Shared Reading: 110 Best DIY Tips


I love do it yourself (DIY) projects, but sometimes they just don't go as planned. In honor of their 110th anniversary, Popular Mechanics has released a list of 110 best DIY tips from the past 110 years of publishing their magazine. Many of the tips are for major projects, but below are a few of my favorite tips for everyday things. I recommend viewing the entire slideshow because all the tips are amazing.

No Sliding on Siding
"Jars of bolts and screws that are placed on shelves near power tools often are shaken off the shelf because of vibration from the machinery," according to our July 1946 issue. Clapboard siding, then and now, is beveled. The end that would face downward on a home's exterior is wider than the end facing upward. Nail the siding to the shelf with the flat face down and the wide end at the shelf's edge. This tilts the shelf toward the wall. (Slide 21)
This tip can also come in handy if you have neighbors that keep the subwoofer all the way up. Just pick something that looks nice and matches your decor. I've also seen shelves that have a slight lip to prevent stuff from falling off.

Soap Speeds Screws
Wood screws turn more easily in tight-fitting holes when threads are rubbed with a slightly wet bar of soap. (Slide 26)
Remember the old expression "if it moves and it shouldn't use duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should use WD-40?" Soap actually works as a good lubricant too. I know people that use dish soap for stuff because it helps it move by dissolving some of the dirt and grease that's making it stick.

Thirst: The Other Mother of Invention
To quickly make a bottle opener, drive a nail into a board so the head stands proud ½ inch. Bend the shank and grab the bottle by the nailhead. (Slide 33)
So your friends are coming over and you can't find the bottle opener? If you have a simple toolkit at home, you can quickly make your own. No more filtering your drink through a coffee filter to remove broken glass.

Interior Orientation
To locate identical positions on opposite sides of a wall, we showed a method using a bar magnet and pocket compass in October 1943. The magnet, attached to a suction cup, holds the position on one side of the wall. On the other side, a compass points to the magnet so the spot can be marked. (Slide 35)
The magic of magnets. Now if only this tip would help to find the studs in the wall.

Defend the Home With a Putty Knife
To protect painted walls and other delicate surfaces when using a hammer to pull nails, wedge a putty knife beneath the tool's claw, our August 1954 issue recommended. (Slide 47)
Great advice if you're taking a small nail out of the wall. I can't begin to count the number of walls I've ruined trying to pull out a single nail.

Bottle Caps Drain Potted Plants
"When pebbles or ceramic fragments are not available for use as drainage material in the bottom of a flowerpot," we said in November 1956, "metal bottle caps make a good substitute." Place them with the crimped edge down to cover the entire bottom of the container. (Slide 55)
Don't bother lying because we all know you have extra bottle caps lying around.

Check out Popular Mechanics for the entire list of 110 DIY tips.


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