If that window screen is torn beyond repair, don’t take the entire panel out to the trash. Rather, look for ways to reuse the screen in and around your house. That meshy material can do much more than simply block out bugs. Scroll down to see five of our favorite ways to give screens a second life. —Kathleen Corlett
1. UNGUNK OLD PAINT
Before you embark on a touch-up project that involves leftover paint, take the time to filter out debris (for example, dust or brush bristles) or any film that has formed. Cut out a patch of window screen large enough to fit over the can, then hold it in place as you pour the liquid into the paint tray you plan to use in your day’s work.
Related: How to Paint EVERYTHING
2. KEEP AWAY CRITTERS
To keep cracks in driveways or walkways from becoming prime real estate for ants and other critters, use crumpled window screening to fill any gaps you encounter in surfaces meant to be continuously paved. The mesh works to discourage small animals from making themselves a permanent home on your property.
3. SHIELD YOUR GUTTERS
Improper storm drainage can lead to serious damage, so get your game plan together. Cleaning gutters annually or twice per year is a no-brainer, but with gutter guards you can keep leaves and other debris from reaching your gutters in the first place. But as gutter guards don’t come cheap, repurposed window screens work almost as well, and at a fraction of the cost.
4. KEEP DRAINS CLEAR
A long, hot shower should be nothing but relaxing. You certainly don’t want the stress and mess of a slow drain ruining your bathing ritual. Drain grates go only so far to trap hair and other pipe-clogging debris from entering your plumbing system. Add a further layer of protection by placing a small square of window screen under the grid.
5. SAVE SPROUTS
Whether you’re planting a new lawn or reseeding a failed patch, anchor a swath of screening over the area. That way, the grass seed won’t become dinner for the neighborhood birds. Once the grass has sprouted, pull the screen back, roll it up, and store it in the garage or basement until next time you need it.
Want more ideas for repurposing everyday materials? Get inspired at BobVila.com.