What to do with a box full of kitschy swizzle sticks?

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So I bought a huge bucket full of these vintage cocktail stirrers at a flea market, “swizzle sticks,” the guy called them. He said they belonged to his grandparents, from their many vacation get aways. There are a ton from Las Vegas… there’s at least 20 from the Playboy Bunny club! My favorite are the giraffe shaped ones.

I want to do something with them, they are so perfectly vintage… but I’m not sure what. I’m a pretty good DIY-er when it comes to figuring out how to make or do something, but what to use these for has me totally stumped.

I was thinking cupcake decorations, in that so-bad-it’s-good kitschy vintage kinda way. If you have any ideas for how you would use these for entertainment purposes please share!


Here’s what we came up with:

  • These could be a great way for party guests to keep track of whose drink is whose, kind of like wine charms.
  • Use them as skewers for garnishes, cocktails, or appetizers.
  • String them up and use them as colorful kitschy decor.

What are your ideas?

Comments on What to do with a box full of kitschy swizzle sticks?

  1. Oh my god, the giraffes, so cute.

    Um… are they too long to be dangly earrings? Some superglue and earring hooks could transform a few of these. But you probably don’t need ALL of them to be earrings.

  2. You know how some people collect swords/medieval weaponry and display them on the wall in whaddayacallem – sword caddies? Sword racks? Anyway, maybe you could make a miniature kitsch-tastic “cocktail sword” display to hang on the wall.

    The giraffe one would be a perfect addition to a miniature shadowbox display. I have a printer’s tray hung on the wall that I display miniatures and random bits in, and now I must scour the world for my own giraffe-swizzle to add to the collection!

  3. I’d use them to identify my plants and seedlings. Maybe tape a sign to them or a legend for groups (giraffe equals tomatoes, etc). Especially nice if you like colorful gardens, but don’t have many decorative plants.

  4. I think they are all so cool on their own…I would stitch them to a piece of white card board in horizontal or vertical even rows and then frame it! I feel like they so much fun, guest would have a great time just checking them out!! Especially if you have a bar-type area in your home. I would LOVE a find like this, very cool!

  5. I don’t have an awesome collection like that, but we have acquired a couple of cool swizzle sticks. We have this little row of tiny vases that we never manage to keep fresh flowers in. So we just popped the sticks into a few of the vases… it’s not high fashion but I’m sure someone else could run with the concept and make it awesome.

  6. Space them out and stick them in a big piece of foam (the kind used for flowers would work well – you could spray paint it if you want to change the color). Mount the foam on the wall (my guess is that if you pounded in a couple of long nails about halfway and then stuck the foam on it would stay) and ta da! You have a necklace/ring/bracelet holder that prevents things from getting all jumbled up in a jewelry box drawer.

  7. I’d be eyeing them for ironic dollhouse decor — the palm trees and giraffe as-is, the buffalo cut off their stick and displayed as art.

    This plan requires that you have an ironic dollhouse, of course, but such is handy for indulging decorating ideas that don’t fit one’s main living space.

  8. I’d spray paint them and make one of those diy sunburst mirrors πŸ™‚ Or use them for cakes and make little mini bunting/flags and tie them on?

  9. The only problem with using them for their intended purpose is that people have a habit of throwing them away. Perhaps put up a sign like “These swizzle sticks are vintage, please don’t toss them out–PS I wash them thoroughly.”
    I had a friend who took cupcakes to an office party in those REUSABLE silicone baking cups. Everyone kept throwing them in the trash. X_x

  10. Glue them to an exsisting end table, bar, kitchen table… top if hard surface. Build a elevated edge on the perimeter of said hard surface. Fit with either glass or plexiglass. Dont fix it perminently that way you can keep adding and continue the tradition. πŸ™‚

  11. Stab them through little sammiches instead of those dorky toothpicks with the colored cellophane on the ends!
    Also, melt them to be a little bendy and make bracelets and rings out of them!

  12. Oh! I love these. I’d probably line them up in a very evenly spaced and colorful row above a couple of windows or a door frame… depends on what your home looks like, but if you happen to have an old house with big thick stained wood or white door frames and window sills, it’d look pretty great.

  13. I’ve done the hairpin/ hair accessory thing before, it’s a fun vintage summer look! I also love the gardening idea.

    By the way, hang onto these, as I was just thrifting last week (Los Angeles) and they were selling for a $1 apiece. Not saying they weren’t a little overpriced but still….

  14. The little giraffes (and other animals like a monkey) used to come on your drink when you went to Sonic drive-ins when I was a teenager. This was before the era of lids on your drinks, of course. Everybody used to have a collection of them on their visors!

  15. I second the sunburst idea – though don’t spray paint them! Either around a small mirror or a clock mechanism. I think they would look marvelous colour-blocked!

  16. I also just bought a bucket of vintage swizzle sticks, many of the same ones as you have!! Unfortunately my only Playboy bunny has an ear missing πŸ™

    Anyways, I’ve been racking my brain to find a good use for them too, so far all I’ve done is grabbed the ones that match my kitchen and put them by my coffeepot. The sunburst mirror and foam wreath suggestions are probably my next route…thanks everyone!!

  17. I’m very familiar with those giraffes! My grandpa’s company used to make some plastic products. That giraffe was part of a line called “Zoo Piks.” At my grandma’s house we had a pink plastic jar full of the giraffes. We called them “The Georges,” like they were all named George for some reason. πŸ˜›

    My siblings and I would play with them when we went to Grandma’s house. The Georges could stand up on their own, but their necks were so long that they weren’t very stable. They were meant to be swizzle sticks, but there were a whole bunch of other shapes that were meant to sit on the rim of a glass. There were monkeys, long-horned cows, and mermaids. There were also swordfish swizzle sticks. We had a whole herd of the cows. Most of them were brown, but there was one red one that was the queen. πŸ™‚

    When I was little I had no idea that they were designed to be anything but toys. My grandma moved out of her house a few years ago and I don’t think we have any Georges left. πŸ™

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