Okay, here’s a thing that’s cool: Foam rollers!

I’ve LOVED using the one at the climbing gym the past few months… It’s hugely helpful in keeping my back and neck all happy. Because I’m sitting all day in my desk chair, I think my neck has a tendency to get a little knotted. One good foam roll, though, and it feels much better.

I don’t always have time to waltz over to the climbing gym, though, so I decided to make one to keep for my very own. Here’s the process:

1. Gather materials.

Home Depot has all the stuff you’ll need, including:

  • 1 PVC pipe (I used one that was about 4 inches wide and 2 feet long)
  • enough foam pipe insulation to cover the PVC pipe
  • duct tape
PVC pipe. Duct tape. Foam.
PVC pipe. Duct tape. Foam.

2. Cut the foam so it’s the same length as the pipe. It’s not rocket science; it doesn’t have to be exact. In fact, a couple of my edges hung over and a couple more were slightly too short. It did not make any difference to the end product at all.

Cut the foam so it's the same length as the pipe.
Cut the foam so it’s the same length as the pipe.

3. Use any type of junk tape to secure the foam to the pipe. It probably won’t look pretty, unless you’re Martha Stewart.

I’m using my palm to smoosh the foam down and my thumb to secure it with tape.

You’ll notice that the surface is very uneven. That’s okay! Only the most exquisite foam rollers have textured surfaces for optimum back smoosh.

4. Wrap the whole thing in some fancy duct tape. This makes it look much nicer and ensures that all the parts will stay immobile.


I’ve noticed that when I use it, my homegrown roller is a little bit noisier than a professionally built one. It creaks ominously, and the foam tends to squeak against the plastic PVC pipe. It’s not terrible, though. I think it even adds to the general aesthetic of duct tape and PVC pipe.