10 Uses For Paper Plates That Go Way Beyond The Obvious

A series of pictures showing how to clean plates in the microwave.

I try to use our regular dinner plates as much as possible because I don’t like using disposable paper plates if I can avoid it. But we only own so many dinner plates, so paper plates are a staple when we’re having a lot of people over.

But after a few parties, barbecues, and family gatherings, I often look in the cupboard and find a preponderance of paper plates. (Forgive me, I just couldn’t resist the opportunity for alliteration!) So what’s a girl to do with such a surplus?

Find some interesting ways to use those paper plates, of course! I scoured the net for practical, creative, and just plain fun ways to put paper plates to good use. If you ever find yourself with a fledging collection of paper plates, you’ll now know just what to do with them.

Check out how to turn a paper plate into a mixing bowl splatter guard in my video below!

10 Surprising Ways To Use Paper Plates

A person sweeping a plate with a green broom.

1. Emergency Dust Pan

Cut a paper plate in half and use it as a makeshift dustpan. (You can even use the other half of the plate as a “broom” if you’re really in a bind!)

A person stacking plates on top of each other.

2. Packing Helper

Paper plates can be a big help when you’re moving! Layer paper plates between each of your dinner plates, bowls, pans, and other dishes to cushion them in their boxes. The paper plates will also help prevent them from getting scratched up.

A person using a hand mixer to make a cake.

3. Hand Mixer Splatter Guard

Use a paper plate to prevent splattering the next time you use your hand mixer. Just punch a couple of holes near the center of your plate, feed the beaters through, and attach them to your mixer. This easy modification keeps wet ingredients from jumping out of the bowl and making a big mess.

Here’s a slightly modified method:

YouTube video
Keep wet ingredients from jumping out of the bowl and making a big mess!
A person using a paint brush to paint a can of paint.

4. Paint “Placemat”

Next time you’re tackling a painting project, keep a couple of paper plates around. I like to put my paint cans on paper plates as added insurance against dripping. You can also use a paper plate as a place to set down your paintbrush when you’re not using it.

A person putting a cup into a microwave.

5. Microwave Splatter Guard

In addition to your hand mixer, you can also use paper plates as a splatter guard in your microwave. I like to keep a small stack of those thin paper plates near my microwave. I just grab one and place it over the top of the dish, so the paper plate absorbs any food splatters. Much easier than scrubbing out the microwave!

A person holding a box of cookies with a red ribbon.

6. Gift Basket

My friend Autumn (author of It’s Always Autumn) wrote a guest post here on my blog a few years ago that was an instant hit. The idea she shared was so smart and simple that it’s been a consistently popular post ever since! Find out exactly how she turned a simple paper plate into a cute, gift-able cookie basket.

Two paper plate crafts by amanda crafts by amanda crafts by amanda crafts by amanda crafts by amanda crafts by.

7. Paper Plate Frisbee

From Crafts By Amanda

Use a few paper plates to make a couple of paper plate frisbees! They’re nice and light, perfect for little hands, and much less likely than a real frisbee to break something if a throw goes amiss.

Paper plate olympic ring.

8. Paper Plate Ring Toss

From A Little Learning for Two

This project is doubly enjoyable because it’s a fun craft you can do with the kids, and a game, too! Cut a few paper plates into rings and use them for a fun game of paper plate ring toss. Since the plates are light, it’s almost like frisbee mixed with regular ring toss — give it a try!

Paper plate christmas crafts for kids.

9. Craft With Your Grandkids

From We Are Teachers

What kid wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to make a mess with Grandma or Grandpa? Paper plates are perfect for crafting, and there are dozens of ways to use them in fun crafts and games for kids.

There are 25 creative paper plate crafts to choose from at We Are Teachers that would be perfect for spending quality time with the grandkids!

Watermelon paper lanterns hanging from a wooden fence.

10. Watermelon Purse

From Untrained Housewife

Show off your summer side by crafting yourself a fun and fabulous watermelon purse. If you’re apprehensive about a purse made from paper plates, I’m sure the little girls in your life would happily take it off your hands for you!

Do you have an unexpected way to use paper plates?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


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  1. Use paper plates to make the “racket” for balloon tennis. Affix paper plates to paint stir sticks (use the small size or use half of a full sized plate). Blow up a balloon and bat it back and forth. For small kids: when the balloon is missed and hits the ground, everyone must fall down before beginning the “tennis” again.

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  2. You must stay awake at night thinking up these great ideas. Some I modify, others I use as you have instructed. They are all worth perusing.

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  3. Paper plates are great for using as a funnel! I also use three or four between my frying pans in the closet! When I want to chop something quickly, a small stack makes a great cutting board.

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  4. I look so forward to these tips! Love the mixer one!!
    I really think you are a genius!
    Thanks a lot!

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  5. I too always keep a supply of those really thin paper plates on hand. When I actually use them to serve food, I grab several to make them more sturdy. After eating I peel off the dirty top plate and throw it away, and return the supportive lower plates to the stack.

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  6. Great ideas. I saw the gift basket idea a few years ago, but I haven’t tried it. I think it would be great to use for dropping off treats for friends, etc. I showed the idea to my mom. She loves to make and bring stuff.

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