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What to Do With Foam Trays from the Supermarket




Painting and “Sewing” Aid by Deb Cooper


My craft tip was concerning uses for the foam trays that meat comes in from the supermarket. I know that we all get them. I just rinse them off and use them when I am painting. The trays are light enough that they can be held in your hand, large enough to hold several colors of craft or stencil paints, and there is plenty of room for mixing colors. Another thing I do is to punch holes in the trays to make "sewing" projects for my young granddaughters. I make holes in the trays with a pencil and then give them large plastic needles threaded with yarn for them to "sew." This keeps them busy with a project all their own while I am sewing AND you can remove the yarn and keep the trays to "re-sew" at their next visit.


Christmas Decorations or Jewelry by Carol Martin, McAlester, OK


I can think of one craft tip where you use the meat trays from the grocery store and cookie cutters to make tree decorations or package decorations. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter and a craft knife, and then decorate them using paint, glitter or a watercolor maker. Use a hole-punch to make the hole where you want it to hang from the tree. Another craft tip using meat trays and cookie cutters is to cut out the shape you want, decorate it, and punch the hole in it. Flour a cookie sheet and put the meat tray decorations into your oven at 200 degrees until they shrink and lay flat. Be care taking them out as they are very hot. Use hooks for pierced ears and you have a cute set of earrings or a small chain and you have a bracelet or necklace.


Stencils by Peggy Marcy, West Leyden, NY


Another craft tip I have for use of the foam meat trays is to use them for patterns for stenciling and quilting. They are stronger than cardboard and don't bend, and also are a lot easier to trace around.

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Wow, these are all great idea's! I have used them for painting, but I usually break them up into med. pc's and put them in with the soil for my potted plants. It keeps air circulating, and act's as a filler when you don't need much dirt.


As a small qty consumer, I recycle the small (mushroom size) foam containers for holding my vegies as I chop them for stir fries and just adding them in a timely manner to the pots/pans then pitching them in the sink for washing. One is re-used as my trash/compost container next to my cutting board and thereby saving me trips to my compost bucket. The flat trays are thoroughly washed and re-used though meats or vegetables never touch them again in the freezer. They simply organize my meats and vegies because they make the perfect trays and food separators. The yellow trays hold beef/red meat packages; white hold fish bags/pkgs; blue hold chicken. Keep in mind that my purchases are wrapped in butcher paper and not readily visible so this eliminates wasted time searching badly stacked pkgs in plastic containers.

coraparado72 5449368

If you make anything with these, enter the Hot Wire Foam Factory Earth Day Contest! They're taking submissions of projects using recycled/re-purposed styrofoam. Details are here: http://hotwirefoamfactory.com/customer/gallery/2_contest.htm Also, I work with foam using hot wire tools and as long as you're not burning other kinds of foam, EPS foam is relatively safe as the "smoke" you may encounter when cutting it with heat is primarily CO2 and water vapor, which are far less harmful than other common art products like aerosols and paint thinners.


for real ?? not a good tip like who does not know the secondaries of styrofoam burning. you are not teaching the world that way

delichichg 4211596

I have used foam meat trays to build little houses, for kids to play with and also for villages for xmas scenes. They cut easily and glue together just as easily. Can be painted, sequined and fake snow too. Let your imagination go wild, its endless what you can do with them.


I LOVE to read new recycling ideas, but am concerned that melting styrofoam in an oven could be dangerous. The gases emitted by styrofoam can be toxic. Please look into this further before trying this at home.

stowepiano 6788179

Hi all...I work in an after-school program, teaching arts and crafts. Very rewarding to me. We use the meat trays ( supervisors hubby works in a grocery store) when doing bead work.Each child gets a tray to use. Keeps the beads,etc. from falling on floor. But I have to respond to the crafter whose project curled up at sides after toasting. Perhaps your oven was a bit too high, they are all different. Do a lower temp but don't be surprised, they do curl up a little but after removing from the toaster oven, just flatten slightly with a spatula or something similiar.Don't forget to put hole at time before putting in oven! :o) Holly


Put a little bleach in the water when washing the trays, and ounce of prevention, you know. I wish I had a dime for every time I made animals traced from coloring books on one of those trays. Then I poked holes, gave my daughter a threaded yarn needle, and she would be so proud when she realized she made an animal all by herself..Now she is 42, I use the trays to catch drips in the bottom of my garbage can, times they are a changing!!!

tootsiepop1948 2657170

I love the sewing idea. Isn't it great when we all share ideas!


very good keep up ideas

wendyturnball 9316571

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