My name is Jill and I am an egg carton hoarder.
It’s not entirely my fault though… Well, sort of…
People know we have chickens, so people give us egg cartons. Lot of ’em. Which is awesome, because we do need egg cartons. But we probably don’t need hundreds… *a-hem* I guess I just have a hard time saying “no” to a good carton.
Therefore, I have a giant, precarious stack of them in my basement that falls over and whacks me in the head every time I walk by.
I think I need an egg carton intervention.
Of course, when you’re a homesteader, the most obvious use of egg cartons is to use them to hold your farm-fresh eggs–especially if you are sharing them with family and friends. However, my little flock of chickens can’t seem to keep up with the sheer volume of eggs cartons I’ve been collecting lately…
So it’s time it figure out some alternative ways to use them.
Recycling and composting are two very viable options if you are in a state of egg-carton-overflow like I am, but I’ve also found some more creative uses for those egg cartons that I think you’re gonna love.
11 Creative Egg Carton Uses:
1. Make Egg Carton Flower Lights:
A bit of creative cutting, a strand of Christmas lights, and a dab of paint can turn a boring carton into an adorable floral lighting string. Check out this egg carton light tutorial from Upcycle That.
You could add these egg carton flower lights to your Christmas decorations for the year for a unique look. Check out some of my Rustic Christmas Decorations ideas for more inspiration.
2. Give ‘Em to Your Chicken-Owning Friends:
But not if they also have an egg carton hoarding problem. Then you’ll just be enabling them.
3. Grow Seedlings in Egg Cartons:
The small egg carton cups are the perfect size for smaller seedlings. This post has a bunch of other ideas for frugal seed-starting systems, too. The seeds I most commonly use are from True Leaf Market.
4. Egg Carton Wreath:
I’ll admit it… When I first heard of making wreaths out of egg cartons, I was skeptical. But after seeing this Egg Carton Wreath, I’m totally impressed!
5. Use Egg Cartons to store Christmas Ornaments:
I’ve been using egg cartons to store my smaller holiday decorations for several years now. They work like a charm, and save a lot of space.
6. Make DIY Fire Starters:
Add a bit of wax, and some dryer lint, and voila! You have a handy-dandy fire starter for camping or cold winter nights. Learn more about why we heat with wood HERE.
7. Use Egg Cartons as Creative Gift Packaging:
This is the classiest egg carton gift packaging I’ve ever seen. Such a cool idea! You can also check out my list of Wrapping Paper Alternatives for some more ideas on how to package gifts.
8. Use Egg Cartons as Paint Cups:
This idea will be popular with the kiddos, or if you are needing to use several colors at once. The plastic cartons might work best for this, especially if the paint will be sitting for a while.
9. Make an Egg Carton Mancala Game:
My sister and I played mancala a TON growing up. Egg cartons make the perfect game board, and you can use beads, marbles, or dry beans for the playing pieces. This post has instructions, along with rules for the game. THIS is the “official” version of the game.
10. Get Organized:
Egg cartons are the perfect way to organize “small stuff.” Use them to store jewelry, beads, office supplies, buttons, craft supplies, nuts/bolts, and more.
11. Get Crafty:
There are TONS of ways to turn old egg cartons into kid’s craft projects, and a quick Google search will yield plenty of inspiration. Here are a few of my favorite finds to get you started:
OK… I know I missed some–what are you favorite ways to use egg cartons?
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says
You are not alone in your egg carton hording. I have the same issue. I have composted them, given them away, and used them to start seeds, but I have never used them for crafts. Who knew? The fire starter is a brilliant idea. Thanks so much!
Linda R says
I put dryer lint in the paper ones and when full pour used Scentsy wax or any melted wax over them. Best firestarters for camping or fireplace ever, and made from throwaways.
Gloria DeNicola says
Spray paint them a pretty color and fit them in a small drawer to keep earrings together and necklaces separated.
Great Idea. Thank you.
Hello. My name is Jacqui, & I’m an enabler. I save them for my friends with chickens. I’ve also given some to a teacher who uses them for crafts in her classroom. One of those crafts is to cut down the center of each row of cups, & stapling the two rows to create a ring. Decorate and it becomes a crown for a birthday child (or a princess).
The seed growing idea totally did not work for me. If the carton is already made in a way to be easily recyclable or biodegradable, when you water the seeds the carton turns to mush and falls apart.
Jill Winger says
Hmmm… Good to know… I guess I won’t be trying that one.
Can you use foam egg cartons instead of cardboard cartons to plant seeds? I use foam for starting seedlings and that has worked great
Karol Wells says
Try using the styrofoam egg cartons instead of the gray thick paper ones. Cut the lid off & use it for a tray underneath to catch the extra water. Works good for me!
Hi! Keep the shells of your eggs, plant you seeds in them, and use the egg carton to hold them. The shells will keep in the water and the carton won’t become mushy. Plus it makes the transfer easier when the time comes.
Soak the card board ones in Walter until they soften then drain them and form into bricks or chips let dry completely. Nw you have a new heat source, burn them.
Prairie Wife says
I guess that makes me an enabler…I always give my old cartons to my friends with chickens lol! Love the seed idea! Another way we use them is I give them to the Cowkids to play with in their kitchen toys. We always have left over Easter eggs and they love to store them in a cartoon and play chef 🙂
Jill Winger says
Yeah– for some reason, kiddos seem to be drawn to egg cartons, which is fine by me! 😉
I teach 2nd grade, and I use egg cartons when I teach division. For example, I’ll give every student an egg carton and about 30 beans. I demonstrate that if the problem is 15 ÷ 3, they would take 15 beans and divide them into 3 cups, one bean in a cup at a time. When they finish dividing them into cups, they can see that there are 5 in each cup. It’s a great (cheap) manipulative that helps an abstract concept make sense.
Love this concept. Will definitely use it with my great-grands. http://www.youravon.com/margaretpope
Great ideas! Back when I was living in Florida (late 70s) we were visiting a retirement village and I saw a large shrub on the property that appeared to be blooming, but the flowers were different colors. Turns out someone had taken those styrofoam egg cartons that came in pink, yellow & blue, cut the cells apart and stuck the branch ends through the centers. It was really pretty and clever. I’ll never forget that visual!
Dot Grady says
I like the wreath idea and a great craft to make with children at our Library.
Or a Hawaiian Lei Thank You for Sharing
Karen Kitt-Chapman says
I use the 2 1/2 dozen sheets for hot plates-like to put it on the table and put the “oven” dinners, hot cookie sheets, etc on it. Amazingly, they hold quite a bit of weight and I use them even when I put my big soup pans on them too. For outdoor picnics, an ice cube in each bin slot to make “cooler” trays. By the time the picnic is over, the trays will be a bit soggy but the meat and cheese platters stayed cold.
Jill Winger says
Brilliant! I never thought of that!
The organizing one is a good idea I can’t seem to fit all my earrings in my little box but now I have a backup!
I have used them for feed for day old chicks for the first few days. Worked well, it gabe the illusion that each chick had its own spot to eat from.
Jill Winger says
I’m hoarding egg cartons myself. But I make paper from it. it’s handmade paper with it’s own charm to be used for cards, craft and to be stamped on, cut out or whatever is in your mind.
and once I’ve made a crodoile mask for carneval in kindergarden from it…
Jill Winger says
That is AWESOME! I never thought of making paper from them!
you’ll get a kind of egg carton-kind paper, light cardboard, or mix it with newspaper, it’ll make finer, thinner paper.
we do have coloured egg cartons in Germany, green and yellow and kind of pinkish-rose… so: make nice coloured paper 😀
That’s really an awesome idea. We have 17 hens and use the egg cartons for the eggs but I really like this making paper idea! I just had about 30 cartons dropped off to me yesterday from a friend who many times orders 14 dozen eggs at a time from me. Thanks for the idea!!
When we were kids, my brother and I used to cut the lids off of Styrofoam egg cartons and make them into boats which we would then float in the bathtub, pool or creek. We’d add a straw for a mast and make a sail, and all kinds of other stuff. I remember making miniature cannons once from cut-up straws and small Styrofoam pieces and putting them through little portholes we cut in the side of the boat. The boats float well enough to carry small plastic people and animals, too.
Zurainny Ismail says
I stack a few egg cartons together and use them as seed starters – the sturdier and thicker ones. Sometimes my kids would use them for her crafting projects. Unfortunately, most will eventually be thrown away.
The side the eggs sit in make great packing material when you have to ship breakable items.
Place under the George Foreman as a drip tray for the excess fat.
Jill Winger says
chris ashby says
egg carton are wonderful for the compost. The critters eat the cartons and give us home made compost.
Great way to use cartons
I will definitely use some of these ideas.
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Since I don’t have an incubator to hatch chicks,I get a wash basket, place straw in the wash basket with the light, I then take the bottom half of the cardboard egg carton place the eggs in which keeps them from rolling around, I mark the tops of the eggs so I know which side is up, to be able to turn them dailey.
The bottom prttion of the egg carton keeps the bottom of the eggs warm to, just like mama sitting on her eggs.
this article is stupid
So are you!
Charlotte from AZ says
Move it on then…
Skippy Lynn says
If you take several medications daily, the egg carton could be used to sort them by day of the week or time of day. The egg sized cups are just the right size for quick sorting. The contents of each egg cup can then be moved easily to a more secure pill container. The sections of the secure pill container are typically too small for quick sorting.
I save my egg cartons and give them to our food banks. Often they receive large trays of eggs from local farmers but have no way to pack them for the people who use the food bank. By reusing the empty egg cartons those folks who use the food banks have a way to carry a dozen home without worrying about breakage and the folks running the food banks are very grateful for that contribution.
Sue Davison says
I used the clear plastic ones to hold dish washer pods! I have not had one single disastrous event of pods sticking together since I started doing this—They stack perfectly on top of each other so don’t take up a ton of space and, because I use the clear plastic, I can easily tell when it is getting time to buy more!
Melissa Howard says
Paper mache – I use egg cartons for paper mache – I’ve made at least a dozen paper mache projects using egg cartons. I just finished a three to four foot tall tree out of egg cartons. I have a three foot tall wall cross and Celtic knot – I could go on – it is a versatile and very durable paper mache material.
Jeannine Story says
You can make papier-mâché … tear the cartons up, soak the bits in warm water for several hours, squeeze out the excess water, add a bit of salt and some paper glue then mix into a smooth paste. There are lots of recipes and craft ideas online.
Kayla- Prairie Homestead Assistant says
They stink … Even the eggs in them we buy from stores smell too,,, that’s the cardboard ones
Luci Haley says
We have a fig tree…..and produces a lot of figs….so I use the egg cartons to put the figs in and give them to my friends. They are just the right size for the figs and the figs do not bruise.
So I collect egg cartons through the year and use them during fig season.
My husband is a ‘woodchuck’ volunteer for the local food banks. He makes fire starters from the 18-count cartons, and when the stack of 12-count cartons gets annoying, I drop them off at the food bank. Stores give eggs to the food bank, and it’s common that they get the cartons with a broken egg in them, so they are happy to put them into cleaner cartons. They only distribute eggs by the dozen.
Ava Murphy says
It sure was interesting when you said that old egg cartons could be used to keep smaller holiday decorations. This must be a helpful tip for my mother. She told me over a 10-minute phone call this morning that she is looking for a supplier of colored paper egg cartons for her farm’s needs. Since she might want to reuse old cartons after some time, your tips will surely be helpful.
The foam ones, not the cardboard ones. Pour you bacon grease in each cup and freeze. Then pop them out into a zip lock bag. Store them in the freezer until needed. They do not need to be thawed to use and no more rancid bacon grease in the fridge.