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My mom—an accomplished chef—is the one who first introduced me to parchment paper. Called "vellum" in the crafting community and "parchment" among chefs, this paper has a long and colorful history all its own. But one thing parchment paper has never been is cheap. These hacks help extend the life of your precious parchment paper both inside and beyond the kitchen.
How to clean used parchment paper
If you’re planning to reuse your parchment paper for non-baking uses, you may want to give it a good basic cleaning first.
- First, gently remove any lingering crumbs or baked-on pieces.
- Cut away any parts that look burned (do not reuse burned parchment paper!).
- Wipe the parchment paper on the used side(s) with a soft damp cloth.
- Allow to air dry—then it’s ready to reuse!
Try these simple hacks to keep used parchment paper useful for longer!
1. Roll out for kids' table placemats
Dreading the cleanup at the kids' table after your latest dinner party?
- What to do: Place sheets of parchment paper beneath each child's plate. After dinner, collect and toss (or reuse!).
2. Incorporate into crafts and scrapbooking
The original parchment paper was actually made of animal hide—plant-based parchment paper came later. Today's parchment paper is often relegated to the kitchen but has many applications outside (and those delicately browned used sheets are great for creating "historical" documents in world history class!).
- What to do: Parchment paper can be used to create crafts as diverse as bookmarks, lampshades, greeting cards, and even stippling (pushing through many small holes)—you can make small stippled parchment paper boxes and place a single candle inside to line your walk at a festive evening party!
3. Create a safe work space for "hot" projects
Because today's baking parchment paper is usually silicone-based, it can withstand heat up to 420-450 degrees Fahrenheit safely (check the specific brand you use to find out exact temperatures).
- What to do: Before using a glue gun, hot iron, hair dryer, or other heat tools, just place a sheet of used parchment paper (or two) on top of the surface you will be working on.
4. Use as an ink or paint palette
The next time you and the kiddos are facing a rainy indoor day with nothing to do, why not break out the parchment paper, pour on some ink or paint, and make art!
- What to do: You can use raw potatoes to make shapes and dip them in the ink to create stamps. As a paint palette, you can dip and swirl colors to your heart's content, and no paint will ever leak through to stain the table.
5. Place over your car's floor mats on rainy days or beach days
Parchment paper makes the perfect temporary floor mat if you anticipate messy feet, whether from a muddy lawn, sandy beach, or other reason.
- What to do: Just place used sheets of parchment paper over each of your floor mats to protect them from grime, sand, mud, and dirt.
6. Donate it!
If you're not the crafty sort, you can make someone else really happy by donating your used parchment paper to the cause and do your part for the planet too.
- What to do: Donate your used sheets to Don't Toss It crafter's marketplace, where eager crafters on a budget are waiting to reuse it!
7. Make your own non-stick pan
Parchment paper is like a removable, reusable non-stick pan liner—literally. It is helpful here to remember that parchment paper will only resist temperatures up to 420-450 degrees Fahrenheit (check your specific brand to be sure).
- What to do: Here are some ideas—you can use parchment to line a bread or cake pan instead of oil or cooking spray. You can even place parchment paper between a raw egg and the pan to keep the egg from sticking!
How do you reuse parchment paper?