I recently ran a half marathon that required participants to pick up their packet and bib number at an expo where various vendors were selling wares/giving out free samples/etc. My fellow runner who I was attending with was drawn into buying a handheld version of every runner's favorite post race therapy: a foam roller. She paid $35 for hers (seen in the image above; believe it or not, that's not actually her though), which was the cheapest one offered. Depending on size and features, they ran all the way up to double that.
After making her purchase, she excitedly showed it to me and told me "It only cost $35!" My response was simply "...really?" I had no doubt that it worked quite well after trying it out for myself, but I thought it was ridiculous to charge that much for one. I promptly told her I could make one for $10.
I was so, so wrong. It actually only cost me $4.
Step 1: Materials
1/2" PVC pipe (2 ft) You can purchase either a full 10ft section or a precut section. I went with the precut section because 1) I am lazy and 2) it was only $1
3/4" PVC Couplers (x10) That is not a typo. You need 3/4" couplers so that they slide freely over the 1/2" shaft. Home Depot sells "Contractor Packs" of 10 for $2.
3/4" to 1/2" Reducing Tee (x2) Make sure to get the one with the 3/4" ends at the top of the T and the 1/2" at the bottom so that the bottom end connects to the shaft to make a handle. Should cost $0.50 apiece.
Optional: 3/4" Caps (x4) If you want to make your roller look fancier/cost more, you can buy 4 of these for about $0.80 a piece. Considering the cost of the project as a whole, I don't think they are worth it/necessary since it is only an aesthetic improvement.
Hacksaw/PVC Pipe Cutter
Rubber Mallet for Optional Improvement #1
Plastic Spray Paint for Optional Improvement #2