Sicila Gel Featured

Don’t Be Afraid of Silica Gel Packs—You Can Do Cool Things with Them!

It seems like those little silica gel packets come with just about everything you buy these days: medications, electronics, clothing, and more. They always have two instructions: DO NOT EAT and THROW AWAY. While you definitely should not eat them, you don’t need to throw them out! There are actually a lot of uses for them around the house.

A quick note about that safety warning you see all the time: Clear silica gel pellets are nontoxic and fairly safe to handle. Some pellets are treated with color-changing chemicals to indicate when they’ve absorbed moisture, and these chemicals are often carcinogenic. Don’t use colored silica gel pellets for these projects. Otherwise, they’re good to use.

Dry flowers without losing their color.

Silica Gel Hack: Dried flowers and leaves are terrific for craft projects, but it takes a while to dry them using traditional methods, and they don’t always retain their pretty colors. Silica gel pellets can speed up and improve the process.

What Kids Do:

  1. Place a layer of silica gel pellets on the bottom of a container with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Trim the flower stems and lay them on the pellets. Pour more pellets over the petals.
  3. Place the lid on the container and set aside in a warm, dry place. Check progress after several days.

Save seeds for next year’s planting.

Silica Gel Packets

Silica Gel Hack: Saving seeds from your garden is a great way to save money and get a jump start on next year’s planting. But any moisture that gets into the envelopes can allow mold to grow, killing the seeds. Slip silica gel packets in with the seeds to keep them dry and ready for spring!

What Kids Do:

  1. At the end of the growing season, gather seeds and dry them for storage. Learn more here.
  2. Make seed envelopes from card stock, using these free printable templates. Cut them out, decorate however you like, and glue them together, following the instructions.
  3. Label the envelopes with the type of seed, date harvested, and any other useful information.
  4. Fill the envelopes with seeds and place a silica gel packet into each, then seal and store.

Scent your home with a DIY air freshener.

Silica Gel Hack: Silica gel pellets absorb moisture, and are great for controlling musty odors on their own. Kick things up a notch by adding some essential oil to the mix for an easy DIY air freshener.

What Kids Do:

  1. Carefully cut open several silica gel packets and empty the contents into a bowl or jar. (Note: If the silica gel beads inside are colored instead of clear, discard them immediately and DO NOT USE for this project.)
  2. Add several drops of your favorite essential oils; the more you add, the stronger the scent will be. Try making unique mixtures to fit the season, like cinnamon and orange for the winter holidays, or lemon or mint for summer.
  3. Place your DIY air fresheners up high, out of the reach of very young children and pets. Refresh with additional essential oil as needed.

Decorate sparkly holiday ornaments.

Silica Gel Hack: Those little pellets make surprisingly pretty holiday décor! Just remember it’s only safe to use the clear pellets; colored ones may contain carcinogens and should be disposed of immediately.

What Kids Do:

  1. Cover round glass or plastic ball ornaments with a thick layer of Mod Podge glue.
  2. Empty several silica gel packets into a shallow dish.
  3. Roll the glue-covered ornaments in the pellets until the ornament is covered. Set aside to dry. Discard remaining pellets.
  4. Spray the ornaments with a coat of clear sealer, if desired.

Make moisture-absorbing sachets from pretty fabric.

Silica Gel Hack: Moisture-absorbing silica gel packets are useful for lots of things (see below), but the tiny packets are easy for kids and pets to swallow. They’re also not very attractive and easy to lose. Make larger fabric bags to hold the pellets instead, using scraps of any fabric you like.

What Kids Do:

  1. Choose the right fabric: cotton is best. Use up scraps you have lying around or buy calico “fat quarters,” meant for quilters, from the fabric store.
  2. Cut out squares from the fabric. Use pinking shears so there’s no need to worry about fraying or hemming. You can make the squares any size you want; you’ll be folding them in half to make the bags, so keep that in mind.
  3. You’ve got a couple of options for making the bags. Kids can use a sewing machine if they know how, sew them by hand or try fabric glue. Whichever option you choose, close the bags on two sides, leaving the top open.
  4. Carefully empty several packets into one of the fabric bags. Sew or glue the top closed.
  5. Over time, the pellets lose their effectiveness. Recharge your bags by heating them in a warm oven (200°F) for a couple of hours to dry them out.

Use silica gel packets anywhere you need to absorb excess moisture.

Silica Gel Hack: Silica gel packets come in handy in so many different places. Put kids in charge of collecting them and distributing around the house wherever they’re needed!

What Kids Do:

  • Place them on the car dashboard by the windshield to keep it from fogging up inside in wet weather.
  • Dropped your phone in a puddle? Place it in a sealed plastic bag with a handful of silica gel packets to absorb the moisture before you try powering it on again.
  • Throw them in your gym bag or backpack to keep it fresh.
  • If you have real silver that tarnishes over time, drop a few packets in the storage container.
  • Tuck them in boxes of old papers or books.
  • Prevent tools from rusting by stashing a few silica gel packets in the toolbox.
  • After you carve your Halloween jack-o’-lantern, put a packet or two inside to help it last longer.

Love inexpensive craft projects? Check out these 12 Incredible Things Kids Can Do With Sticks!