TikTok DIY hacks that really work (and one to avoid)

How good are TikTok DIY hacks really? (Getty Images)
How good are TikTok DIY hacks really? (Getty Images)

TikTok can be a great place to learn new skills, particularly when it comes to home improvements.

A recent trend has seen users recommending DIY hacks that could make odd jobs around the house easier, with some videos clocking up thousands of views. 

But while some hacks posted on the video-sharing platform are total game-changers for amateur home improvers, others may not be quite so helpful.

Thankfully the DIY experts at SGS Engineering have put some of the the viral tricks to the test, to see whether they really help (or, indeed, hinder) our home improvement projects. 

Each hack was rated on: preparation time (whether it made the job take longer than it should), additional cost, ease of execution and ultimate effectiveness, (in other words whether it actually works or not).

The results were pretty mixed. 

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While some of the hacks were totally brilliant in terms of making the jobs easier, let's just say others had the opposite impact. 

So before you head to the shed to dig out the power tools, here's a guide to the tricks worth trying and those worth confining to the (work) bench. 

Hack: Using frog tape instead of masking tape for a neater paint line

TikTok DIY 'experts' have suggested using frog tape instead of masking tape to section off areas when painting can lead to a neater edge.

To put it to the test SGS Engineering placed a strip of masking tape and a strip of frog tape side by side, before painting alongside each one, then the tape was removed to see which line was neater.

Verdict: Success!

This hack is easy to execute and leads to a better finish. However, it should be noted that frog tape costs about three times as much as masking tape on average.

DIY hack score:

Prep Time: 10/10

Additional Cost: 5/10

Ease of execution: 10/10

Overall Effectiveness Score: 9/10

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Hack: Storing wet paintbrushes in foil in the fridge to stop them drying out

It’s a common problem - after putting a coat of paint onto a wall, you return the following day to paint again, but the paintbrush is dry and as stiff as a board. 

To solve the issue TikTok users have suggested storing wet paintbrushes in foil in the fridge, with this hack clocking up over 2.5 million views.

To test this one out a wet paintbrush was wrapped in foil and left in the fridge for 48 hours. 

Verdict – Success!

"We tested this hack across 48 hours and found that it worked very well," the experts at SGS Engineering explain. "However, some DIY experts say that using clingfilm is just affective, and you don’t actually need to store it in the fridge."

DIY hack score:

Prep time: 10/10

Additional cost: 9/10

Ease of execution: 10/10

Overall effectiveness score: 8/10

Using Frog tape to create strong paint lines was a DIY success, according to the test. (Getty Images)
Using Frog tape to create strong paint lines was a DIY success, according to the test. (Getty Images)

Hack: Clean rusty tools by soaking them in a salt and vinegar solution overnight

It is generally accepted that once tools are rusty, they are going to stay that way, but some TikTok-ers suggest that placing them in a salt and vinegar solution overnight could restore a rusty tool to its former glory. 

To test it out, researchers used white wine vinegar and rock salt and left a rusty hammer to soak for around 14 hours.

Verdict – Partial success 

This hack has racked up a staggering 3.2 million views on TikTok, however while it had some effect on the rusty hammer, even after a good scrub, it was still far from rust-free.

Experts suggest using white vinegar and leaving items for longer could improve the outcome.

DIY hack score:

Prep time: 8/10

Additional cost: 7/10

Ease of execution: 9/10

Overall effectiveness score: 5/10

Watch: Dad builds a DIY swimming pool for his kids. 

Hack: Using toothpaste to help mark out where to put up picture hooks

Getting a picture hung exactly where you want it on a wall can test the patience of even the most experienced DIY-ers. 

This hack involves applying toothpaste to the back of the frame to mark where you want to hang the hook.

Verdict - Partial success

While the toothpaste did help to show roughly where to put the picture hook, it wasn’t an exact result. 

Using this method wouldn't be great for a full gallery wall, but could work for putting up a picture or two around the house. 

DIY hack score:

Prep Time: 8/10

Additional Cost: 9/10

Ease of execution: 8/10

Overall Effectiveness Score: 8/10

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Using toothpaste to help hang a picture is one of the suggested DIY hacks. (Getty Images)
Using toothpaste to help hang a picture is one of the suggested DIY hacks. (Getty Images)

Hack: Using masking tape to stop paint dripping around your tin

With 8.6 million views, this hack was one of the most popular of those tested. 

Testers applied tape to the edge of a tin of paint that had already been opened.

Verdict – Partial success

Testers found that both frog tape and masking tape delivered a similar result.

While the tape stopped paint dripping down the side of the tin, it remained around the edge of the tin lid.

DIY hack score:

Prep time: 9/10

Additional cost: 9/10

Ease of execution: 9/10

Overall effectiveness score: 6/10

Hack: Using a peg or clip to help you hammer a nail in straight

TikTok DIY-ers suggest using a wooden peg or a clip to hold a nail can help keep it straight as you hammer it in. 

Verdict - Partial success

The testers found that the method definitely helped but wasn’t perfect. "A wooden peg with a tighter grip could be better than the clip we used," researchers add.

DIY hack score:

Prep time: 9/10

Additional cost: 9/10

Ease of execution: 9/10

Overall effectiveness score: 8/10

TikTok clocks up thousands of DIY hacks. (Getty Images)
TikTok clocks up thousands of DIY hacks. (Getty Images)

Hack: Using a rubber band to stop your screwdriver from slipping

If you place a rubber band in between the screwdriver and the screw head, then apply hard, but slow force as you turn the screw, the screwdriver is supposed to grip to the elastic band so that the it doesn’t slip.

Verdict - Fail

Sorry TikTok-ers, but with this hack you’ve got it wrong. The experiment found that using an elastic band didn’t help to get the screw out. 

Experts say this hack would only be useful for someone who doesn’t have the right sized screwdriver ‘bit’, but even then, it doesn’t seem to be a fool-proof method.

DIY hack score:

Prep time: 9/10

Additional cost: 9/10

Ease of execution: 9/10

Overall Effectiveness Score: 3/10

Commenting on the results, Dave Gordon, general manager at SGS Engineering, says: “As experts we were happy to try out DIY hacks, but bear in mind that a disastrous DIY project could cost you money and could be a real headache to put right.

“Though most of the hacks mentioned here are relatively harmless and unlikely to cause any damage to your property and belongings, make sure you have done your research and feel comfortable before taking on a DIY job – you don’t want to regret it later down the line.”

Watch: Home renovation projects best left to the pros. 

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