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Tracy Frank, Published February 23 2012

5 Things Friday: 5 little-known things you can do with a newspaper

Not only does the newspaper provide me with interesting stories to inform and entertain (yes, I know I’m tooting my own horn a little bit here), but it also serves as a catch-all and carpet protector when my toddler decides he’s done with his ravioli or would rather fling than eat his peas.

But I’ve recently discovered The Forum’s Newspapers in Education department has a whole list of handy uses for the newspaper.

So, once you’ve finished reading it, instead of throwing it away or recycling it, here are five ways to reuse your newspaper.

Cheap insulation

Stuff rolled up newspaper under doors and in cracks of windows to use as insulation. Or if you are taking ice cream to a party or even to help keep it cold on the way home from the grocery store, wrap newspaper around the container. You can even stuff it inside your coat or under blankets to keep warm in an emergency.

Finger/Hand strengthener

Newspapers can help strengthen your fingers and forearms or as a rehab technique if you’ve suffered hand injuries or a stroke. First, place a single sheet of newspaper on a flat surface. Then, lay your hand palm down in the center and using only that hand, begin crumpling the paper to see how small a ball you can make.

Odor remover0

Wads of newspaper can be stuffed into shoes and boots overnight to remove odors. They can even help take the smell out of a plastic container that smells bad. Just crumple some newspaper and stuff it into the container. Seal it and leave it overnight to remove the smell. This technique also works in trunks, luggage, or boxes that have an old, musty smell.

Garden mulch

Place flat or shredded newspaper around the base of plants or between rows of plants and water thoroughly to discourage weed growth.

Glass cleaner

After washing windows or mirrors with soap and water or glass cleaner, polish the glass with a piece of crumpled newspaper for a streak-free shine.

Here’s a bonus tip

YouTube has a few instructional videos on how to create newspaper nail art. Basically it looks like you’ve got newspaper print on your finger nails.

A good video that’s easy to understand and follow is at: Youtube.com/cutepolish.

First, you paint your nails with a base coat. Then, paint your nails light grey (really, any light color works, but light grey is the color of newspaper). Once nails are dry, dip them in rubbing alcohol. Press a small piece of newspaper onto the nail and hold it for several seconds. When you peel it off, the ink from the newspaper will be left behind. Then apply a top coat to stop the newspaper ink from rubbing off.

At least it’s more fashionable than newspaper ink smudged on your fingertips.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526