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
Get a better grip on your straight-handled shovel by epoxying a 1-in. PVC tee to the end.
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
Before I made this caulk nest for my shop, the tubes rolled all over the shelves like slippery logs. To build one, cut 10-in.-long pieces of 2-in. PVC pipe and glue them side to side with PVC cement. To get straight glue lines, use the print along the side of the pipe as a guide. As you glue, hold the pieces together for 60 seconds with hand pressure or a clamp until the glue sets. Be sure to apply the glue only in a well-ventilated area. Glue on one tube at a time to fit the available space. That’s it— your caulk tubes are now organized.
Quick-Draw Table Saw Accessories
Keep your table saw’s miter gauge and push stick within easy reach with a couple of sections of 1-1/2-in. PVC pipe bolted or zip-tied to a convenient spot on the frame under the table. Attach the miter gauge holster using the existing frame bolts, or drill holes in the legs for machine screws. For the push stick holster, we drilled a couple of sets of matching holes about an inch apart on the pipe and tautly zip-tied it to the leg.
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
Holster your screwdrivers, chisels, files and other hand tools in 3-in.-long pieces of 1/2- and 3/4-in. PVC pipe. Cut away the upper open section with a hacksaw or band saw, drill a hole, screw the piece on a board, and drop in the tools. If you’re using a band saw, slice off the cutaway section from a long length before cutting off the 3-in. holster.
No-Ladder Gutter Cleaner
This gutter cleaner is inexpensive, takes about 10 minutes to make and will help you avoid ladder climbing. Buy 3/4-in. PVC pipe, two elbows, a garden hose coupling and a cap at a local home center. Drill 1/16-in. holes in the cap as shown. Make the handle long enough to comfortably reach your gutters, and cement the parts together with PVC glue.
I-Spy Rain Gutter
Here’s a quick and easy way to eyeball rain gutters for possible clogs—before the next downpour causes an overflow. Cut a 60-degree angle on the end of a piece of PVC pipe and tape a hand mirror to the angled end. Hoist the mirror above the gutter to spot leaves and mini jams.
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. — 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 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
Bobby Pin Nail Holder
Vise-Grips to Pull Nails
Wine Cork Caulk Saver
Six-Pack Shop Organizer
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
— Doug Kaczmarek
Here are other woodworking projects.
File by Grit
— Kelley Griswold
Spray-Bottle Pipe Pump
— Dean Debeltz
Stir-Stick Paint Organizer
– Perry Parson
Here are 8 Great Painting Tips.
Wet-Saw Marking Tip
– Mike Winter
Oil Change Trough
Milk Jug Furniture Movers
Pie Plate Dustpan
Grass Seed Broadcaster
Cardboard Drop Cloth
Wine Cork Wobbly Table Fix
Reuse Nursery Containers
Photo: Luke Miller
Cardboard Spray Booth
Egg Carton Painting Props
Recycle Peanut Butter Jars
Keep your K-Cups close
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
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. — 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. — Roy Allison
Lift Gate Protection
– 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.