Make common DIY jobs easier with these tips from Handyman readers
Our readers share their best DIY tips and tricks
Ticking items off the to-do list is very satisfying but when it comes to DIY, working smarter, not harder, is the best plan of attack.
Tried-and-tested tips from those who have done it before can help you work more efficiently, so you can get the job done faster and with less chance of disaster.
That’s why we love to hear our readers’ Handy Hints and have put together these 15 DIY shortcuts to help you with home maintenance, gardening and more.
1. Dust catcher
To drill a hole without making a mess, use masking tape to attach an open envelope to the wall underneath where you’re drilling. The envelope will catch any dust and keep the floor clean.
Jonathan Heathcote, TAS
2. Clever clips
Attach bulldog clips to electrical cords, then hang them on hooks to eliminate trip hazards. The clips are also a good way to keep multiple cords organised.
Philippa Clapham, QLD
3. Colour code
Secure a cable tie at the top and plug end of a power tool cable. Use a different colour for each tool so that when working with multiple power tools, you’ll easily know which plug belongs to which.
Ryan Johnstone, QLD
4. Rustic solution
To make a budget and effective rustic timber stain, add one ream of plain steel wool to a cup of white vinegar and use it to give timber an aged and weathered look instantly.
Nicole Tapp, TAS
5. Top down
Always start painting furniture from the top and work your way down. That way, if any paint drips get on the base of the piece, they will be covered by the final coat.
Catherine Brauer, NSW
6. Leak prevention
If you have a habit of forgetting to turn the hose off at the tap, there’s a way to avoid burst connectors flooding the backyard. Drill a tiny hole in the hose near the tap and the small spray of water when it’s left on will remind you to turn off the water.
Patricia Comer, NSW
7. Oil slick
When nailing into hardwood, rub the nail in your hair first. The natural oils and sweat will make the nail much easier to knock in without bending it, and the timber absorbs the oils so the nail stays stuck fast.
James Sizer, ACT
8. Nail holder
Use a blob of Blu-Tack to hold small nails in place before hammering them in. This keeps your fingers clear of danger and the Blu-Tack can be re-used over and over again.
Carrol Ham, QLD
9. Photo finish
When you need to disassemble something to repair it, take digital photos of each stage so you can use them for reference when you reassemble it. You can enlarge the photos on a computer for clarity.
Joyce Hall, WA
10. Hot dog
To stop your dog digging up your new plants, sprinkle chilli powder around them. This natural method repels dogs and also works as a pest deterrent.
Kristopher Evans, ACT
11. Odour away
Place a cotton ball soaked in an essential oil inside the vacuum cleaner bag and it will leave a nice scent while vacuuming, so your home smells fresh and clean.
Tanya James, VIC
12. Battery band
Put a rubber band around batteries that are fully charged and remove it when it’s been used, so you’ll always know which ones are ready to go. Add a label to track how many times it has been recharged and how often.
Lorraine Stacey, NSW
13. Dent defence
To get furniture pressure marks out of wool carpet, cover with a tea towel and lightly iron over the spot. The fibres will quickly spring back into shape.
Clare Willis, VIC
14. Upside down
When you’ve finished using gloss paint, put the lid back on firmly, then turn the tin upside down to store it. That way the skin forms on the base and not the top.
Alasdair Hirst, VIC
15. Magnet magic
Put a large magnet inside your pocket and attach screws, nails and other metal fasteners to the magnet from the outside of your pocket for easy retrieval while you work.
Ben Kimpton, SA