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13 Flashlight Tips and Tricks

Flashlights do more than brighten up a dark room. Here are some brilliant flashlight tips and tricks that just might surprise you.

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Look For Shadows Flashlight Trick with flashlight at a low angle on the floorFamily Handyman

Use a Flashlight to Look for Shadows

Doesn’t it drive you nuts when you drop a small part on the floor and can’t find it? Here’s help. Lay a flashlight on the floor and slowly turn the light in a circle so it just skims the floor surface. The shadow cast by the lost part will help you spot it. — Gary Stewart.

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No Roll Pool Noodle Flashlight TrickFamily Handyman

No-Roll Mini Work Light

Cut a small section of foam pipe insulation or a swim noodle and wrap it around a small LED flashlight. Wedge the foam into any crack, crevice or corner. – Costas Stavrou.

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Hands Free Flashlight Pliers TrickFamily Handyman

Hands-Free Light Hack

Make a hands-free light in a snap with a flashlight, a pair of pliers and a rubber band. Place the flashlight in the jaws of the pliers, then wrap a rubber band around the handles. That’s it! Point the light wherever you need it.

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Lighted Screwdriver Flashlight TipFamily Handyman

Lighted Screwdriver Hack

No need for fancy hand tools with built-in LED lights; opt for this lighted screwdriver hack instead. Just tape a keychain-size flashlight to the shaft of a screwdriver. In a dark space like inside a cabinet, it’ll shine the light right where you need it.

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Hand Free Light zip-tied to Glasses Flashlight TrickFamily Handyman

Hands-Free Light

I was working under the kitchen sink and couldn’t see what I was doing, so I used zip ties to attach mini flashlights to a pair of safety glasses. Now I use this pair whenever I climb into the attic or attempt repairs in unlighted spaces. Everywhere I look is illuminated. — reader Nathan Rodgers.

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Glass Finder Flashlight TrickFamily Handyman

Flashlight Glass Finder

Cleaning up broken glass is a real pain, but it’s nothing compared with a glass shard in the foot. Here’s how to find them: Get a flashlight and turn off the overhead lights. Scan the floor from a low angle and the shards will glisten, making even the tiniest piece stand out.

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find a flashlight with glow tape flashlight trickFamily Handyman

Find a Flashlight

When the power goes out, you’ll be groping in the dark for a flashlight — unless you wrap one with glow-in-the-dark tape. The tape glows for about eight hours after exposure to light.

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Spotlight For Working Flashlight TrickFamily Handyman

Spotlight for Woodworking

Focus a bright beam of light on your layout lines when you’re doing fine work on a band saw or scroll saw. All you need is a 1-1/2-in. round base magnet with a hole in the center, a Mini Maglite flashlight and a 1/8-in.-thick steel rod.

Bend an eyelet in the end of the rod and bolt it to the magnet. Then strap the flashlight to the other end with zip ties. The setup will stick to any steel or cast iron surface, so you’ll see what you’re sawing! Our thanks to Gary Brandhorst for this tip.

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woman wearing a headlamp flashlight while painting a wallFamily Handyman

Paint Better With Better Lighting

To paint an accurate cut-in line, you need to position yourself to see the line clearly, and you need bright light. One of our Field Editors told us to use a headlamp and it really helps. For cutting in along the ceiling, get your head close to the ceiling for the best view of the cut-in line.

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Paper Plate Reflector Flashlight TrickFamily Handyman

Beam More Powerfully With a Paper Plate

When there’s a power outage, we usually hunt for a flashlight. This is helpful but limited to a small concentrated beam. Broaden that light with a white paper plate, rubber band and clothespin. The plate can be bent to spread the light over a larger area. This means we can still play cribbage when we’re up at the cabin! — Jack R. Reynolds.

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Look For A Glimmer of a contact with a Flashlight TrickFamily Handyman

Look for a Glimmer

When your drop something small and can’t find it, turn out the lights and shine a flashlight across the floor. Transparent items like a contact lens will glimmer.

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Electrical Cable Flashlight Mount TipFamily Handyman

Electrical Cable Flashlight Mount

Tired of holding a flashlight between your teeth while working in the dark? Make a light stand by bending a two-foot section of 12- or 14-gauge electrical cable into a U shape. Attach the light to the ends of the cable with duct tape. The wire can be shaped into a hands-free supporting base for the flashlight or bent into a hook for hanging. — Paul and Haylee Lytle.

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three different LED Flashlightssanyanwuji/Getty Images

Conserve Batteries With LEDs

During a power outage, LED flashlights and lanterns have a huge advantage over incandescent models: They allow batteries to last much longer, typically about six to ten times.

And LED technology isn’t just for flashlights. Consider using “puck” lights designed for under-cabinet lighting. Stick them in bathrooms, bedrooms and hallways so you don’t have to stumble around in the dark.

Alex Shoemaker
Alex is an avid DIYer but had little experience before purchasing his first home in 2019. A Family Handyman subscription was one of his first purchases after becoming a homeowner, and he's been hooked ever since. When he’s not working, he can be found fixing up his 1940s Florida home or relaxing on the beach with his family.