Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’… A DIY Foam Roller

By | June 14, 2013

As I told you guys yesterday, I’m officially announcing to the world, our blog readers that I signed up to run a marathon. That means lots of training in my future and lots of running…and that means lots of muscle tightness, right?

Well, hopefully less muscle tightness after I get good at using my new DIY foam roller!

DIF Foam Roller 11

When I started upping my mileage, I knew I’d need to start foam rolling, as unpleasant as it is, so I went looking for a foam roller.

Did you guys know those are kind of expensive? Sheesh! Here’s one I found on Amazon for $20, but most I’ve seen in stores are closer to $30, or more!

Foam Roller

I figured something this simple had to be DIYable, so Hubs and I set out to come up with a plan.

After a little research and brainstorming, we decided to use PVC pipe as our base. For an other foam layer, some sites suggested using an old yoga mat, which was a good idea except that I don’t have an old yoga map. I don’t even have a nice yoga mat, though it’s on my wish list.

So, we went with Plan B, a pool noodle.

DIF Foam Roller 3

Yup, we picked up this blue hollow noddle at Wal-Mart for about $4.50. (It was a nicer one. The cheaper ones were too skinny and squishy I think.) It’s great because it was already hollow so our pipe could just slide right in.

Now, making this was probably the easiest DIY project ever, so the following instructions might seem like the easiest tutorial ever.

1. Purchase your materials. We were buying some PVC pipe for another project we’re currently working on so we just made sure to get enough extra for me to make the foam roller. Getting the material home was a tight fit in my car.

Loading PVCAlthough not as tight as when we got the pink insulation foam for the travel pin board map. You can see a photo of that uncomfortable trip here. Here’s what it looked like this time:

Hauling PVC

We used 1 inch diameter for the inside of roller. It fit perfectly inside the noodle’s hollow center.

2. Cut the foam noodle to size.

I wanted the pipe to stick out a bit on each side so we could remove it, and I could use it as a handle if I wanted, rolling pin style. You can make it as big or small as you want. We went with 18 inches, which is pretty small for a foam roller, but it works for now. We have leftover noodle we could always use to make a bigger one if we wanted.

DIF Foam Roller

I used a little keyhole saw, which worked great.

DIF Foam Roller 2

3. Cut the pipe to size. We with 2 feet on the PVC, so it would stick out three inches on each side of the noodle. Hubs cut it with the table saw…on the ground.

Cutting PVC

4. Burn the end of the noodle to seal it. This step is optional, of course, but I didn’t want little blue flakes of foam to always be littering the floor after I rolled so I used a lighter to very carefully melt the cut end of the foam and seal it.

DIF Foam Roller 5

It went from looking like this:DIF Foam Roller 4

To this:DIF Foam Roller 6

Much better. And totally worth the 30 seconds or so to do that.

5. Insert the PVC into the noodle. This is where we messed up on our first take. Hubs was twisting the noodle around the PVC to get it on (it’s a tight fit) and the pipe cut through the noodle in a spiral pattern and shaved off some of the inside.

DIF Foam Roller 7

It ended up looking like this:

DIF Foam Roller 8

So, we repeated steps 1-4 above and gave it another try. This time, he just forced it on straight and it worked like a charm.

DIF Foam Roller 9



DIF Foam Roller 10

I’ve used it a few times already and I like it…although it’s a love/hate relationship because boy, is it painful! Everything I’ve read online says it’s so so so good for my muscles, though, and it will get less painful as I do it more. Here’s to hoping that works!

It’s too big to fit in the little cabinet I keep all my other workout stuff in, sadly.

Finished Foam Roller

So, for now, he has a place of honor right in front. I’ll find a place for it eventually.

Finished Foam Roller 2

Have you ever used a foam roller? Ever wanted to make one? Ever ran a marathon? Let’s discuss!

2 thoughts on “Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’… A DIY Foam Roller

  1. Mary

    Rolling those pool noodles on your back is GREAT for when you are in labor!! 🙂 They had us practice on our spouses during one of our birthing classes. So keep the other half of that noodle! 🙂


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