How to Upcycle Used Chopsticks into Toothpicks

How to Upcycle Used Chopsticks into Toothpicks


Upcycling used chopsticks into toothpicks is a fun and crafty way to give new life to old utensils while also making use of their pointed shape. With just a few simple steps and materials, I can transform chopsticks into functional and decorative toothpicks for my home.

Gather Materials

To begin, I’ll need to gather the necessary materials:

  • Used wooden chopsticks – These will serve as the base material to make the toothpicks. I can save chopsticks from takeout orders or ask friends and family to contribute theirs.

  • Sandpaper – A fine grit sandpaper is ideal to smooth and shape the chopsticks.

  • Craft knife – This will help trim the chopsticks to size. A sharp blade is safest.

  • Ruler – To measure and mark chopsticks for cutting to toothpick size.

  • Pencil – For marking cut lines on the chopsticks before cutting.

  • Scrap paper – To catch wood shavings while sanding.

  • Toothpick holder – A mason jar, cup, or other container to store the finished toothpicks.

Prepare the Chopsticks

With my materials gathered, it’s time to prepare the used chopsticks for crafting. Here are the key steps:

  • Wash – I first wash the used chopsticks in warm, soapy water to remove any food residue or oils. This helps the sandpaper grip the wood.

  • Trim – Using a craft knife and ruler, I’ll trim the chopsticks to about 2-3 inches long, the ideal toothpick length. I’ll cut off the tapered eating ends.

  • Sand – Next, I lightly sand the cut chopsticks to smooth any rough edges and round the corners. I’ll do this over scrap paper to catch the wood shavings.

Shape and Decorate

Now for the fun part – shaping and decorating my upcycled toothpicks! I have a few options:

  • Round and point the ends – For basic toothpicks, I’ll use sandpaper to carefully taper each cut end of the chopstick into a rounded point. I can shape both ends into points or leave one end flat.

  • Create patterns – Using the craft knife, I can lightly carve or notch simple patterns into the sides of the toothpicks. Lines, zigzags, diamonds, or dots work well.

  • Stain the wood – For colorful toothpicks, I can use wood stain or acrylic paint to add color. Bold hues like red or black look modern and striking.

  • Add glossy sealant – As a final step, I can coat my carved, stained, or natural wood toothpicks with a non-toxic sealant spray to give them a glossy finished look.

Use and Store Toothpicks

Once my customized toothpicks are complete, I can put them to use around the house! Here are some ideas:

  • Set them out in a cup on the dining table or kitchen for meals.
  • Place them in a desk organizer to keep office spaces tidy.
  • Put them in a handy mint tin to carry on-the-go.
  • Display extra toothpicks in a mason jar, wine glass, or other fun holder.

With a simple upcycling project, I’ve given used chopsticks new purpose while adding custom handmade touches to everyday toothpicks!