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10 Uses for Dried Beans You Never Thought Of

Not sure what to do with that bag of black beans in the pantry? Here are a handful of unexpected uses for dried beans.

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Various legumes: beans, chickpeas, buckwheat, lentils in glass jars on a white background. Healthy vegetarian food, vegetable protein, plant based diet concept.vaaseenaa/Getty Images

Of course, you can feast on beans for the foreseeable future; but if you’ve had your fill, try one of these crafty alternative uses. We’ve gathered up all kinds of projects, kid-friendly crafts and household uses for dried beans.

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Taste of Home

Pie Weights

If you’ve ever blind baked a pie crust, you know you usually need ceramic pie weights. But a cheaper option is to use beans instead. Just be sure to line your pie crust with foil or parchment paper first, then add the beans. Works like a charm! Plus, you can reuse the beans to blind bake over and over again.

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Dried beans as makeup brush holderClaire Krieger/Taste of Home

Makeup Brush Holder

Beans make a great addition to your makeup brush holder. Fill a clear glass vase or cup with beans, and stick the makeup brushes inside. The beans surprisingly look beautiful, and also help stabilize the brushes.

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flower in pot from cereals, beans, dried leaves and colored paper Children's seasonal crafts from natural materials. Original children's art project. DIY creative handmade concept.

Kids’ Collage Craft

Use your beans to help the kids make a collage craft. Gather up some markers, construction paper, glue and of course—beans! Draw a picture and then glue on the beans. Kids will love using the beans to add different textures and colors to their masterpiece.

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Diy cinco de mayo maracas from eggs, spoons and cereals on a green background. Gift idea, decor cinco de mayo. Step by step. Top view. Process kid children craft.Detry26/Getty Images

DIY Maracas

Let the kids shake it up with some DIY maracas! Fill a plastic easter egg with beans, then tape the seam closed. Insert the egg between two plastic spoons, then finish by covering the whole thing with colorful tape.

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Homemade corn hole board game in grass in summertimeDavidPrahl/Getty Images

Bean Bags

Ready to play some corn hole? For each bag, cut two squares of fabric in the desired size (five- to six-inch squares should do the trick). Sew together the two squares by sewing three sides of the square, leaving one side open to create a pouch. Use a funnel to fill the square with beans. Sew the fourth side closed to complete the bag. If you’re not handy with a sewing machine, you could also use this iron-on tape.

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A little boy counting lots of beans.Please browse my:Fertnig/Getty Images

Kids’ Math Games

Beans make for great counting items. Help your kids practice their math skills by simply counting and sorting a pile of different beans. Or draw numbers on paper cups, and have your child add the correct number of beans to each cup.

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Young Asian woman feeling sick with flu, fever and headache while at home.Sisoje/Getty Images

Homemade Heating Pad

If you have a stiff neck, use beans to make your own heating pad to relieve sore muscles. Cut fabric into two equal sizes (a long rectangle is great for draping over your neck) and sew them together like a pillowcase. Fill with beans, then sew the final side to close up the bag. Heat it up in the microwave before using for nice, warm relief. Add extra relief with a few drops of lavender oil.

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Thanksgiving Day decoration with candles, fruits, vegetables and glass of wineIwona Ziomek/Getty Images

Candle Holder

Dried beans probably don’t make you think of home decor, but they can be a beautiful filler for candle holders. Fill a glass candle holder with beans (white cannellini beans look elegant) and then insert the candle, sinking it a few inches into the beans.

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A cute kitten lying and sleeping on an office tableTwentySeven/Getty Images

Wrist Support Pad

Using the computer all day can make for sore wrists. Fill a sock (preferably an extra-soft sock) with beans, then tie off the end. Place the long sock of beans in front of your keyboard or mouse to support your wrists while you work.

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Red kidney beans in kids hands. Grey stone background. Top viewAnnaPustynnikova/Getty Images

Sensory Play for Kids

A sensory bin is a plastic bin filled with items to help young kids and toddlers develop their senses, explore textures and use their imagination. Usually, a sensory bin starts with a base filler like sand, rice, shredded paper, water beads or, of course, beans! The dried beans keep for a long time, letting you reuse the same sensory bin again and again with different toys.

Erica Young
Erica is a freelance lifestyle writer with a bachelor's degree in Journalism. Her favorite recipes are quick, easy and something her kids will actually eat. When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, roaming the aisles at Target or nursing her third Diet Coke of the day.

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