A twisty tie is a small length of wire enclosed in a rectangle of plastic, approximately 5cm or 2in in length1. Also referred to as plastic or wire ties, but most commonly as 'twisty ties', they are usually purchased in connected strings, or in large bags of separates. The twisty tie is malleable and bendy, in the same fashion as a piece of wire, but without the immediate risks posed by something with the same threat potential as a bent needle.
Once bent it is nearly impossible to completely restore the twisty tie's original straight nature and the plastic sheath commonly becomes kinked and creased. Considerable use or abuse is necessary to remove the plastic from the wire inside. Scissors tend to resist briefly when attempting to trim the wire, especially if they're not particularly sharp or the manufacture quality of the twisty tie is exceptionally high.
Twisty ties, by and large, are used for sealing plastic bags, from small freezer bags to vast bin bags. Their versatility, however, means that they can often be found doing all kinds of fastening and tying jobs, often on a temporary basis in the midst of some form of do-it-yourself.
Whatever the size, the bag is held closed at the top by being pinched closed with fingers, or fist, about two or three finger widths beneath the lip, and the twisty tie then encircles the neck just above the fingers, keeping the bag closed. Once wrapped around the neck of the bag, one end of the tie is passed over the other, tight to the surface of the bag, and then the ends are twisted, effectively repeating the act of placing one end with the other, again and again. Once twisted several times, the wire remains twisted without unfolding, holding the bag closed. The twisty tie can be released by twisting in the opposite direction until free.
Variations on use and manufacture allow great versatility:
Luminous Twisty Ties - by making the plastic coating light-absorbing, providing brief luminosity in darkness, twisty ties can be used to identify bags of frozen peas or carrots in the panicked moments after the light in the freezer burns out.
Long Twisty Ties - provision of a small supply of long twisty ties to Police officers or store security staff provides a useful back up alternative to handcuffs. Placing the perpetrators hands behind their backs one or more twisty ties can be used to bind their thumbs/wrists together. Household intruders could conceivably be restrained in a similar fashion - though home security of this nature is not recommended.
Coloured Twisty Ties - providing a massive range of colours, twisty ties can be used as the next big fad in do-it-yourself, one-of-a-kind fashion accessories, creating incredible bracelets, necklaces, and rings for the Teeny-Pop Generation. String and shiny things have had their time in the spotlight, so the potential for twisty ties is certainly there. The effect can be achieved at minimal expense in the home with plain twisty ties, paint, and glitter.
The possibilities are endless, undoubtedly creating a veritable ocean of untapped potential.