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5 Handy Tool Substitutes

Sometimes, while in the middle of a repair job, you may find you’re missing the one tool that’s perfect for the job. Not to worry! We’ve got five handy replacement tools to use when you don’t have the real thing.

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1. Paintbrush

For chipped paint touch-ups, wrap a scrap of foam weatherstripping around a clothespin and clip. “Cosmetic sponges also make great dabbers,” says Carlsen.

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2. Measuring tape:

 For rough measurements, you can pick your own pocket. A dollar bill is a hair over 6 inches long, and a quarter is just shy of an inch in diameter.

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3. C-clamp

Hold glued areas together with binder clips. Or for, say, a split table leg, tie string around the leg, leaving slack. Slip a pencil between the wood and string and twirl to tighten. Then tape the pencil in place.

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4. Sandpaper

An emery board can smooth touch-up paint jobs better than the real thing, Carlsen says, and it can “reach tricky areas, like the corner of a window.”

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5. Properly Sized Wrench

If your open-end box wrench is too big for the bolt you are tightening, try filling the gap with a coin.