10 Uses for Velcro That'll Make Your Life Easier
Quick fact: Velcro was not invented by NASA, and the government agency does not hold the patent for it. A lot of people still think it is NASA's baby, but it was in fact invented in 1948 by a Swiss engineer named George de Mestral. He didn't actually patent the idea until 1955, and it of course became very popular after it was included in the space program. (See also: 15 Uses for Nail Polish)
Now, the hook-and-loop fastening system is everywhere. You probably have something close by that uses Velcro in some way. You can buy it in long strips, in small patches, with and without adhesive, and in a variety of different colors. But what can you use it for beyond the obvious?
Here are 10 Velcro life hacks that can make your life a littler easier.
1. Make Your Phone or Tablet Go Vertical
You can buy expensive cases and holders for smartphones and tablets, but they don't always do the job. Sometimes, they aren't at the right height, or at the right angle, and when you want to watch a TV show or movie, holding them for long periods of time can be a literal pain. Enter Velcro. Attach 2-3 strips of hook Velcro to the back of your phone or tablet, and then place loop Velcro boards on walls and surfaces where you watch often. This can be on the fridge door, a kitchen cabinet, in your car (under the visor is perfect, or on the back of headrests), or on a bedroom wall.
2. Hang Pictures or Art
Depending on the weight of the frame or artwork, you can easily hang pictures and canvases to walls with a minimum of fuss. The hook-and-loop system provides excellent holding power, and yet is easy to reposition and rehang. It's way better than knocking holes in your walls, only to realize the picture hook isn't quite where you want it to be. Of course, you will need to check the kind of Velcro you buy to ensure it can hold the weight you're imposing upon it; industrial strength is available.
3. Keep Those Rugs In Place
Rugs may bring the room together (thanks Lebowski), but they can be tripping hazards and eyesores when they move out of place, or worse, roll at the corners. A simple and cheap solution is to use Velcro. You can put the hook side of the Velcro on the underside of the rug, and it will naturally grip the fibers of some types of carpet. On wooden floors, use it on both the rug and surface sides, and it will keep that rug stationary for years. When it comes time to sweep or vacuum, it's easy to remove.
4. Adjusting Children's Clothes
Parents know how quickly kids grow out of clothes. As a kid, I remember my mother buying jeans that were too long for me, hemming them up, and then slowly letting them down as I grew. With Velcro, you can make these kinds of adjustments on jeans, pants, and even sleeve lengths with ease. You can also use Velcro to turn baggy pants into shorts or cargo pants for the summer, without having to cut anything. With Velcro, you can really stretch your clothing budget.
5. Keep Cables Tied Up
The more gadgets we have in our lives, the more cables we have. You can find various types of cable ties, and some people swear by cheap zip ties, but they're a one-time-only deal. Velcro is a much better solution. You can cut the pieces to any size you want, and when you have to move the computer, stereo, or printer, you can quickly unfasten the Velcro strap. They're not just good for cables, but loose pens, pencils, belts, or small tools, too.
6. Remove Bobbles (or Pills) From Clothing
There have been many inventions or solutions to deal with those annoying fabric balls that appear on clothing after a few washings. Some people use a razor to shave them off. Others use special battery-powered gadgets, or even sandpaper! Velcro is a cheap and easy way to deal with the pills. Simply wrap a length of hook side Velcro around your hand, and then run it over your sweater or cardigan. The balls come away with ease.
7. Stop Remote Controls From Wandering
How many hours per year do you spend on your hands and knees looking under the sofa for your remote control(s)? They get lost, quickly, especially if you have kids. The excuse is always the same; they're easy to lose. Well, make them less easy to lose with the application of some Velcro hook tape to the back of each one.
You can place a pad of loop Velcro in the center of the coffee table or ottoman, as well as smaller pieces on the sides of sofas and even the TV. You will always have a place for the remote control, and the Velcro backing will make it stick to the sides of your fabric sofa. Of course, if you have suede or leather, you'll have to be extra vigilant that people put the remotes back on the Velcro pads.
8. Repair Handbags, Suitcases, and Purses
The problem with a lot of bags and purses is that the locks are not usually made to last the test of time. This is where Velcro comes in. By applying Velcro pads with some tough glue, you can make sure purses stay closed while hiding the method of closure. It can extend the life of your bags and suitcases by years.
9. Hide External Hard Drives
Digital storage solutions for computers have become so much more affordable these days; you can now get a 1TB external hard drive for around $50. Of course, all these extra gadgets consume desk space, but you have a ton of unused space to utilize. It is, of course, the underside of the desk. Place industrial strength Velcro on the top of your external drive, and then attach Velcro to the underside of your desk. You can keep several external drives hidden under there, and keep your desk space clutter-free. Don't worry, they're easy to remove if you need to take them anywhere.
10. Organize Jewelry (or Toys)
Create a piece of art that actually has a use. You will need a piece of canvas, colored felt, and Velcro. Complete instructions can be found here, but in less than 30 minutes you'll have a cool way to organize jewelry that looks at home in any bedroom. If you want to make clean up time fun in the kids' room, create a larger version and add Velcro tape to the lighter toys. They can have all sorts of fun sticking them to the appropriate places on the walls.
What's the coolest use for Velcro you've ever tried? Please share in comments!