In virtually every store that carries summer accessories, you will find tall boxes holding long colorful foam noodles. They are wonderful flotation devices for both children and adults at neighborhood or home pools. Pool noodles are available in different colors, thicknesses and shapes–round, petal edges and star-shaped, among others. These inexpensive compressed foam tubes have a hole down the center and can be cut with scissors or sliced with a serrated knife.
I do not have regular access to a pool, so I did not have any pool noodles until my dear friend Deborah showed me how she uses these for the water aerobics classes she teaches each summer. We used hers when we relaxed in the water at our family river cottage. As she and I hung our arms over the pool noodles and drifted in the cool water soaking up the sun and visiting, I had time to study the pool noodle and considered other uses for it.
Since my initial introduction to pool noodles, I have read about lots of other uses people have found for them. Slice a noodle, and place it over the sharp edges of a glass coffee table to protect small children. Slice a pool noodle in half and attach one end of one half to a kitchen chair for small children to use as a race track for small toy cars. Slice a noodle to the appropriate lengths to slip into knee boots to support them in your closets. Take a plastic tray and attach with waterproof glue two pieces of a noodle cut to fit the length of the tray; this creates a floating tray you can use for snacks while floating in the pool.
When I came across a red star-shaped pool noodle at a discount store last summer, I just knew I could figure out a way to make use of it in some way for a patriotic decoration. I am a total fan of all things red, white and blue–if the store had carried a blue and white pool noodle, I would have bought them to go with the red star one. But since they didn’t have any blue or white ones, I just carried on with the red one.
Back at home in the kitchen, I took a serrated knife and began to make several half-inch slices in the pool noodle. Playing around with them, I thought that I could score a round tunnel in each slice and place a striped paper straw in it This could dress up a place-setting by using a milk-bottle glass with the star-studded straw. You could also use several of these star straws (with the star pulled to the end of the straw) in a milk bottle vase as if it was a vase of flowers.
These star slices would also work very well as a garland if tied together with fishing nylon or ribbon. You could attach them by using a large rug needle with the nylon or ribbon to go through one of each star’s points. The garland of stars could be used along the edge of your buffet table, on the wall above your table or along your fence, deck railing or across your pool.
The star slices could also be used as table confetti, scattered between the food platters on your buffet table. Long barbecue skewers can be easily stuck into the star slices and stuck into vase or a half melon in the center of a fruit platter, These stars on skewers could also be stuck into flower pots on your table, deck, patio or yard. You might also use the star slices like confetti floating in your pool. Your guests can still swim and enjoy the water while the pool foam slices are floating.
I finally decided to float star slices in a large clear glass compote bowl in the center of my table. I tried blue food coloring in the water for a patriotic look, but decided that I liked clear water best.Then I added a few scattered star slices around the base of the bowl. You might want to set your bowl on top of a cakestand for height.
When you have finished using the pool noodle slices for your event or the season, make sure the slices are dry and bag them for another use in a plastic storage bag.
Try some of these star pool noodle centerpiece ideas this summer. Please remember that you can do all these things with pool noodle slices of other shapes and colors. Adapt these ideas to suit your needs and experiment for fun!