How to Cut a Rubbermaid Container

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How to Cut a Rubbermaid Container
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Plastic containers, like those made by Rubbermaid, are tough and durable, but you might want to cut them to use the material for other things. A plastic-cutting tool or a plastic-cutting saw works well for cutting through this and other kinds of plastic items. These have very sharp edges, though, so be sure to wear a pair of gloves and eye protection.

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Plastic-Cutting Tools

Experts recommend using a utility knife to cut thinner plastic, but you will have to secure your Rubbermaid container first to keep it steady as you cut. Attach the container to a work surface with a clamp and mark your cut line with a straight edge. Score the plastic with the knife until it makes a deep groove about halfway through. On the opposite side of the plastic, repeat the process; you may have to reposition it with the clamps. After finishing the other side, you should be able to snap off the plastic.

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Another way to cut plastic uses strong cotton thread and a hot needle. Mark a cut line, secure the plastic to the work surface with clamps and pick up a large sewing needle with a pair of pliers. Heat the needle with a lighter and use it to poke a hole in the plastic along the cut line. Now, get a spool of cotton thread and thread one end through that hole, keeping the spool on the top of the plastic piece.

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Unwind the spool around your free hand using about a foot or so of the thread. Pull as tightly as you can and use it like a saw to cut the plastic. You'll need to go back and forth several times, so wear a pair of gloves while doing this unless you want the thread to dig into your skin. If you would rather not use a utility knife or the needle/thread option, you can also buy plastic-cutting tools, like cutting pliers and fine plastic-cutting knives.

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Plastic-Cutting Saws

If you want to cut curves into thin or thick plastic, the best choice for this is a jigsaw. Choose a sharp blade designed for use with plastic. Wood blades can heat up too much and cause the plastic to melt. Experiment with different blades and settings on scrap plastic beforehand to make sure.

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You can use a circular saw or a table saw for thicker sheets of plastic (1/8 inch thick and above). Again, use blades made to cut plastic. Those described as "no melt" are generally fine. The blade's teeth should be uniform in shape and height, close together and evenly spaced. Mark the line, secure the plastic with a clamp and cut through it as you would cut through wood.

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Recycling Plastic Containers

Many homeowners always keep extra Rubbermaid containers on hand and use them when the time comes to give people leftovers or to send food to a needy friend or relative. You can repurpose them if they discolor, have minor damage or are no longer airtight. They are also great for organizing junk drawers, cabinets and closets.

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Plastic containers are also great for organizing crafts. Use them to store ribbons, beads, nail polish, glue sticks and other things. If they have reddish stains from tomato sauce, you can clean them by combining 1/4 teaspoon of dish soap, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of water in the container. Scrub the stains with an old, clean toothbrush. Let it rest for 15 minutes and scrub again. Rinse it with clear water, wipe it with a microfiber towel and dry it before using.

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