If you’re a single reed player (here’s looking at you clarinets and saxophones), you’ve probably hoarded enough plastic reed cases to build a small house for your cat. These plastic sleeves are useful in safely delivering reeds straight from the factory to your awaiting mouthpieces, but after you move the reeds from their sleeves to your reed cases (or other preferred method of storage), what can you do with the plastic sleeves?
What’s the difference between recycling and upcycling? Basically, recycling is when an object changes forms. For example, a recycled Coke can might become a bicycle or parts for an airplane. This is a great website on recycling and discovering what recycled objects can become. Upcycling is utilizing an object for a different purpose than its original use. For thousands of examples of upcycling, browse Pinterest – I found everything from making boot socks out of old sweaters to using belts to make hanging shelves.
I had a lot of fun coming up with these ideas to upcycle plastic reeds sleeves. Consider this musicians’ arts and crafts. And if you’re really serious about musician arts and crafts, I found this WikiHow on making an igloo out of old reed cases. If anyone makes this igloo (or other architectural marvel), PLEASE post a picture down below. Inquiring minds want to know/see.
Without further ado, here are some ways to upcycle your plastic reed cases:
- Knife sheath. Hate reaching into your utensil drawing and cutting yourself? Protect yourself with a bass clarinet or bari sax reed case (for bigger knives). This is also great for reed knives.
- Clips for outdoor concerts. Ever played an outdoor concert? It seems like anytime I play outside, it’s always ridiculously windy. Keep your music from flying into the abyss by clipping it to the stand with reed sleeves.
- Headphone detangler. Hate reaching into your purse/pocket to grab your earbuds and finding a gnarled mess? Look no further than your box of reeds.
- Name tag necklaces at music camp. Have your students decorate a plastic reed sleeve with their name and loop an elastic through the reed cases. This is great for band camp.
- Fridge magnet. Glue a magnet to a reed case and attach to your fridge to hold drawings, grocery lists, etc.
- Paper clip. Ran out of paper clips? Voila – reed cases work great to keep stray papers together.
- Bookmark. Never lose your place by clipping the page you stopped (assuming people read physical books anymore – this won’t work for Kindles).
- Money clip. Stereotypically, musicians don’t have that much money to hold, but you get the idea. Reed cases are great clips.
- Chip clip. One more clip use – keep your chips fresh!
- Chopstick holder. Love Asian dishes but hate germs from the table? Problem solved.
- Mini straight-edge. One of my pet peeves is having to draw lines without a straight-edge. Now I always have one in my clarinet case.
- Weight loss tool. The size of a Bb clarinet reed case is the recommended serving size of cheese. (Although I’d much prefer using a contrabass reed case….or two.)
- Keep your phone charger from breaking. Apple makes great products – except for their chargers. Slip a reed case over the base of the charger to prevent it from tearing. (I borrowed the idea from this life hack.)
- Board game pawn. Love board games but always losing pieces? Use a reed case (you can even decorate it if you like). Clarinet checkers, anyone?
What are your ideas for ways to upcycle your plastic reed cases? Leave a comment below to share your creative upcycling projects!