Some kitchen hacks are definitely helpful in a pinch, but others are vital for saving both money and time (and time is money, right?). These DIY kitchen hacks will save two of your most precious resources — and make you look like a total badass at your next cookout. (Hint: You’ll need to invest in a drill, duct tape, a Home Depot card and access to your grandmother’s attic.)
1. Pepper and sea salt drill
Back when he was still doing Good Eats, Alton Brown showed us how to amp up our pepper grinders to save more than time and money for those of us with typing-related carpal tunnel syndrome — our wrists! He uses an old film canister, but any plastic lidded canister that fits your pepper mill will do. You can save a ton on a set of electric salt and pepper grinders by using the same drill and rigging both to fit it.
2. High-powered, 1-minute potato peeler
A giant bucket filled with water, an unused toilet brush and a drill — that’s all you need to peel all the potatoes you need in under a minute.
3. Dollar store cotton candy machine
Renting a cotton candy machine is expensive, and the cheaper ones you buy are small and may not be that high-quality. But you can make your own larger, more high-quality cotton candy machine for around $45. This one starts off looking pretty primitive, but they show you how to dress it up after you’ve tested it. Bonus method for using candy instead of sugar included.
4. Pimped-out grill
Turn your regular grill into the perfect convection oven for pizzas and artisan breads by adding a smoke box and fan.
With an additional piece, you add even more convection power to your grill, making it suitable for cooking just about anything, even during harsh Canadian winters (which this hacker literally does!).
5. Trash can cold smoker
If you’re a fan of cold-smoked (low-temperature) recipes, use an old portable barbecue grill, a trash can and a few other easy-to-find supplies to make your own cold-smoker at home.
6. Cardboard box food dehydrator
For under $20, you can make this food dehydrator with supplies you probably already have at home. Beats spending over $100 on something you’re not sure you’ll use.
7. Christmas light timer-automated coffee machine
This one requires zero tools, we promise. Just hook your coffeemaker up to a Christmas light timer, and follow the directions in the video.
8. DIY heat diffuser
If your stove has hot spots or if you just need to heat something low, even and slow, a heat diffuser is a must-have. But anything but the highest end will eventually warp. If you’re not committed to keeping your diffuser on your stovetop, whip out this diffuser hack anytime you need it.
9. DIY cookie cutters
This video features Tetris-shaped cookie cutters made from old soda cans. It also features a sneaky cat and a Brit saying “ah-LUM-in-ee-um” repeatedly. With a little creativity, you can skip their Tetris template and come up with your own designs.
10. Paper shredder pasta machine
Not sure you’re really ready to make pasta from scratch every time? Use that old shredder to try it before you buy it.