We're sure you all have a use or 2 for these cheap yet ever so handy rubber bands.  They are also known by the names elastic band, binder, laggy band, lackey band and other names we probably haven't even heard of yet.

As if you didn't know... A rubber band is a short length of rubber and latex, elastic in nature and formed in the shape of a circle which is commonly used to hold multiple objects together. The rubber band was patented in England on March 17, 1845 by Stephen Perry.
However, Mesoamerican peoples had already produced vulcanized rubber items, including rubber bands, by 1600 BCE. Most rubber bands are manufactured out of natural rubber. Rubber bands come in a variety of sizes.

While other rubber products may use synthetic rubber, most rubber bands are primarily manufactured using natural rubber because of its superior elasticity.

Natural rubber originates from the latex of the rubber tree. Natural rubber is made from latex which is acquired by tapping into the bark layers of the rubber tree. Rubber trees belong to the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) and live in warm, tropical areas. Once the latex has been “tapped” and is exposed to the air it begins to harden and become elastic, or “rubbery.” Rubber trees only survive in hot, humid climates near the equator and so the majority of latex is produced in the Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

The Many Uses Of Rubber band(s):

Keep rims of paint cans cleaner.  Slide a rubber ban over the open can and gently wipe the bottom of brush against the band when needed. The rim should go on easier now that the rim is clean!

To catapult toys and other ojects into the air. This way, no electricity is needed!

A flower arranger. For simple organization of your blooms, use a rubber band to keep flower heads together. Cut the stems to just above the height of the vase for best effect.

Prevent sticky honey pot bottoms.  No matter how much you try to keep your honey jar/pot clean, it always somehow end up being sticky on the bottom and on your shelves.  To stop this once and for all, wrap a couple of rubber bands around the jar/pot and this should capture all drips!
Open jars easier

A lid gripper. Don’t pay one cent for those expensive lid grips you see advertised on late night TV. Instead, wrap a thick rubber band around the rim of a jar lid and then twist.

A shirt loosener. Is your top button a bit tight? Don’t pay for expensive adjustments. Put a small rubber band through the buttonhole, then loop the ends over the button.

A bed slat securer. Got a few loose slats under the mattress? Just wrap a few rubber bands around the ends to make them more secure.

A caster tightener. We all know that furniture leg casters can take some punishment and become loose over time. To tighten them up, wrap rubber bands around the stem and reinsert.

A wine marker. Wrap a different colored rubber band around the stem of each glass the next time you have a dinner party or gathering. No more mixed-up drinks.
Rubber band necklace

Design your very own rubber band jewelry.  Check out this site for some beautiful ideas on designing your own handmade rubber band necklaces, bracelets and earrings!

A Koosh ball. Take a whole bunch of rubber bands, and them hold them together with one very strong rubber band. Now cut through the ends of the rubber bands and you have a homemade Koosh Ball. Really cheap and fun.

Melt and use as an adhesive. It’s not glue, but a melted rubber band does make a darn good adhesive.

Prevent a mixing spoon from sliding into a bowl. Wrap a rubber band around the upper part of the spoon’s handle just above the point at which the spoon touches the rim of the bowl.  Now the spoon can’t slip and slide in.

To turn pages.  Ok.  So you may not read an actual book anymore, but just in case you do, this usage of a rubber band sure makes flipping pages a lot easier.

Keep book pages open.  Just slide a band over the pages.  Now you can read your favourite recipe - hands free while cooking!

Keep sliced apples fresh. First cup the apples in your desired slices. Then place them back together in the form of the original apple and slide a rubber band over them for a snack later at work.  No more brown apples!

To display notices on posts without the use of tape:

Photo by Flickr user Eric Fischer

Keep dry goods fresher, longer:

Save on lotion and other 'pumpable' products:

Prevent your cutting board from sliding:

Bottle GripperTo get a better handle on slippery shampoo, conditioner and body wash, just slide a rubber band around the bottles. Rubber is waterproof, so the makeshift handles will deftly stand up to the wet conditions of a shower.

Use it on your hammer to prevent damaged walls:

Ever pulled a nail out of the wall with a hammer and left a huge indent in the wall with the hammer head? It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it's a bummer. To keep those indents from happening, DIY Life suggests wrapping the hammer with a rubber band.
All you need is a single rubber band. Criss-cross the rubber band around the hammer head so it looks like the picture above. Now, when you go to remove a nail with the claw, the metal head won't scuff up your wall. 

Rubber Padding. Wrap a couple rubber bands around a TV remote or ash tray to prevent it from sliding and scratching the table’s surface.

A Pencil Eraser. Fold a rubber band in half a few times and use it to erase pencil markings.  It works surprisingly well.

A Temporary Car Visor Paper Holder –  Most car visors nowadays comes with an elastic holder but just in case it doesn't: wrap a few rubber bands around your car’s driver-side sun visor.  Conveniently slip all your miscellaneous receipts, parking stubs, etc. under the rubber bands until you have time to sort them out.

Quick Tagging. Are the batteries at the bottom of your bag charged or uncharged? Tag your batteries with rubber bands so you never have to guess. You can differentiate between various groups of objects by tagging each group with a certain color rubber band, or a specific number of visible rubber bands.

Buttonhole extender. Need that extra inch after a good meal? Loop a rubber band onto the hole then slip over the button.

Secure candles.  Place a rubber band in candle holders to prevent candles from wobbling.

A pen or pencil gripper. Have arthritis and can't hold on to pens properly? Wrap many rubber bands around the base of the pencil, or pen, where you like to hold it. Now it's much more comfortable, and easier to grip!

A wax catcher. Wrap a large rubber band around a candle and it will stop the wax from dripping onto the table.

A leak fixer. A very temporary measure, but a strong, fat rubber band can be wrapped around a pipe or hose to slow the leak.

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Did You Know...

  • In 2004 in the UK, following complaints from the public about postal carriers causing litter by discarding the rubber bands which they used to keep their mail together, the Royal Mail introduced red bands for their workers to use: it was hoped that, as the bands were easier to spot than the traditional brown ones and since only the Royal Mail used them, employees would see (and feel compelled to pick up) any red bands which they had inadvertently dropped. Currently, some 342 million red bands are used every year.
  • The world's largest rubber band ball was created by Joel Waul. He is the current World Record Holder according to the Guinness World Records. The ball, which previously sat under a tarp in Waul's driveway, is 9032 pounds, more than eight feet tall, and consisting of more than 700,000 rubber bands. It set the world record on November 13, 2008 in Lauderhill, Florida. The ball is now owned by Ripley's Believe it or Not!
  • Steve Milton previously held the record for the biggest rubber band ball. During the construction of his rubber band ball, he was sponsored by OfficeMax, and was sent rubber bands by OfficeMax to use for his ball. 
  • Before Steve Milton, the record was held by John Bain of Delaware. His ball is 3,500 pounds, consisting of over 850,000 rubber bands. The bands were donated by two companies: Alliance Rubber and Textrip/Stretchwell Inc.

The largest rubber band ball weighs 4,097 Kg (9,032 lb) was made by Joel Waul (USA) and was measured in Lauderhill, Florida, USA, on 13 November 2008

So what other uses do YOU use rubber bands for?

Introduction photo by Flickr user EssjayNZ

1 comment:

  1. I love that tip about the hammer!

    I'll be linking to your post on March 2.