The Handy Mano


Winter is upon us, and with it, scant daylight and often gloomy weather. What better way to brighten up your mood than making a vibrant DIY Christmas wreath for your front door? And if you’re trying to make the season as zero waste as possible, a foraged wreath is an easy, affordable, and highly satisfying project. You don’t have to be a gardening expert or florist—all you need is some sprigs of foliage, a few materials, a cosy work area, and your favourite festive playlist! Hot drinks are optional.

Materials you’ll need to make your DIY Christmas wreath:

Materials you need for a DIY Christmas wreath

For your foraged winter wreath, you’ll need the following materials:

Step 1: Forage for your foliage

For your foraged materials, explore your own garden for foliage or ask a friend, family member, or neighbour if you can take clippings from theirs. Another great way to forage is to scan the local landscape while you’re out walking the dog or going for a run. Look for evergreen foliage in a range of colours and textures for your wreath. 

Be mindful when foraging. Never cut from private property unless given permission. To ensure your wreath is environmentally-friendly, only take one cutting from each plant or bush you see. It’s also important to shake, rinse, and examine your cuttings to avoid kidnapping hidden insects or molluscs.

After collecting your foraged materials, you can condition them by placing them in water for a few hours or overnight. This will help keep your wreath from drying out too quickly.

If you have ivy or other vines taking over your garden, you can use them to make your wreath frame. Length and quantity are up to you, but test your vines to see if they bend into a circle without breaking. Remove the leaves and any scraps for the compost. 

Next, experiment with the size of wreath you want, tying the vines together with your hobby wire or even some smaller vines. You can also purchase a frame made from wire or willow branches.

Step 2: Make your foliage bundles

There are many different ways to make a wreath, but this tutorial uses the “bundle” method. You will be making small bundles of foliage—like a small bouquet or nosegay—that you will attach to your frame.

To make your bundles, set your clippings out in front of you, grouping them by type. Play around with groupings of the same foliage and combinations to see what looks best. The length and thickness of each bundle depend on your foraged elements, the size of your wreath frame, and whether you prefer minimalist or fuller wreaths.

Next, take a piece of floristry or hobby wire and wrap the wire around the lower part of your bundle—around one-third—until it is secure. Once you’ve finished wrapping the wire, twist the two ends of the wire together to secure it. Don’t go overboard with the wire, as it will be difficult to remove for composting when it’s time to take down your wreath.

Repeat this step to build all of your bundles.

Step 3: Tie your bundles to the wreath frame

Now it’s time to put your wreath together! You may find that all your bundles fit perfectly, or you may need to experiment as you go along, trimming back or adding here and there. Just remember to keep wire and foliage scraps separate so you can recycle and compost waste materials from your project.

Cut a suitable length of wire and tie your first bundle onto your frame, wrapping the wire a few times until it’s securely attached. 

The idea is to overlap your bundles around the circle, covering the stems and wires of previous bundles. 

After your first bundle is securely on the frame, tie another one underneath, being sure to cover the stem and wire of the first one. Spin the wreath in a counter-clockwise direction as you add on more bundles and cover your frame.

While adding your bundles, you can try out different combinations and make adjustments as needed. Some people like to leave portions of the frame open for a more rustic or minimalist look. For a full wreath, keep adding bundles until you have fully covered your frame.

DIY christmas wreath

Step 4: Display your DIY Christmas wreath

When winter sets in, there’s nothing like a burst of colour on the front door. But how you hang your wreath depends on the type of door you have. 

If your door already has a suitable doorknob, nail, or hook in a central position, you can try hanging it as is. If you want to adjust it vertically, you can tie some ribbon on the top and play around with different lengths before tying a knot or bow. If your door is metal or glass—or if you don’t want to do damage with a nail or hook—a metal or plastic door hanger will allow you to hang your wreath safely. 

DIY Christmas wreath can be hung on the door

You may wish to display your wreath indoors. If this is the case, it will likely dry out after two weeks due to indoor heating. To keep it fresh longer, spray it with water every couple of days. Outdoor wreaths, on the other hand, can last as long as four to six weeks, depending on various factors such as conditioning, type of foliage, and weather.

When the time comes, dispose of your wreath by composting the foraged elements and recycling the wire. To do this, first pull off any bundles you can. You may find the stems have gotten smaller as they’ve dried out. For the rest, cut off the wire, being careful not to mix recyclable and compostable materials. And if you used a pre-made wire or vine frame, keep it for your next DIY wreath project. 

Did you enjoy this article on a DIY Christmas wreath? Why not read our tutorial on a DIY Christmas Tree made from wood or even our guide on how to hang a Christmas wreath!

Are you making your own DIY Christmas wreath from foilage too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Are you an early Christmas decoration planner, or do you prefer to put everything up on Christmas Eve? If you’re one or the other, or somewhere in the middle, you won’t want to miss this step-by-step tutorial on how to make a DIY Christmas tree out of wood. It is so sweet that you won’t want to take it down when the holidays are over!

We all want a beautiful Christmas tree to decorate our home during the holidays. There is always the option of getting an artificial Christmas tree, but why not make your own unique wooden Christmas tree this year? The main advantage of making the tree yourself is that you can make it the size and colour that you want, to make it perfectly fit your home decor.

In this tutorial we will show you how to create a DIY Christmas tree with a very original and minimalist design.

DIY Christmas tree: Tools and Materials

Tools you need for the DIY Christmas tree

DIY Christmas tree out of wood: Step by step tutorial

The main advantage of this wooden DIY Christmas tree is its original design. It is not just for Christmas, and will be a fabulous decorative addition to your home all year round. The best part about it is that you don’t need to start looking for a place to store the tree after the holidays.

The level of difficulty is medium, since it requires a bit of practice with the use of the table saw and the mitre saw. Remember that you can also use hand tools for this. You won’t regret making it! It could also be a fun and interesting family activity. The little ones will enjoy helping by painting it and hanging the ornaments.

To carry out this project, you will need about 8 hours. Most of that time will be spent cutting the wooden pieces and waiting for the mounting adhesive to harden. These are the steps to follow.

Step 1 – Cut the wooden pieces that will make up the structure

The external structure of this Christmas tree is made up of a white wooden triangle. Cut the board with a table saw or a circular saw, and use a mitre saw for the angled ends. You will need three boards in total, with the following measurements:

  • 91 x 9 x 1.9 cm and a 45° angle at one end, and a 22.5° angle at the other end 
  • 89 x 9 x 1.9 cm and a 45° angle at one end and a 22.5° angle at the other
  • 71.5 x 9 x 1.9 cm and both ends at an angle of 22.5°

Next, apply mounting adhesive to the ends to fix the wooden boards. Begin with the top of the tree by joining the two ends cut at an angle of 45°. Don’t join the ends themselves, glue the end of one board to the other board, making sure that one end follows the other in a straight line. For the base of the tree, use the board with both ends cut at an angle of 22.5°.

Lastly, cover the sides of the triangle with self-adhesive edging tape.

Step 2 – Make the tree branches

Cut the branches of the DIY Christmas tree

The internal structure of the tree consists of several wooden strips, each measuring 1 metre long and 21 mm thick. The widths of each strip will be 58, 44, 34 and 21 mm.

For the central part or trunk, use a strip of wood measuring 79.5 x 4.4 cm. You can then arrange the rest of the wooden strips randomly until you are happy with the design of the internal part of the tree. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Trace with a pencil the inner space of the triangle on kraft paper.
  2. Place the slats on the paper and mark the angles with the help of a carpenter angle ruler. You can also use a protractor for this.
  3.  Cut the pieces with the mitre saw or with a handsaw.
  4. Join the strips with mounting adhesive.
  5. Apply woodstain in an oak tone to highlight the wood grain and to protect the wood.

Step 3 – Fix the DIY Christmas tree together

After following these steps, all you have to do is fix the internal part of the tree to the outer wooden structure. To this end, apply mounting adhesive to the upper and lower parts of the tree trunk and on the ends of the branches.

Remember that the main advantage of this tree is that you don’t have to put it away once the holidays are over, since it can be easily integrated it into your home’s decor.

Place the tree on top of a few boxes that have been decorated with Christmas patterns, which you can also use to store gifts inside.

Step 4 – Light it up!

DIY Christmas tree

Last but not least, hang LED garland lights around the tree branches inside the tree, and show off your fabulous handmade Christmas tree!

Did you enjoy making this DIY Christmas tree? If you did and you like original and unconventional Christmas trees for your home, you can find more inspiration in this post on 10 alternative Christmas trees!

Multifunctional office guide by The Sanyas Home

As many of us are balancing work between the office and home, there’s a need now more than ever for households to have a home office space. Finding the perfect balance between decorative and practical is easy, and you don’t need a big budget either. In this guide we will share 6 tips to creating a multifunctional office to take your work from home space up a level.

We planned on turning our guest room into an office, however then had a dilemma of where our guests would stay when they came to visit. We then realised we needed a multifunctional room which we could use both as an office during the day, and a guest room when needed. In this guide we will share our top tips for getting the most out of your multifunctional office space, alongside what materials we used for our room transformation.

Multifunctional office space – the tools & materials we used:

Multifunctional office space: 6 top tips 

1. Decide on the room and what you want out of the space

First things first, you need to identify which room you can make multifunctional. Do you have a room in the house that is perhaps not being fully utilised?

We picked our guest room as the ideal room to turn into our multifunctional office, which was a recent addition to our house when our extension was built. Initially it only had a bed in here which took up the majority of the space and didn’t allow for the room to be used for other purposes, and with guests only staying on the odd occasions, we felt it was not being properly utilised.

The space before
The space to transform into a multifunctional office
The space to transform into a multifunctional office

We knew we wanted the space to be multifunctional; a place where we can work and a place where our guests can come and spend the night. Knowing what we wanted to use the room for helped us with how to maximise the space and choose the furniture we needed.

2. Compile a list of items you will need in your multifunctional room 

Measure up the room first and then plan out your space. As with most offices, it’s ideal to have a desk where you can work from. We wanted a compact desk as the room needed to cater for other furniture as well. 

Once we found the right desk, we began searching for a sofa bed – the bed element can be used by our guests and the sofa by us when taking a break from work. 

We opted for a sofa bed instead of a bed, as it takes up less space in the room when the bed element of the sofa bed is not in use. Therefore, this multifunctional piece of furniture allows us to fit more in the room.

We particularly like the idea of having books on display in the office, so we chose the bamboo bookshelf, as not only is it practical but it also looks great.

We needed a chair we could use when sat at the desk but also somewhere we could sit when recording video content, so we decided to go for more of a feature chair than the traditional desk chair.  In a multifunctional room, it is always worth picking furniture that can serve a number of purposes. 

3. Try upcycling furniture 

Prior to buying new items, it is worth having a look around your house to see if there are any key pieces you already have that might be worth upcycling to match the aesthetics of the multifunctional room.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have any suitable furniture to upcycle, and we therefore decided to get a cost-effective desk that we could upcycle to match the aesthetics of the room.  We opted for a finishing coat of while on the wood surface and then gold for the metal legs. 

When upcycling, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Sand the wood surface as this will allow the paint to bond well to the wood 
  2. Prime the wood surface as this increases the durability of the painting job, helps protect the wood and creates a smooth surface for the finish coat
  3. Paint the wood surface to your desired colour 
  4. Consider spray painting any metal pieces to your desired colour

4. Consider doing an upholstery DIY

If you already have a sofa or chair in your house that needs sprucing up, you could perform an upholstery DIY on it and add it to your multifunctional space.  

Sofa before upholstery
Sofa before upholstery

We chose to perform an upholstery DIY on the sofa bed and turned it into a boucle sofa bed, as we currently love this material and aesthetic. This was really simple as we only needed the boucle material, scissors and staple gun. 

The great thing about how we performed the upholstery is that if we ever get tired of the boucle trend, we can easily take the material off and utilise the sofa bed in its original colour and material. 

Upholstered sofa
Upholstered sofa

5. Accessorise the room 

Adding accessory items such as plants, wall art, vases etc is a great way to bring your multi-functional office to life.

Add stylish shelving to the multifunctional office

As our main accessory pieces, we chose to add an artificial banana tree and we really love what it does to the space.  We also added the ManoMano gold metal round wall shelf behind the desk for some stylish storage.

6. Arrange your multifunctional office

Ah, the final result where all the hard work is now visible. Given you’ve carefully planned your space well, you should now be able to move the furniture in the right places to maximise the space. For our space, the sofa bed is better placed in front of the window, whilst the desk and the bookshelf were better positioned by the wall in the middle of the room.

Mulitfunctional office space
Mulitfunctional office space

We are super pleased with how the space has turned out! The multifunctional office looks inviting and with the sofa bed upholstered and the desk painted white, it makes the room feel really spacious. 

We are Tunde and Konge Sanya of @the.sanyashome. We’ve been married for 6 years and together we live in a 1930’s semi-detached house with our 9 month old daughter, Arielle.  We have been renovating our house for just over 4 years, and recently added a wrap around extension.  

Pantry makeover tutorial by @fourcornersinteriors

Viewing our home almost 4 years ago, I fell in love with the fact that the kitchen was a decent size yet had a separate utility space at the end of it. But I knew immediately that the orange wood units, floor to ceiling tiles and dated fixtures had to go! After a slow renovation and re-renovation process of our home over the 3.5 years living here, we saved the best till last with the kitchen and utility renovation. A choice I don’t regret because aside from discovering new DIY hacks that made the old kitchen liveable, I was able to really assess how we used the space in order to determine our needs for a pantry makeover and bar area! In this blog post I will discuss how I planned the spaces and the thought process as well as trends that influenced the design decisions!

We also created a breakfast bar which we styled in partnership with ManoMano – keep reading to the second half of the article!

Pantry makeover guide

Step 1: Planning

Planning & dimensions for the pantry makeover
Planning & dimensions for the pantry makeover

When you have a small space to work with, measurements are vital. Not just to ensure you order the right items, but also to ensure you maximise the space! The first thing I did was measure out the full width and length of the room to assess what I could fit in it. I knew from our existing use of the space that we wanted to store food items, laundry items, our washing machine and deep freezer as well as tools and small kitchen appliances. 

I made a quick sketch of how I envisioned the space, noting all the things I could think of that would be stored and then began sourcing. I tried to be as precise as possible with regard to spacing between the shelving to ensure none looked uneven.

Step 2: Prepare the shopping list for the pantry makeover

Once I had a plan in place, I could get to the fun part – shopping!

Using ManoMano’s search engine is definitely my preferred way of navigating the site. And through it, I was able to select the perfect items for the new dual purpose space. It was important to us that we have sustainable and long wearing furnishings made from wood and metal for our pantry makeover; both were easily fulfilled with the options on the site. 

I selected 4 key pieces from ManoMano to achieve the perfect pantry makeover:

  • 6 industrial style Shelves – I knew I wanted something a bit more rustic and industrial for the pantry. It was also really important to me that we use sustainable materials. So when I saw the 140cm solid wood shelves with black brackets, I fell in love! 
  • Black and gold industrial light – the perfect lights to not only illuminate what is quite a small space, but also very in keeping with the modern industrial style I was going for. 
  • Three tier laundry cart – easily one of my favourite unique finds for the space is this laundry cart. I am constantly throwing things on top of the machine to include in washes, often mixing up colours in tow! So this cart seemed like the ideal way to store laundry and also cart the washing out to the drying line. Plus the baskets are removable so they also work well as general laundry baskets!
  • Pots and Pans rack – we had a wooden pots and pans rack in our previous utility space. It was highly functional but very old so the wooden hooks often fell off. Finding a metal replacement that was smaller in size was perfect!

Step 3: Demolish it all and reassess plans 

With the help of a contractor, we completely stripped the room down to the bones. Removed the existing floor to ceiling green tiles, wood cladded wall and ceiling and changed the flooring. 

Before pantry makeover

We used concrete screed to even out the floor and installed plasterboard and then plaster to ready the walls for painting and fitting. 

Once all stripped down, I quickly realised that the even corner I had sketched out, was not possible. I assumed the chimney breast below that poked out of the corner was removable cladding and as a result, ordered the same 140cm shelves as for the main wall. It also meant the shelves on the main wall wouldn’t be perfectly lined up as planned. Fortunately, as the chosen shelves were solid wood, we were able to cut them down to 90cm using a mitre saw similar to this one here. And on the plus side, I got 2 extra shelves out of it!

Step 4: Install the brackets 

Install the brackets for the pantry makeover

We used a laser level to mark out the points where the brackets needed to be installed. We did this initially before painting to prevent any cracks in the paint or imperfections in the finish. 

Shelves up
Shelves up

The shelves were heavy (solid wood and all) so it did require two people to lift and place onto the brackets before screwing into place. 

Step 5: Pantry makeover finishing touches

Pantry makeover with shelving and organisation
Completed pantry makeover

I filled the shelves with rows of glass and bamboo and cork lidded jars, installed the lights and pot rack, and added the laundry cart and with some additional storage baskets. And so our pantry makeover was complete! 

In addition to the pantry makeover, we also renovated our entire kitchen – below I’ll explain how I also partnered with ManoMano to create some style with function!

Bonus makeover: Breakfast bar

I managed to include two different styles in this renovation – industrial style for the pantry makeover and modern lux in the kitchen but I really wanted to find a way to include another design style I love: Japandi!

Breakfast bar: before
Breakfast bar: before
Breakfast bar: after
Breakfast bar: after

For this I decided to change the layout of the wall units on the left side of the kitchen. Rather than seeing the large unit in straight view upon entry to the room, I moved that unit to the left of the door. In its place I selected a pair of 120cm floating shelves. These serve a dual purpose; creating the illusion of more space, since the eye can now see the full length of the room to the wall. But also my favourite part – styling! Of course I wanted an excuse to add some purely decorative pieces to the space and some plants too!

The materials used for the Japandi breakfast bar:

  • Chopping boards – ManoMano stock some pretty quirky shaped chopping boards! I love how they are functional but can also be really stylish. 
  • Ceramic vases are great for creating that popular Japandi style
  • Real plants are a great addition to any shelving and these plant pots are perfect to store them
  • But if you’re not particularly green fingered, these cute artificial plants are very on trend
  • White & gold cutlery
  • Show-stopping bar stools

With the addition of the pantry, I knew we would not lose any space by altering the unit design of the new kitchen. By replacing the units and drawers with a shallow unit to allow for an overlapping breakfast bar, it fit in perfectly.

All I needed were the perfect kitchen stools. ManoMano basically read my mind, stocking a pair of the gold geometric stools I had my eye on but with the added luxury of velvet cushion pads. The stools create the perfect focal point in the room and that added opulence achieved by using gold as an accent.

Breakfast bar stools

Finished off with heat resistant placemats to protect my new quartz worktops and the ever so stylish complimentary white and gold cutlery sets, our kitchen dreams have truly been made!

Breakfast bar inspiration

Did you enjoy this article on a pantry makeover and breakfast bar styling by Four Corners Interiors? Why not read our tutorial on a DIY window seat or even our wall and ceiling paint buying guide!

Are you creating your own window storage bench too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

DIY window seat tutorial by Little Terraced House

Victorian houses have surprisingly little storage, so I am always looking for solutions to create extra space for all our clutter, without compromising on the style of the house.  This blog will take you through a DIY window seat with storage in a bay window – creating a stylish space to sit and hide away your bits and bobs.  You can find more about our renovation and DIY projects over at Little Terraced House.

DIY window seat: Tools & materials

DIY window seat with storage: Step-by-step tutorial

Step 1. Draw out your plans for your window seat

First and foremost, sketch out a plan of your window seat so that you can work out the lengths of wood required and how much MDF you will need.  I chose to set our seat back a little, as if it had been flush with the corners of the bay window, it would have been far too deep. I also wanted to keep the original skirting board intact, so this guide works around them.

Step 2. Build the frame

Use an angle finder to work out the angles of your bay window.  You then need to set the mitre saw to the correct angle and cut the lengths of wood for your frame as illustrated below and using the plans you drew up at step 1. The cordless Bosch mitre saw is great for beginners as it is light and easy to use. You will need to turn the wood on occasion if it is too deep for the saw to get through in one cut.

Build the frame of the window seat

Use 3.5 inch screws and heavy duty rawl plugs to fix the battens to the wall. Space the screws evenly for a strong grip. Check regularly that the frame is straight using a spirit level.

Using the pocket jig to make holes for you to screw the frame together at an angle. This allows you to easily put it together in situ without having screws sticking out of the frame.  You can then fill the holes with dowels provided in the kit or wood filler. I used wood filler which I then sanded back smooth.

You can also use instant grab adhesive for a really strong hold. Apply this first and then screw the frame together using a range of screws. I used 3.5 inch screws for the main frame and the 2 inch screws to add the support battens.

It’s a good idea to prime and paint the frame now. I didn’t do this, but it would have been much easier if I had!

Step 3. Attach the MDF cladding

The front of the window seat is clad with 6mm MDF sheets.  

Cut these to size using the mitre saw and simply attach with instant grab adhesive and panel pins or screws (only use screws if you plan to panel over the top like I did. Panel pins will be easier to hide with paint otherwise).

MDF cladding to build the structure of the DIY window seat

Use clamps to keep the MDF in place with the adhesive dries. It’ll help get it really flush against the frame.

As with the frame, it may be easier to prime and paint the inside of the cladding before attaching it to the frame.

Step 4. Attach the panelling

If you are panelling your window seat, now is the time to do it (i.e. before you attach the seat). Use 6mm MDF for the panelling.
If you are cutting around decorative skirting boards like I did, you can draw the pattern onto a sheet of MDF using a scribing compass. Once you have drawn out the shape of the skirting board, you can cut out the pattern using your jigsaw. When you have cut the shape out of the board, you can cut it down to size. My panelling is 100mm wide. Where the panelling meets the skirting board, it is 100mm wide at the narrowest part.

You may also wish to include an airbrick at this stage.

Step 5. Attach the seat

The seat is made using 12mm MDF. You could also use ply which would work well.

The window seat has four top sections. The two corners, which are fixed to the frame and the two middle sections which can be removed to access the storage below. You could also add a hinge to these two sections to make it even easier to access the storage.

Use the mitre saw to cut the angled sections. An angle finder will help or a cheat’s way to do this is to create a paper template by simply positioning a sheet of paper and making a fold along the wall, as illustrated below.  

Attach the seat to the DIY storage bench

Attach the fixed sections with screws. Use a countersink drill bit first to allow the screw to sit slightly lower than the top of the seat, then fill over with wood filler.

Step 6. Attach decorative beading

DIY window seat

You can now add decorative beading. I added a half dowel along the edge of the seat using instant grab adhesive and panel pins. You could also add decorative moulding within the panels for a period finish.

Step 7. Fill and finish the window seat

Use wood filler to fill any joins or over any screw holes and sand back smooth. Use caulk around all the edges for a flawless finish.

Step 8. Time to prime

Prime the window seat with a suitable MDF primer and paint as desired for a perfect finish. And there we have it, your very own DIY window seat with storage!

Finished DIY window seat with storage
Finished DIY window seat with storage

Did you enjoy this article on a DIY window seat with storage by Little Terraced House? Why not read our tutorial on DIY ornate wall panelling or even our wall and ceiling paint buying guide!

Are you creating your own window storage bench too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!