Some time ago I came across a “household hint” to keep a plastic bag in the laundry room for mismatched socks. At the end of every few weeks, you’re supposed to empty the bag, search for matching pairs and toss the rest. It’s a good tip, but I’m going to make it even better with some suggestions for repurposing those orphaned socks.
Around the house
- Dusting, polishing, shining, washing. Socks are great dust rags, shoe polishers, car washers, etc. because you can slip them over your hand.
- Slippery soap holder. Slip a bar of soap into a sock and knot the loose end. This is especially helpful for children–it prevents dropping a slippery bar of soap onto tender toes. It’s also helpful for yardwork; keep a “soap sock” tied to an outdoor faucet to clean up before going inside.
- Cord organizer. This tip comes from Real Simple. Wrangle straggling cords (you know, the ones behind your tv stand and computer desk) with a trouser or knee sock. Cut off the toe end of the sock and slip the cords through.
- Draft “snake.” Got a drafty door or window sill? Fill a knee sock with beans, rice or sand and either sew or knot the loose end. Lay your snake across the drafty spot and start saving on your heating bill!
- Cat toy. This works best with baby or toddler socks. Fill a sock with catnip and sew shut the loose end.
- Packing, shipping, storing. Socks can protect a variety of items you want to pack, send or store. They may not stop a delicate vase from being broken, but they will protect shoes and sunglasses from being scratched, knick knacks (like Christmas ornaments) from getting nicked and they can keep items with several small pieces all in one spot. If you’re storing something in a sock, attach a label to the outside to remind you of its contents.
For the kids
- Sock doll. Ok, so this may not be the simplest of projects, but if you’re even remotely handy with the sewing machine, you can do it.
- Hacky sack or bean bag toss. Cut off the toe end of a sock, fill with small dried beans or rice and sew the opening shut so that it makes a circle shape. For a game of outside bean bag toss, use sidewalk chalk to draw targets (or a tick-tack-toe board) for your child to hit. For indoor bean bag toss, draw targets on a sheet of easel paper and tape it to your floor.
- Marble bag. (Do kids still play with marbles??) I remember having a small marble collection as a child and always hunting for new and unique marbles. A child’s sock or adult ankle sock would make a great marble bag. If you’re extra crafty, sew a zipper on the open end and a few buttons or sequins to dress it up.
- Doll clothes. The possibilities are endless here–from sheath dresses to knit hats. Very little or no sewing required.
- Hand puppet. This simple kids’ craft has been around for ages. All you really need is a sock and some markers (think Sharpie), but you can also go all out and use buttons for eyes, yarn for hair and felt for a tongue. Part of the fun is coming up with ideas to decorate the puppet. Then, have your child[ren] put on a puppet show with their new cast of characters!
- Stuffing. Cut up [clean] socks into thin strips and use them for stuffing in plush toys or decorative pillows.
- Baby sock advent calendar. How dirty do baby socks really get? If, at the end of your child’s baby-hood you can gather 24 socks, this would be a cute craft!
- Sock snowman. Such a cute wintery craft!
- Sock monkey. A timeless classic. CraftBits has a great step-by-step tutorial with photos.
- Mini pin cushion. This project is so cute and would make a great gift for your artsy-crafty friends.
- Books. Want to take the next step in sock crafting? Check out these recommended books: Sock and Glove: Creating Charming Softy Friends from Cast-Off Socks and Gloves and Stupid Sock Creatures.