50 Great DIY Tips - Especially for Us Girls . . .
- Recondition kitchen appliances with bath enamel (definitely going to do this with our old fridge/freezer).
- Typists' correction fluid conceals scratches on paint and enamel surfaces.
- Clean stained or discoloured grouting with bleach on a toothbrush. Also good for mould on walls and window frames.
- Treat scratches on furniture with cod liver oil. Leave 24 hours, then polish (that'll also help get rid of the smell!)
- When drilling into a slippery surface cover with insulating or masking tape to avoid slipping.
- If sawing plywood, stick masking tape along cutting line to prevent it splinteering.
- Loosen putty with paint stripper left for 20 minutes.
- Dip screws or nails in beeswax polish or petroleumn jelly, or press into soap, to lessen resistance when fixing, prevent wood splitting and stop rusting.
- Loosen rusted screws or nails with vinegar left to soak into the head.
- To tighten a loose screw, remove it, glue a matchstick into the hold and replace.
- To stop plaster cracking when hanging a picture, sticky tape spot before nailing.
- If nailing timber which might split, nip off point of nails with pliers and place 'space' end across the grain.
- To remove old laminate, cover with foil and iron over. Laminate should peel off.
- Remove cement splashes or paint drips from bricks by using another brick to rub off.
- Before laying, leave linoleum or vinyl in heated room (or in the sun) for a day, so the roll becomes more pliable.
- Cut vinyl generously as it's apt to shrink. Lino shouldn't be tacked down for a day or two as it can stretch.
- Don't risk damaging a wall by removing old tiles if they're not cracked. Lay new ones on top.
- Treat stains on enamel baths by rubbing in salt on a soft cloth dampened in white spirit, vinegar or paraffin.
- Dents in stripped furniture rise if you leave a damp cloth on them overnight and iron over it the next day.
- To remove burns on wood furniture, try rubbing with silver polish.
- Fill tiny cracks or scratches in wood with a child's crayon. Rub in, then use beeswax polish.
- Treat water and alcohol stains on polished surfaces with cigarette ash and castor oil
- White ring stains on wood respond to a vigorous rub with toothpaste, a mix of salad oil and salt, a dab of mayonnaise of Brasso.
- Cigar ash with olive oil works on white rings where furniture has been French polished.
- Treat white heat marks on a varnished surface with a meths and linseed oil mix.
- Coat cheap second hand furniture with linseed oil. Leave a week, then polish with beeswax.
- Renovate leather furniture by rubbing with two parts linseed oil to one part white vinegar shaken together.
- If a bolt refuses to budge, try a dose of coca-cola or ammonia left to soak in for a few seconds.
- Locks won't stick if powdered graphite is puffed into the mechanism.
- Rub a creaking hinge with petroleum jelly, a lead pencil or washing-up liquid.
- Restore gilt picture frames with a mix of one egg white and one teaspoon bicarbonate of soda. Apply with pastry brush and wipe off with neat washing-up liquid.
- A metallic paint applied over primer on bare wood picture frames gives an antique look.
- Store patch-up amounts of paint or leftover wallpaper paste in screw-top baby food jars.
- If you're only doing a little painting, put the tray inside a plastic bag, which will mould itself to the tray when you pour paint in, and tie the end. Throw away bag when you finish. This saves time cleaning. (Make sure it isn't a bag which has had holes punched in the bottom for safety!).
- To stop drips down your arm when painting a ceiling, push brush handle through a paper plate or an old sponge.
- To stop paint splashes, stick wet newspaper or cling film on window panes. Vaseline on glass keeps the line from straying when painting.
- Loosen pipe joints or radiator valves before painting by smearing on petroleum jelly. They'll tighten up easily when the paint dries.
- To remove stubborn patches of old emulsion, paint over with cellulose wallpaper paste. Leave on ten minutes, then remove.
- Before using a new brush, work bristles to dislodge loose hairs.
- Hair conditioner added to last rinse keeps brushes supple.
- For a thorough cleaning, suspend paint brushes in paraffin.
- Don't buy expensive wallpaper strippers, use warm water and washing-up liquid.
- Paste the wall, not the paper, when working behind radiators and guide paper with a padded coathanger.
- If picture pins or screws in walls are to be used again, insert matchsticks where they have been. They will pop through paper, marking positions.
- If bubbles in wallpaper haven't flattened after 24 hours, prick and, using a cocktail stick or cotton bud, apply adhesive, then smooth down.
- If wallpaper seems stiff, let paste soak in for two to 15 minutes.
- Block gaps between skirting and flooring with an acrylic sealant, draught excluder or timber beading (or newspaper?).
- Stop gaps around windows with non-setting mastic compound.
- It's easier to skim over artex ceilings than remove them, in case they contain asbestos, asbestos is safe so long as it's not disturbed.
- For lots more ideas see Channel 4: http://www.channel4.com/4homes/how-to/walls-ceilings, also http://www.diyfixit.co.uk/ and http://www.ultimatehandyman.co.uk/index.htm
And another site: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property
-are-doing-it-for-themselves.html and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXenwjmJrc4 (I find youtube useful for so much inspiration!)