5 Things to Do with… Matchboxes

Even with no matches left, a matchbox has at least one use left. Check out these five creative ideas for making these mementos actually useful again.

By Tracy Anderson | Updated Jan 15, 2015 6:59 PM

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Before antismoking campaigns and the advent of disposable lighters, matchboxes and matchbooks were very common. They were everywhere. Today, matchboxes are, most of all, mementos—of that earlier era, maybe, or of a memorable dining experience. Rarely do they do anything more than sit idly within a box of keepsakes. But with the help of a few basic household supplies, you can make those matchboxes useful again. Scroll down now for five clever repurposing ideas!



Matchbox Crafts - Pinhole Camera

Photo: matchboxpinhole.com

Believe it or not, you can make a pinhole camera out of a matchbox, and it’s relatively simple. This type of camera lacks a lens, instead capturing images quite naturally through a tiny—you guessed it—pinhole. To make your own, follow instruction at Matchbox Pinhole. (Yes, this technique has its very own Web site!)



Matchbox Crafts - Sewing Kit

Photo: aplacetolaymythread.etsy.com

Just the right size for travel, a matchbox can house everything you need for an emergency sewing kit. Seriously, you’d be surprised by how many sewing staples can fit inside something so small! For fixing wardrobe malfunctions on the go, or as a gift for a globe-trotting friend, these kits are handy and downright adorable.



Matchbox Crafts - Notepads

Photo: flickr.com

Super simple to craft, these little notepads are 99 percent creativity, 1 percent matchbook. Once you’ve removed the matches themselves, collect about 15 squares of thin paper, cutting them to fit. Staple the paper stack into the slot where the matches were, and you’ve got a mini pad for jotting down impromptu notes-to-self.



Matchbox Crafts - Flashlight

Photo: instructables.com

Even after the last match has been lit, the empty matchbook can muster a glow—as a DIY flashlight. First, pierce holes in the matchbook for two tiny LED lights you can buy at a home center. Next, fit the LED wires through the holes, connecting them to the 3-volt battery tucked inside. Instructables has the step-by-step.



Matchbox Crafts - Gift Boxes

Photo: wikihow.com

For gifts of jewelry or folded currency, wrapped matchboxes are the perfect packaging. The key is to cut the wrapping paper slightly wider than the box, so the paper flaps can be glued down flat. Once you get the hang of it, why not wrap up an array of matchboxes to hang as decorations? Visit WikiHow for the tutorial.