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The best bank holiday DIY hacks

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The extra day of a bank holiday weekend makes it the perfect time to carry out those household tasks you’ve been putting off.

If you’re planning on doing some DIY over the bank holiday or any other time this summer, the following tips from Nationwide’s community can help you to save time and money while still doing a great job.

Many uses of the humble elastic band

Who knew how handy a simple elastic band can be for DIY? Sharon explains how they can be used to help worn screw heads.

“If the screw head has worn away, put an elastic band over the top and then put the screwdriver in. It acts as a grip and you can then safely and effectively remove the screw.”
And Kimberley’s tip could help save mess and wastage when painting. 

“Wrap a rubber band around your paint tin. Vertically. It will stretch across the top and you can wipe your brush against it to remove excess. The excess paint will wipe off and drop back into the tin and not drop down the side.”

Preparation is key

Many of our members said they’ve started a DIY project before to find they don’t have the right supplies or tools, which really slows things down. So, a bit of preparation upfront saves time down the line. As Sarah says:

“Preparation is key! Especially when decorating, cleaning all surfaces, filling in holes etc. This takes quite a while but once the prep’s done it's much easier than starting and stopping.”

Re-inventing the pallet

Our members do love using wooden pallets to make almost anything! They can be picked up for free from some recycle centres and can be turned into garden furniture, decking, coffee tables or even just chopped down to use for fire wood. Time to get creative?

Baby wipes for paint spillages

Mums will already know the magic of baby wipes. Adele told us that they’re great to use for any paint spillages on skirting boards and wooden floors.

Sticky note dust collector

Adrian’s tip saves time cleaning up mess after drilling a hole in the wall. “Stick a sticky note under where you will drill, fold a crease in it and it will catch the dust!” And if you don’t have a sticky note to hand, other members suggested a similar idea using an envelope.

Cling-film isn’t just for keeping food fresh

If your painting project isn’t finished in one day, Nichola’s cling-film hack will save you time, as the brushes don’t need washing until you’ve completely finished the job. 

“Wrap your paintbrushes in cling-film overnight to prevent them drying out to save time washing them.”

Learn on the job

A few of our members suggested tackling bigger DIY projects with a helping hand from YouTube. 

“We built our own house; my husband used YouTube for all the DIY and has learnt how to do plumbing, plastering, tiling, roofing etc. So proud of him!” said Joanne.

Save fingers with pegs

A common DIY accident is a hammer to a finger, but this tip from Izzy provides a simple solution using something that most people will have in their home.

"Use a peg to hold a nail in place when hammering it in; it saves your fingers if you're clumsy like me.”

Give old furniture a new lease of life

Instead of throwing old furniture away, save money by upcycling it with a lick of paint, changing the handles or even reupholstering faded or dated fabrics. Pam saved an old coffee table by upcycling. 
“Just spent a few hours sanding and painting a pine coffee table that was about to go to the tip. Looks brand new now, I’m so pleased!”

For more home improvement tips and advice on a range of financial matters, visit