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Super Handyman: Use paint roller plus clothespin

When painting walls, a roller is your best bet. It will help the job go much faster, and your walls won’t show any streaks or brushstrokes. Of course, you’ll usually need to “cut-in” with a regular paintbrush. When I need to take a short break from painting, I prefer to set my roller aside, not sitting in the paint. I have found that if you clip a wooden clothespin to the side of your paint tray, you can set the roller upright, with the handle resting in the clothespin, so that it’s not on a second surface but also not sitting in the paint. Give this a shot and see if it helps you.


Q: My wallpaper shrank! I’m not kidding. I put paper up in the dining room, and it looked good at first, but now the seams are separating.

It’s not horrible-looking, but I see it every time I walk in the room. What can I do to fix this? – K.J.

A: See if you can find or mix some paint that will match the paper exactly and paint the seams. If there is a design, you may have to use several colors. Put your artist’s hat on and see if this will fix or at least hide it.

Tips from readers

We have an old headboard and footboard set that once belonged to my mother. It was for a full-size bed and we prefer a king-size bed, so we couldn’t use it. But I just couldn’t bring myself to part with it, so I had my husband create a bench out of it. The headboard is now the back of the bench, and the footboard was cut in half to create armrests for the bench. A board was used for the seat and will be covered with a cushion when I’m finished with it.

I’m glad we could keep it around and still use it. – L.V.


Baby wipes saved our family vacation – I’m not kidding! I threw some in the car at the last minute, but when my son spilled his milkshake all over the backseat, we grabbed them and cleaned up the mess. It took quite a few, but they cleaned the mess off the seats.

Then we put all of the messy wipes back into the empty jug and closed the lid to keep the smell and the liquid inside. We threw out the jug at the next service station and bought some more wipes for the rest of the trip. – S.D.


As I’ve gotten older, I can see that my strength isn’t what it used to be. One thing I started doing is to rub a thin layer of petroleum jelly around the threads of lids before I close them.

This keeps things from sticking and makes it much easier to turn those lids, even after they’ve been in place for a long time. – T.W.

A super hint

If you use your fireplace during the winter months, call the chimney sweep now. The lines for service are shorter and, if you do have a problem to be addressed, you can get it taken care of before the cold weather sets in.

It is very important to get it checked every year before using it.


If you are looking to replace your old doorbell or just install a new one, check out the Ring Video Doorbell. It’s battery operated (no wiring required) and Wi-Fi enabled with a high-definition video camera.

When someone rings your doorbell, it will alert your phone, tablet or computer, and you can see and hear who is there. It also activates with motion so it can detect someone at your door – regardless of where you put the device – even if the person doesn’t ring the bell, as long as you are within Wi-Fi range.

Check it out at or at your hardware store or home center.

Have a question or a handy tip? Visit Those of general interest will be used in future columns.