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30 Home Improvement Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Sometimes those head-scratching home improvement moments turn into aha! ideas.

New Uses for Old Glove FingersFamily Handyman

New uses for old glove fingers

Don't throw out your old work gloves. Cut the fingers off and you'll find lots of uses for them. Use them to protect the tips of chisels when you need to carry them. They're also good for softening the grip of pliers and many other applications.
Make a Squeegee From a RakeFamily Handyman

Make a squeegee from a rake

Need a squeegee in a hurry? Take a piece of pipe insulation and use a couple of cable ties to fasten it to the back of a garden rake. Works like a charm, and you don't even have to take it off to use the rake.
Old Sneakers as Ladder BumpersFamily Handyman

Old sneakers as ladder bumpers

You could buy special rubber bumpers for the tops of your ladders to protect your siding or walls, but why? A pair of old sneakers (who doesn't have some!) and a little duct tape will do the job just fine. Check out some more extraordinary uses for household staples.

Double Up on Stubborn NailsFamily Handyman

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.

Gentle-Grip PliersFamily Handyman

Gentle-grip pliers

Here's an oldie with a twist. Use pieces of garden hose or other tubing to soften the jaws of slip-joint or other pliers so you can grip plated surfaces without damage. The twist? Size them so you can slide them up the handles to keep them handy. Here are 20 more cool tool hacks to try.
Use a Rubber Band to Grip Stripped ScrewsFamily Handyman

Use a rubber band to grip stripped screws

We’ve all stripped a couple of screws in our day. And it normally isn’t a big setback until you need to unscrew it, that is. So the next time you’re in this situation, try a rubber band for a screw grip—find out how.
Hands-Free Light HackFamily 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 of the pliers. That’s it! Point the light wherever you need it. Check out a more detailed description of how to pull off this hack here.
Rubber Band ClampsFamily Handyman

Rubber band clamps

You can buy special woodworking clamps to hold hardwood edging in place until the glue sets, but they're expensive and you won't use them often. Instead of buying specialty clamps, you can modify some of your spring clamps instead. Grab a few rubber bands and presto—instant edge clamps.
Rubber-Band Bolt HolderFamily Handyman

Rubber band bolt holder

Mechanics often use special magnetic inserts in sockets to prevent the bolt from falling out while they try to thread it into a tight spot. You don't need to waste money on those gadgets. Simply cut a rubber band into strips and lay a strip across the opening of the socket. Then insert the bolt head. The rubber band will wedge the bolt head in the socket, allowing you to start threading without losing the bolt. Watch out for these things you should never, ever say while DIYing.
Roll It!Family Handyman

Roll it!

You'd be amazed at how easy it is to move heavy, awkward objects with three pieces of PVC pipe. Move playhouses, yard sheds, empty hot tubs and rocks weighing well over a ton with this trick. Use 4-in.-diameter 'Schedule 40' PVC, which is available from home centers. Here's how to do it:

  • 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.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman