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12 Brilliant Ways to Use Paint Rollers Other Than Painting

You've probably used a paint roller to paint a wall. But did you know it can help with other DIY projects, too?

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man using paint roller to help cut woodfamily handyman

Portable Roller Stand

Ripping a long board on a small portable table saw can be downright dangerous without extra support. If you don’t have a helper to control the board, clamp a short-nap paint roller to a sawhorse as a temporary roller stand. Tighten the clamp firmly to prevent slipping.

As you move around your work area, carry the sawhorse along, adjusting the roller height if necessary. Now you’ll always have support to safely cut long boards. — William A. Goldbach.

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using paint roller to dust off ceiling fanfamily handyman

Duster for Hard to Reach Places

Unless you play in the NBA, dusting ceiling fans and other high objects is a real chore. Next time, try this: Wrap a dryer sheet around a clean painting roller and secure the ends with rubber bands. Attach an extension handle to the roller and dust away.

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man cleaning leaves out of gutter with paint rollerFamily handyman

Gutter Cleaner

Clean your one-story-high gutters from the ground using an old paint roller on an extension handle. It’s angled just right to push leaves and debris out quickly and easily. — Lee Sens.

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buffing ring with paint rollerfamily handyman

Shine On Roller

Recently I needed to polish brass parts for a project. I didn’t have a buffing disc, so I looked around the shop for an alternative. I saw several paint roller covers that I thought might work — but how to drive them? I found that they fit tightly on a 1-1/2-in. hole saw.

I cut a three-inch length of roller cover, inserted the hole saw and chucked it into my drill press. It worked great, and I’ve used this method often to buff and polish jewelry and all sorts of other items. You can buy buffing compound at a hobby store. — Bill Wells.

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man using paint roller to get far away paint can in truck bedfamily handyman

Roller Reach Stick

Loading and unloading your truck can be time-consuming and tiresome, especially when you have to climb in and out of the bed multiple times. Here’s a solution: Use an extension pole with a paint roller attachment to pull or push items with your feet on the ground.

Any roller head with work for this tool, as long as it’s large enough to hook around items that you haul in the back of your truck. Adding a roller cover makes the tool more gentle for pushing and pulling items that you don’t want scratched.

This tool takes up little space, so you can keep it in your truck at all times. It’ll save you time, and save your back! — Terry Crawford.

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man putting paint roller onto broom stickFamily handyman

A Push Broom Handle Reaches New Heights

You can spend $10 to $70 on an adjustable extension pole for rolling paint in high places. But if adjustability isn’t important or you just want to save a few bucks, try a push broom handle. Most fit perfectly on a paint roller. — Dave Moran.

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person using a paint roller with duct tape to remove pet hair from a small rugFamily Handyman

Remove Pet Hair with Duct Tape

Wrap duct tape around a paint roller cover, sticky side out. Roll the paint cover over furniture or carpet to pick up the pet hair. Add more tape as the surface fills with hair.

The stickiness of duct tape makes it perfect for a makeshift pet hair remover and this method is faster than vacuuming. It also works on seats in vehicles. A sponge or cloth wrapped with duct tape works great for getting into corners.

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paint roller paper towel holder on peg board with other toolsfamily handyman

Instant Paper Towel Holder

If you need a way to hang paper towels in your workshop, find an old nine-inch paint roller, hang it on a nail and put a roll of paper towels on it. You can move it around whenever you want. And best of all, it’s free! — Ramon Chavez.

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hands applying glue to planks of wood with paint rollerfamily handyman

Quick, Even Application

Here’s a smooth tip for spreading carpenter’s glue. Slide a piece of 1-in. diameter pipe insulation onto a 4-in. paint roller frame and use it to evenly roll on the glue. When the job is done, just throw away the insulation. No more wasting store-bought rollers on a one-time job.

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Brilliant ways to use paint rollers that isn't painting Mini Rollers Family Handyman

Make Mini Rollers

Next time you’re in the paint department, pick up a 3-in. roller frame, the type that takes the same diameter cover as a standard 9-in. roller. You can then cut any 9-in. roller cover into three 3-in. covers to fit it.

A 3-in. roller is perfect for painting trim or small stuff like a mailbox, but not every store carries 3-in. covers. This little trick will also cut the cost of the 3-in. roller covers in half.

Mark the 9-in. roller covers three inches in from each end. Cut into equal pieces with a hacksaw, holding the cover steady with a bar clamp. Trim the rough edges of the nap with scissors.

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gloved hand applying stain with a paint rollerfamily handyman

No-Fuss Finish Rolling

Little rollers spread nice, even coats of contact cement or finish over large areas.

To roll without any cleanup, dip the roller into the can instead of pouring the liquid into a paint tray. Get some on the end of the sleeve, lift straight up and carefully flip the roller over the can. The liquid will seep down and drip into the can. Then move over the workpiece for the roll-out. When you’re done, toss the sleeve and seal the can.

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attaching paint roller to shop vacuum hose to collect dustfamily handyman

DIY Dust Collector

If your shop vacuum hose is a little too big to attach to the exhaust port of your miter saw, try this simple but effective DIY adapter.

Cut a 3/4-in.-nap paint roller cover in half and duct-tape it to the exhaust port. The hose should fit perfectly over the roller cover, creating a tight seal that allows almost all of the sawdust to be captured. The thicker the nap, the tighter the seal. Works great!

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.