Newspaper is a wonderful multi-purpose product that certainly has a place in your stockpile, which could be used within the house, and also for outdoor survival.
Let’s see some functionally valuable survival uses for newspaper if SHTF.
Insulation for Walls or Pipes
When building houses 100 years ago, newspaper was often used as insulation. It was cheap and effective.
Should you find yourself in a situation where you have to build an abode, or your home is damaged and you need to fix it in SHTF situation, newspaper is a great insulator.
You can also wrap your pipes in it at night to prevent them from freezing.
You can, of course, use newspaper as a fire starter as-is. Just wad it up and put it underneath your kindling. Or, you can roll it up or shred it and coat it in wax. Allow it to dry and cut or break into pieces if necessary. When you need to light a fire, just set it on the wood and light it. This is an awesome way to repurpose both old candle wax and newspapers.
Try stirring the shredded paper in wax and then stuffing it into toilet paper rolls. That works really well and gives you something to hold the whole, gloppy mess while it dries. If you’d like, dip the whole thing in wax and use whole or slice. We slice ours into 3 or 4 pieces before it’s completely hardened.
Just like the Sears and Roebuck catalog of old, newspaper will serve quite well as toilet paper in a pinch. Don’t use the glossy paper for this – just the print paper. To make it soft, just wad it up and rub it between your knuckles a little.
If you really need directions for this use beyond this bit of advice, please read our article on Homemade Substitutes for Toilet Paper.
This isn’t myth; it’s fact. Phone books or stacks of newspaper, if compressed together into a solid wall that’s a few inches thick, will stop most bullets.
You can either use this inside your walls or you can build barricades sort of like sandbags in designated areas that you’re planning to use ase defense areas.
Organic Weed Prevention
Instead of using black plastic, layer your garden beds with a layer of newspaper. It’s biodegradable and will stop the growth of weeds just as effectively as the black plastic that many people use. Place a few layers down and weight it by wetting it a bit or by placing some rocks on the corner. The added benefit here is that it actually helps fertilize the soil for the next season, too.
Blanket or Protection from Dampness Under Sleeping Bag
You’ve often seen bums, at least on TV, sleeping under newspapers. There’s a good reason for that: they’re warm! Just a couple of layers of newspaper serves to block the wind and hold in body heat. Of course, the more layers you have, the warmer you’ll be.
A few layers of newspaper will also help to insulate you from the cold or wet ground. Just place it under you before you lie down.
Draft-Proofing or Covering Windows
Just as it works well for insulating you and your walls, newspaper makes an excellent draft-stopper around your doors and windows. Just tuck it into the cracks and you’ll be amazed by how much cold air you’ll keep out (or in, as the case may be in the summer).
If you’re looking for a quick way to cover your windows in order to keep people from seeing in, or to camouflage your house so that it looks less appealing, newspaper works wonders. As a matter of fact, this is one of our favorite survival uses for newspaper. Just wet it with water, or even add a bit of flour to make it stickier, and stick it on the windows.
This has the added benefit of being easy to remove and if you only add one layer, you’ll still get plenty of light but people won’t be able to see in.
Homemade Seed Pots
Newspaper is so easy to work with that you can shape it into just about anything that you want to make out of it.
People wet it and wrap it around balloons to make pinatas and fold it into cute little baskets.
In the same vein, you can cut the newspaper into squares, wet it, and layer it over the end of a baseball bat or other object of similar size. Allow it to dry and voila!
You have biodegradable seed pots, perfectly sized! You can plant the seedling, cup and all, when it’s big enough to set outside.
Entertainment or Education
One of the things that we always stress is that it’s just as important to have entertainment items such as cards and books in your stockpile as it is to have weapons and food in order to alleviate boredom and maintain morale.
Old newspapers are great sources of reading material; there are almost always great articles, comics, and informational pieces as well as current news in there so that you’ll keep your mind occupied by reading it. Also, if you have kids who are learning to read, newspapers will be a good way to practice those skills.
There are a ton of uses for old newspapers if you just get creative. You can use them as lint-free ways to clean your windows, and to make papier mache decorative items. Toss them in the rack beside your fireplace to help you get your fire started or use the funny papers as an original, environmentally-friendly way to wrap gifts.
When researching the topic of survival uses for newspaper in an attempt to find some great ideas on top of what we already knew, we came across some absolutely ridiculous ideas. One was using the newspaper as a weapon, that we just believed pushed the boundaries of common sense unless you have absolutely nothing else to throw at an enemy. Even then, we’d suggest running instead of trying to beat them to death with the comics section.
Just as with all survival decisions, use your head and be logical.
If you have some great ideas about survival uses for newspaper, please share them with us in the comments section below!