How can I reuse or recycle burned matchsticks?

burned matchesBack in October, John started collecting our used matches in a little dish and I encouraged it because it meant I wasn’t the only person in the house that collected random and strange things for some currently unimagined crafty reuse.

To be fair to John, he did have a plan at the outset – those matches, completely whole just with blackened heads, were going to become stubble on his Jack O Lantern but in the end went for a clean-shaven look and the matches keep accumulating.

They can, of course, be used as kindling for a fire but me being me, I wonder what else can be done with them.

Any crafty ideas? Or practical uses? I’ve seen people using matchsticks as tile spacers – so they could be used for that – but anything else that takes advantage of the burned bit?

(Oh, and if you’re wondering, we covered matchboxes ages ago.)

(Photo by allysonh)

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16 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle burned matchsticks?”

  1. I just used loads of matches for the walls of a saxon house for my son’s school, but burnt ones would have looked even better.

    You could use them for drawing lines up the back of your legs like stockings.

    Or as an eyebrow pencil

    For the authentic vintage look!

    • veronica reimiller says:

      i’ve been using match sticks to make frames for alot of my paintings,my husband loves the look! then i varnish them to give it an even nicer look.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How about you BUY A LIGHTER!!! then use the lighter to relight the matches to reuse them.

    • Denise says:

      Why are you even looking at this? For you to even say to get a lighter to relight matches, you definitely have no creativity. That is a waste of time to flick your bic to l relight a match. Their are a lot things that people use that can be recycled. People look for idea to recycle. I think that you throw everything away that you use and contribute to the landfill problem. Do everyone a favor and stay off of sites like this.

  3. Does anybody remember season one of prison break? the immense structure built entirely of match sticks! – there’s an idea :-)

    • PJ says:

      They make these in prison to kill time…knew a guy once that made the cutest little “log” cabin with them. He would light the whole box , then close the box and smother them out…he would do it on plywood and put trees, bushes, flowers walkways from rocks and a chimney. They were to cute.

  4. Nikki says:

    You can use matchsticks for a lot of craft things. Especially with kids. Good for decorating picture frames, building things, in artwork, even jewelry. The wooden stick can make a natural look for just about anything. ;-)

  5. Alice says:

    This is another one where the answer is basically just COMPOST THEM!!

  6. Delusion says:

    I use burnt matches for really fiddling craft jobs (such as quilling) as they are perfect for applying tiny amounts of glue onto small items/paper etc.

  7. brightbite says:

    People in my family used to use used matches to make little boxes and houses out of (with glue, of course.) They also would glue them onto cardboard and make designs on the cardboard with them. My grandmother has a very large used-matchstick cross on a wooden backing. It’s been in the family for years, and it’s simply gorgeous.

  8. sean says:

    I searched this because I overheard some hippie say it in the lobby of my office. Come on now. I think recycling is counterproductive. All the energy and resources (trucks, workers, special baskets, factories, logistics) to recycle have to overtake the benefits.

    • jimmy my jimmy says:

      Not at all. It depends on the item. In the case of aluminum or any other metal, it is easier to gather from the waste of society than to drill for it. For paper, it’s easier to process and reuse than have a logging company cut down the trees and have a paper mill process the same said trees.

      Burnt wood on the other hand is not an effective product to recycle.

  9. Moneypenny says:

    Hi Sean,

    What a shame you did not search a bit further before making your conclusions. I do understand and respect your opinion and I do not want to be rude in any way but there may be more to know and research. Some years ago, I might have had similar opinions but I have read, learned and heard a lot more since then.
    Do you know how much damage bleached paper does between normal waste when it is burned? Only for that reason alone it makes sense to keep paper seperate. Of course, recycling paper saves trees. We and our childeren will all benefit from clean air.
    Recycling plastic, glass, clothing, shoes, etc., etc. does certainly have its benefits.
    When talking money, yes, sometimes it costs more to recycle then make a product but….. the damage to our envoironment also has its costs, sooner or later. Furtermore, recycling/re-using saves resources as wood, oil (for plastics) and metallics, etc. With the current oil prices, reclycling plastic might become very profitable, if not already.

    Furthermore, this website is mainly for people who like to recycle at home. The energy and resources you mention are not to be found at my home. Only used when I recycle is my own energy and my (spare) time. But… if someone of a company finds a great idea on this website to use on a larger scale, GREAT.

    I don’t like to buy things I don’t really need and I also don’t like to dispose what I can still put to good use. And when I dispose items, I like to think that when I’m not a part of the solution, I’m part of the problem.

    Oh, and by the way, we’re not (all) hippies. My household: double income, two cars*, dishwasher**, we do wear shoes and normal clothes but we just try to care about the world around us.

    * I know it is a bad excuse but mine is mainly just parked in front of our house because I can’t sell it, it used to be my grandfathers car. I use public transportation or walk most of the times, sometimes the car does come in handy, especially as there is a little one underway I think I will be glad I did not sell the car or had it destructed (it’s and old car but as long as it does not cost and drink a lot..) in a little while.
    ** research shows that the dishwasher saves water and energy, providing you don’t clean everything with warm water and soap. When I clean up after dinner, we’re okay but when my husband does… well, I have to buy new soap quite freqent ;-). So were not there yet and we’re not perfect either (thank god)
    We think you just have to save the envoironment and money to the point were it just is not hurting you (from: your money or your life). Doing the dishes by hand just hurts to much for us ;-).

  10. grant says:

    right now i am in the middle of makeing a match stick guitar out of 100% match sticks. i have been working on this project for about a week and have made little progress but deturmand to finish!

  11. Ram says:

    Hi Louisa!! I am curious as to what have u made out of the matches. I think there are unimaginable uses of em. The blacks can be arranged in a pattern to form a miniature painting giving illusion of a 3d structure or so. Also can be used for architectural proto type designs or models. Wishing to hear more from you. -Ram (mindsets3000@gmail. Com)

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