100 Home Improvement Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
Sometimes those head-scratching home improvement moments turn into aha! ideas.
Build a Ball Tower
New Uses for Old Glove Fingers
Make a Squeegee From a Rake
Old Sneakers as Ladder Bumpers
Double Up on Stubborn Nails
Nails can be a pain to remove, especially trim nails with small heads and any nail when the head breaks off. The trick is to use two tools together: locking pliers to grab the nail shank, and a pry bar to do the pulling.
Garage Floor Dam
Use a Rubber Band to Grip Stripped Screws
Hands-Free Light Hack
Rubber Band Clamps
Rubber-Band Bolt Holder
Keep your drill(s) and accessories organized and close at hand to make your DIY projects run smoothly. By investing just two hours, you can build this wall-mounted drill dock to house everything you need. There’s a top shelf for accessories, a wider lower shelf for larger items such as battery packs, and the clever use of 3-inch PVC piping makes hanging holsters for different drill attachments. Here’s our guide to five must-have attachments.
The instructions for this drill dock include advice on how to customize the dock to fit your drill and you can even add a power strip to the bottom shelf to keep everything charged and ready to go. In addition to basic tools, you’ll need a circular saw, a jigsaw and a clamp to complete this project successfully.
- Lift the front edge of the stone with a pry bar and slip two pipes underneath. Place one near the front and one about midway so the stone rests on the pipes.
- Position the third pipe a foot or two in front of the stone.
- Roll the stone forward onto the third pipe until the rear pipe comes free. Then move the rear pipe to the front and repeat.
This technique works best on relatively flat ground. On mild slopes, you’ll need a helper to shift pipes while you stabilize the load. Don’t use this method on steeper slopes.
String Pipe Cutter
Storage Pockets for Skinny Things
Get a Grip
PVC Sanding Files
- 1/2-in. i.d. = 7/8-in. o.d.
- 3/4-in. i.d. = 1-in. o.d.
- 1-in. i.d. = 1-1/4-in. o.d.
- 1-1/4-in. i.d. = 1-5/8-in. o.d.
- 1-1/2-in. i.d. = 1-7/8-in. o.d.
To apply sandpaper to the pipe, spray both the paper and the pipe with a generous layer of adhesive. Let both surfaces dry several minutes before joining them. Use two grits on each pipe—80-grit for sculpting a precise radius, and 100- or 120-grit for finish sanding. When the sandpaper’s worn out, just pull it off, spray fresh adhesive on a new strip and go back to having fun. Check out these other genius sanding tips.
PVC Curling Iron Holsters
Overhead Storage in the Garage
Caulk Tube Nest
Quick-Draw Table Saw Accessories
PVC Dust Catcher
Vacuum dust and chips right at the source! Bolt a 2-in. pot magnet (available at home centers and hardware stores) to a 4-in. x 2-in. PVC pipe reducer and position it near the sander, saw, router or lathe that’s making a dust storm in your shop. A 2-in. shop vacuum hose ‘press-fits’ nicely in the 2-in. reducer end, and the pot magnet ferociously grips any metal surface.
If the working surface near the dust source is wood, screw a blank steel electrical box cover to the surface to hold the dust chute on target. Find many more tips on using your shop vacuum for workshop dust collection in this guide.
PVC Tool Pockets
No-Ladder Gutter Cleaner
I-Spy Rain Gutter
Use PVC pipe to build a bike rack. Perfect for a corner of the garage, this DIYer used PVC to make a bike rack that holds five bikes upright. Depending on your bike wheel specifications, you can modify dimensions so they all fit snugly. You can also build a wall-mounted bike rack with storage.
Courtesy of Quinnatotor via Reddit
Help keep your home office space organized by using PVC pipe to hide cords. Just wrangle all those computer, mouse, monitor and phone cords and hide them in some PVC pipe. You can even use some colorful tape to match your office décor. Try these 10 easy DIYs for a home office.
Table Saw Fence Sheath
It’s a lot easier to crosscut boards on a table saw or use the surface as a workbench without the fence in the way. But where do you put it? How about tucking it away in a piece of PVC pipe bolted to the saw base? Buy and install a length of 4- or 5-in.-diameter PVC (measure your fence first!). Rip the leftover pipe in half and screw it to the top of the sheath. It’s a great shelf for push sticks, wrenches, featherboards and other accessories. Thanks to Martin Kipp for inspiring this tip! Check out some other savvy storage tips around the house and the garage.
Drawer Organizers on the Cheap
Slit some up PVC pipe down the middle and you’ve got stackable drawer organizers to keep all your small tools handy. See why a pool noodle inside a kitchen drawer isn’t such a crazy idea.
Central Vacuum for the Garage
Install 2-in. sanitary tees on the ceiling and drop a pipe near each car door. Install a long 90-degree bend and a stubout to connect the hose. Cap off the stubout with a standard 2-in. pipe cap when not in use. Check out the complete plans to upgrading your garage here.
PVC Pipe Blade and Bit Organizer
I always seem to have extra bits, jigsaw blades and other small items lying loose in my toolboxes and bags. To keep things organized, I cut different diameters of PVC pipe to the lengths needed for my accessories. I glue one end cap in place, put my items inside and slide on the other end cap. Use a marker to label each container and you’ll be able to find all your bits, blades, screws and whatever when you need them. — Tom Richardson. Have a religious experience in your garage with these 27 life-changing tips for your garage.
PVC Plastic Bag Dispenser
After building a PVC fence, I was left with a few extra 2-ft. lengths of fence post. I turned one of them into a home for grocery bags that I reuse. I stuff them into the top and pull them out the bottom. If you don’t have any leftover fencing, 3-in.-diameter PVC pipe works well too. Attach it to the door inside a pantry or closet, or to a wall of your workshop or garage. — reader Dave Mitchell. Get those bags out of the way in the kitchen too, and organize your kitchen.
Sprinkler Socket System
If you use spike-type sprinklers, try setting them into permanent sockets made from 1-in. PVC pipe. Not only will these sockets make moving the sprinklers a snap, but they’ll keep the sprinklers upright and shooting water where you want it. Water you lawn efficiently and save some big bucks with these tips.
Cut a 2-ft. length of 4-in. PVC pipe lengthwise with a scroll saw, creating a trough that’s a little more than half the pipe’s diameter. Glue or screw in 1/2-in. thick wood partitions to create compartments for often-used screw and nail sizes. To make it tip-proof, trace the pipe’s curve on a couple of scrap 2×4 blocks, power-sand or saw out the curve, and screw the pipe on this scrap block base.
Use a saber saw to cut lengthwise notches in a 30-in. long piece of 3- or 4-in. dia. pipe then glue on a PVC end cap. Drill pilot holes in the pipe opposite the notches and screw the quiver to a shop wall. Your notched-out quiver will hold any size dowel— from standard 36-in. lengths to stubby leftovers—for instant access. Thanks to reader George Marchalk for sending this tip down the pipeline.
PVC Spring Clamps
If you’re ever in a pinch for spring clamps, reader John Larson advises making them yourself from short sections of PVC pipe. Use 1-1/2 to 3-inch diameter pipe, cut into 1-1/2-inch wide sections; slit the sections across the width. They’ll give 8 to 10 pounds of clamping pressure for all kinds of gluing and holding tasks.
Quick Woodworking File
Use a Sneaker to Clean Sandpaper
How to Magnetize a Screwdriver
Kitty Litter Pouch for Tool Protection
Caulk Gun Clamp
A rubber chair leg cap instantly converts a hammer into a rubber mallet. And if you want to drive a nail without denting the surrounding wood, cut a hole in the rubber cap. Pound until the rubber strikes wood, then finish driving the nail with a nail set. A 1-1/8-in. rubber cap fits tightly over most hammers and costs about $1 at home centers and hardware stores.
How to Fix a Square
Lighted Screwdriver Hack
Saddles for Sawhorses
Vise-Grips to Pull Nails
Six-Pack Shop Organizer
Six-pack cartons are useful for storing and transporting items like spray paint, lubricants and caulk. — reader Gerald Fitzgibbon
My house has round ceiling registers for the air-conditioning system. In the winter, we’d get cold air falling from the registers. Rather than put up with the drafts, I sealed the registers with those clear plastic saucers that you put under flowerpots. I temporarily glued them in place with White Lightning SEASONSeal Clear Removable Weather Stripping ($15). It’s a rubbery sealant that you apply with a caulk gun and peel off in the spring. — reader James Herrrenknecht
I rake leaves like I’m sweeping the floor with a broom. I always used to get a blister between the index finger and thumb of my lower hand. Now I just keep my thumb and fingers on the same side of the pole. You get just as much gripping power—without the blisters! – reader Kipp Beck
Topsy-Turvy Door Painting
Plus: How to Install a Door
Long Reach Shears
Plus: How to Trim a Tree
Touch-up Without Cleanup
Keep Pictures Level
Plus: How to Use a Laser Level.
Stop Losing Socks
Here’s how to Organize a Laundry Room.
Heat up sticky stuff
Dustless Drilling and Drum Sanding
Whenever I have curves to sand, I chuck a sanding drum into my drill press. The only problem is that the sawdust flies everywhere. I wanted to catch the dust with my shop vacuum, so I made a bracket to hold the nozzle. I glued together two 3/4-in.-thick pieces of medium density fiberboard (MDF) and cut out the curved shape with my jigsaw. When I want to use it, I just clamp it to my drill press table. I made the hole just big enough so that the tip of the nozzle fits snugly. — reader Doug Kaczmarek
Here are other woodworking projects.
File by Grit
Tired of digging through a drawer full of sandpaper and turning over each sheet to figure out the grit, I devised this handy sandpaper organizer using a plastic file box ($17 at Amazon). Each hanging file contains a different grit, and I write the grit numbers on the tabs so I can instantly find the sandpaper that I’m looking for. — reader Lynette Aitchison
My dogs and I have an arrangement. They poop; I pick it up. But rather than make daily trips to the trash can, I built this poop pipe. It’s just a large piece of 4-in. PVC drainpipe sunk into the ground a foot or so, with a trash bag lining it and a cap sitting loosely on top. A rubber band holds the bag in place, and the cap helps keep odors at bay. When the bag gets full, I just take it to the trash bin and put a new one in the drainpipe. — reader Kelley Griswold
Spray-Bottle Pipe Pump
When soldering a fitting onto a copper pipe, you have to get the water out of the pipe or the solder won’t melt. But removing the water from vertical pipes is tricky. That’s when I grab the spray nozzle from a plastic bottle. I just stick the plastic tube down into the pipe and pull the trigger a few times. It helps to have a small cup to shoot the water into. — reader Dean Debeltz
Stir-Stick Paint Organizer
— reader Perry Parson
Here are 8 Great Painting Tips.
Wet-Saw Marking Tip
Use a crayon to draw the cutting line on tile before using a wet saw. Unlike a pen or pencil line, a crayon mark won’t wash off and is easier to see in the muddy water. — reader Mike Winter
Here’s an easy way to tear tape and get a starting edge at the same time. Simply fold the tape under at a 90-degree angle to the roll. Then, with a snapping motion, pull the tape against the edge of the roll. The tape tears, leaving a triangular starting tab. This won’t work with plastic tapes; those must be cut. — reader Chris Henrichs. Plus: How to Tape Drywall
Oil Change Trough
Milk Jug Furniture Movers
Pie Plate Dustpan
Grass Seed Broadcaster
Cardboard Drop Cloth
Wine Cork Wobbly Table Fix
Reuse Nursery Containers
Cardboard Spray Booth
Egg Carton Painting Props
Recycle Peanut Butter Jars
Stop piling dishes with this storage basket
Bubble Wrap® can help prevent blisters by placing some on the handle of a rake or a broom.
Skinny Laundry Room Cart
Get Out the Leaf Blower
Handy Rake Handle
Save your back when raking mulch or shoveling heaps of dirt by adding another handle to your long-handle tools. A section of PVC pipe with a tee fitting and cap work perfectly. Add a screw through the tee fitting and into the handle for won’t-budge stability. Check out these other genius handy hints.
Mix Concrete with a Rake
Makeshift Trench Tool
Close Paint Cans with Less Mess
Drill Bit Girdle
Handy Rag Cutter
Zip ties are great to have on hand for quick repairs and fastening jobs around the shop. I like to zip-tie one end of an electrical cord so it stays with the cord reel. I keep the connection loose enough that I can pull out enough cord to reach an outlet. — reader Oliver Rodriguez
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 do any repairs in unlighted spaces. Everywhere I look is illuminated. — reader Nathan Rodgers. Plus: Safety gear every DIYer should own.
Dinky Door Bumper
Stay-Put Drawer Organizer
I have always hated the way drawer organizers move around when you open and close a drawer. I solved the problem at my house with a pool noodle!
I measured the distance from the back of the drawer organizer to the back of the drawer and used a utility knife to cut the noodle to size. The pool noodle fits snuggly in place, so the drawer organizer doesn’t move around anymore. You could also cut the pool noodle in half lengthwise to reduce the amount of space that it takes up. — reader Roy Allison
Lift Gate Protection
When you open the lift gate of your van or SUV, it’s easy to hit a cross brace of the garage door and chip the paint on the gate. Protect it by using a swim noodle as a cushion. Just slit the swim noodle with a utility knife and slip it over the brace. You can also use pre-slit foam pipe insulation. If it slips off, use double-face tape to hold it in place. – reader Mary Sprang. Plus: These pickup truck bed hacks are simply amazing.
I spend a lot of time on my ladder, and leaning against the rungs all day was taking a toll on my shins and thighs. Then I got smart and slit pieces of my kids’ pool noodles lengthwise and wrapped them around the front of the rungs. Instant relief! The cushions are easy to move as you work. Just make sure you never stand on the pool noodles, and always place them higher than you’ll step since they can create an uneven step or fall off if you step on them. — reader Dave Switzer
I recently installed new gutters. When it came time to clean them out, I didn’t want my metal ladder to dent or scratch them, so I made ladder protectors out of an old swim noodle (foam pipe insulation would work too). I cut 2-ft. sections of the foam noodle, slit them with a razor knife and stuck them on the sides of the ladder. They were the perfect cushions! If the foam doesn’t stay put, tape it on. – reader David Gugliuzza
Limit the Mess and Get the Job Done
Sometimes major demolition inside the house is unavoidable. You can limit the pain and discomfort this causes by moving the debris out of the house quickly and getting rid of it promptly.
Lay Down a Protective Path
It’s impossible to demo a wall or bust up a floor without making a mess, but that doesn’t mean you need to track that mess all over the rest of the house. The next time you have to tear out some carpet, cut several long strips, and use them as pathways to protect the flooring in other areas of the house. Make sure to flip the carpet upside down so the abrasive backing won’t scratch the finish on wood floors. Canvas drop cloths are still the best method for protecting stair treads.
Save Those Buckets
Buckets are a remodeler’s best friend. They work great for mixing, hauling heavy debris, storing water, dragging tools in and out, organizing fasteners, setting stuff on, bailing water, sitting on. There’s a reason why home centers sell empty ones. Never, ever throw away a usable bucket!
Make a Plastic Passage
Hanging sheets of plastic from the ceiling is a good way to isolate a room that’s being remodeled. But instead of hanging one continuous sheet to keep the dust in, hang two and overlap them 4 ft. or so. That way you’ll have a handy door to walk through, which beats having to duck under the plastic every time you come and go. Lay a scrap piece of lumber on the bottom of the plastic to keep it in place.