coffee or Tea - I have been freezing coffee, tea and soda all summer to use in my drinks! My favorite is fresh coffee from the pot poured over coffee ice cubes. Nothing gets watered down and my Iced Coffee is ready to drink in seconds.

*Wine - One cube is perfect in sauces and dressings and marinades.

*Onions – Instead of going through the process of cutting and then caramelizing onions every time you cook, just do a big batch and throw them into a ice cube tray with a smidge of water, freeze and you will have homemade caramelized onions ready in a flash.

*Juices- These are perfect to add to a drink or a dressing or even to water!  And the juice choices are endless.

*Mint – Freeze a leaf or three in water and it makes Perfect cubes for that Margarita or Mojito.

*Snacks – Divide berries, cheese, cheerios, raisins, peas, corn, pretzels into each of the sections and you have dinner in a Tray for your Wee One!


*Beads fit perfectly and can be divided by type.

*Buttons can be divided by color, size, type.

*Craft things can be divided up into each cube section such as pins, bobbins, clips and tacks

*Paints can be mixed in each cube section and then the tray can be covered tightly with foil and stored in the fridge if they are acrylics. Watercolor paints can also be easily mixed in each cube unit.

*Play Dough or non-drying clay can be stored in each section for use again and again. Just cover with a foil to keep it airtight

*Toys that are small can be frozen into water in a tray and then popped out for the kids to play with in the backyard on a hot day!

*Crayons when they get broken or used down to the end can be put into each section. I have even filled each section with a combination of crayons and melted them together in the microwave making for a very interesting and colorful crayon!

*Seeds can get their start in a ice cube tray! No need to buy all the little pots etc! Just put a bit of dirt and a tiny amount of moss, throw in the seeds, and spray with water and in a few days you will see your seedlings reach for the sunshine!

*Soap can be poured into cube sections for Molds! These work out really well when ice cube trays with different shapes are used!

*Earrings fit perfectly into each section and the trays will stack so that you can store the whole collection in a drawer, case or box.

*Broaches and pins can be separated into each section so that they don’t get tangled.

*Coins can be separated and stored in each cube section and store in a drawer.

*Junk drawers should be fitted totally with ice cube trays (Mine is!) Every nut, bolt, screw, doodad and “what is this?” item will find a home in one of those small sections!

Now….Onto Coffee Filters!

We have a zillion of them in our lives, if you drink coffee, and they simply cost less than a penny a piece!

I have used them to clean windows and mirrors. I have put them in the bottom of flowerpots as a drainer for the plant so dirt doesn’t wash away. I use them on the bottom of my flat mop since they are strong and really pick up the dust and the hair from my kitties! I place them between plates so that the plates don’t get scratched. When dusting books, I will insert a filter between the books to keep them from sticking to each other! I will spray perfume on a filter and use it in my closet or drawers as a sachet. I put spices in a filter and wrap it tightly with string and use the concoction in soups and sauces. And these are all just MY idea! So, again….I went looking for other ideas and this is what I found!

Coffee Filters can be used for:

*Saving corsages or flowers. Place flowers between two filters and place in a heavy book. The filter will absorb the moisture and when dried, will have maintained the original color of the flowers.  

*Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

*Place over the flash on a camera  A filter can be put over the flash and will diffuse the intensity of the light and create a softer picture.

*Separate and use as your workshop organizer They can be used to separate nails and screws and nuts and bolts and then piled on top of each other and placed in a plastic tub. They remove the moisture and keep things cleaner.

*A filter can be used as a cushion on the bottom of a metal fruit bowl to prevent brown spots on your fruits or vegetables.

*They are great used as a dryer cloth for wine and water glasses! Gets rid of water marks immediately!

*Tied up, they make the perfect flavor pack. Put fruit flavors such as cinnamon or allspice into the middle of a filter and throw it into the jar while making Sun Tea. Or put spices into the filter, tie tightly and use in stews and sauces.

*Use coffee filters to warm up Tortillas. Slightly dampen a coffee filter and lay a tortilla on top of it. Spritz a second coffee filter and put it on top. Heat the stack in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, and your tortilla will be warm and still pliable. You can use the same ones over and over.

*Filter wine just in case you break a cork!

*Store Christmas ornaments inside each filter.

*They help from making holes in clothing. If you wear a pin, place a small piece of filter on the underside and put the pin through it.This will strengthen the fabric and make a tear less likely.

Embroidery and appliqué can be stabilized the same way with a filter placed on the underside of the

*Kids have an instant placemat with coffee filters. I let the kids decorate their own coffee filter while I finish dinner and then they use them for their placemat. When dinner is done, they wipe up their spills and crumbs with the filter and toss it away.

* Us them as a parachute on a kids plastic toy!

* And now a favorite...Air Freshener…Put a quarter cup of baking powder in the middle of a filter and add a bit of baby powder. Tie the mixture up and put inside shoes or a gym bag or closet or chest of drawers. This will soak up all the “stinky” odors and add Pleasant ones!

*Cast Iron can get a bit rusty. Place filters between cast iron pots and lids. This absorbs any moisture and stops rust from forming.  

*Celery can go limp, so...   Wrap cut celery stalks in a coffee filter before putting them in a plastic bag to store in the refrigerator. The coffee filter will help absorb any moisture, and keeps the celery crisp longer.

*Coffee filter are great as a shoe polisher The roughness of a coffee filter is perfect for polishing shoes and the softness is great for the shine

*Silk on a Corn Cob can be removed.  After taking off the green leaves on an ear of corn, you can rub a dampened coffee filter along the rows and all the silk will be pulled right off.

*No need for bowls  Use a coffee filter as a bowl for popcorn, granola, chips and other snacks.  Then just toss away when finished!!

*No drippy Pickle with a coffee filter wrap. Put a jumbo pickle inside a filter, wrap it up and it will absorb all the juice!  No drips!!! You can do the same with an ice cream cone!!!.

Recycle and Reuse is the place to begin thinking outside the box because it always creates new uses for old things!

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