Top Tips


Kids often mimic what you do and want to learn how to become a mini-you! So, if you’re a frequent DIY-er like us, your child is sure to have seen you around the house with a few tools in your hands here and there. This blog post is here to help them understand what you’re doing and to let them feel involved… as well as guaranteeing yourself your own little helper for your projects! We’re not kid-ding. 😉


Safety first

Start off by introducing your toolkit and explaining what each tool is and what their functions are. Make sure they are aware of what’s sharp, what’s powerful, and how to properly hold each one. DIY can be dangerous, so it’s vital that they know which tools are which and that they must be used with care!



All kids love to paint. Whether you do a lick of paint to cover up a mark or completely repaint your living room, they’ll want to get involved! Giving them tips and tricks is really useful, like how to keep a streamlined up and down motion, and doing corners when there’s less paint on your brush or paint roller. Show them how you would paint on your surface of choice with your explanation and let them repeat after you. They’ll pay lots of attention in the hope of doing it exactly like you!



The one point to be made about sanding is that it’s crucial when working with wood and is  easy to demonstrate. Sandpaper is really cheap and easy to use, let them play around and experiment with it. If you’re ever concerned about the risk of splinters, any form of protective glove could give you some peace of mind as well as keep looking like a professional. 😉


Hammer and nail

Using a heavy hammer to hammer sharp nails into in a block of wood could sound like a dangerous prospect, but with the right guidelines and materials you have nothing to worry about! Galvanised felt nails are ideal to use with a beginner as they’re short with wide heads. Additionally, instead of wood, rigid foam insulation is a great alternative, as it is much softer so the nails can go in more easily, so your kid is much more likely to – quite literally – nail it in one go!



Explaining the danger of a sharp saw is crucial. It is important to teach the child the best way to grip the handle of the saw so that they are as far away from the sharp edges as possible. Using a foam core is much more child friendly, and by fixing it to a workbench it won’t move around, and your child can focus more on how to saw in straight lines.


Screw into drywall

A drill is a very powerful tool! Using something less intense such as a powered screwdriver will lessen the impact and is easier to learn to coordinate. Wood you believe that screwing into drywall is much easier to drill into and you can always give your kid a wooden surface once you feel they are confident enough, and it can act as a reward!


We hope that you’ve learnt that teaching the basics of DIY doesn’t need to be complicated at all! It’s a great feeling to be able to pass on a life skill to your loved ones, not only giving them a sense of accomplishment but you feel good too! Happy DIY-ing! 😄



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Bathroom Renovations – Mistakes to Avoid

Are you thinking about renovating your bathroom? If so, then you may want to try and avoid these mistakes which occur often with bathroom renovations. Such mistakes may appear mild at the beginning, but could cause a major disaster long term. Bathroom renovation mistakes can cost a fortune to correct, and also be very time consuming. Many people fail to realize that a bathroom is the only place in the house that is subjected to harsh environmental conditions. Bathrooms can become very humid, and experience a large range of temperatures. Warm temperatures and humid conditions create a breeding ground for mold, especially if the bathroom lacks ventilation. Bathrooms are in constant use, not only by you, but your guests too.
Spend your money wisely. Design your bathroom the correct way by avoiding these top 5 bathroom renovation mistakes:

1. Inefficient Bathroom Layouts

A bathroom should have enough space to ensure one is comfortable while using it. The items to be installed in the bathroom should not occupy the entire space. Sometimes there is not enough space left to comfortably access the shower. It is usually an uncomfortable experience to always squeeze yourself in the shower on daily basis. You should always be alert to avoid this bathroom renovation mistake by having a bathroom plan drawn to scale. It is usually a good idea to have your bathroom design drawn up by a professional designer. Many bathroom suppliers offer a free design service, which involves drawing a 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of your bathroom design. They will probably come up with ingenious ways to maximize on space that you had not thought of. It will sure help you avoid a lot of sizing mistakes which happen during bathroom renovations.

2. Poor Quality Bathroom Products/Furniture

When it comes to bathroom furniture and fittings, you normally get what you pay for. Although a cheap tap may look nice and shiny, it could have a poor-quality chrome coating. Some metallic coatings may not be durable enough over a long period of time. Some may even be more sensitive to harsh cleaning products such as bleach. It is worth investing money in known brands when it comes to taps and metallic fittings such as handles. If you want the best, then consider using stainless steel where possible, as it is very resistant to corrosion. Another important bathroom item is the shower. Invest money in a decent shower with excellent seals. Simple showers are likely to stay cleaner for longer then ones with lots of grooves and edges.  Frameless showers are very low maintenance as they are constructed from less parts.

3. Inefficient Ventilation

This is a probably one of the most common mistakes which occurs during bathroom renovations, and it is a complex one too. When a bathroom has an improper ventilation, problems will start arising. Inefficient ventilation can be a breeding ground for mold. Also, lack of ventilation may cause more condensation to form, resulting in damp patches on walls. Any materials within your bathroom that naturally absorb moisture such as wood could also become affected over a long period of time. We always recommend using extractor fans that vent directly to the outside, rather than recirculating ones. Although extractor fans are essential, they can be noisy. There are many types of extractor fan which are activated in different ways such as light switch, pull cord, motion sensor or even humidity sensor. Personally, we prefer light switch activated extractor fans because they can be switched off immediately when leaving the bathroom, rather than a 15-minute time delay.

4. Choosing the Wrong Bathroom Tiles

This is another issue that is common among those who are renovating their bathrooms. Did you know that some wall tiles require sealing? If this is not carried out, then mold is likely to grow within the pores of your tile material. Always ask the manufacturer is your wall tiles require sealing before installation. Another thing to consider if the tiling grout. Tile grout is the most likely things in your bathroom to become moldy first. Therefore, it may be a good idea to have less tile grout by installing very large tiles. Also, you should consider of tile grout colors such as dark grey. Not only do other colors look different and fantastic, it will help to hide mold that will grow in years to come.

4. Choosing the Wrong Bathroom Flooring

Bathroom floors get wet on a daily basis, which is why selecting a suitable floor is important. Most people underestimate the importance of bathroom flooring. If you are choosing tiles, then make sure they have a rough surface. Installing smooth tiles on the floor can be dangerous when wet. Non-slip flooring will help you prevent unnecessary injuries, especially when getting out of the bath or shower. Some people think they can use normal laminate wood flooring. However, they soon find out that water can penetrate the wood structure of this flooring, causing it to swell and break apart. If you are after a laminate wood look, then we recommend using Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT). They are similar to laminate flooring as they are tongue and groove. But the difference is the material, as they are 100% plastic and therefore waterproof, making it ideal for bathroom renovations!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Warton Woodworks
Enjoy this article about mistakes during bathroom renovations? Warton Woodworks is a Loft Conversion and Home Renovation Company based in Essex, UK. They have extensive experience in the fields of carpentry, loft conversions and home renovation. More articles like this can be found on their Home DIY Blog, which is part of the Warton Woodworks website. Articles are based on their real world projects and experience.

If you’re new to woodworking, you likely know (or will soon learn) that there are many ways for your project to be just a little bit off. Whether a joint won’t line up or your measurements are just a little too short, it can be incredibly frustrating to run into roadblocks throughout a project. Here are some of the most common woodworking errors that beginners run into (categorized in before, during, and after the project), and how to avoid making these mistakes. 

Woodworking Mistakes to Avoid

Prepping for the job at hand

Tools That Don’t Work Well 

woodworking the handy mano mano drill tools that don't work well

One of the best ways to avoid shoddy outcomes and frustrating work is to purchase a quality set of tools. While these can be expensive, especially if you’re purchasing many at once, high caliber tools will pay for themselves many times over. A good tool will make the job easier to do, as it is designed to function smoothly and efficiently. A well-made tool will prevent safety issues, such as the tool malfunctioning and causing injury. A quality set of tools will also last you many years, making the initial purchase a wise long-term investment for your woodworking projects.

Taking on Too Big of a Project 

When you first take up woodworking, it’s common to want to jump right in to a complex and intricate project. However, it’s very easy to get in over your head quickly by using unfamiliar tools and attempting techniques that you have never tried. You can prevent frustration and burnout by starting with small and easy projects that will be reasonable for your skill level and enjoyable to work on. 

Sustaining an Injury

The tools involved in woodworking require an abundance of caution. When you are a novice carpenter who is juggling new tools and techniques, it can be easy to accidentally hurt yourself. Avoid careless injuries by following proper safety procedures. Always wear goggles when there is a chance of debris flying up in your face. Keep your hands at a safe distance from the saw blade when pushing the wood across the table. Wear clothes that fit snugly to prevent them from getting caught, and take off anything loose or dangling. Taking precautions before you begin can save you from painful injury.

Starting the Project

Measuring Incorrectly 

woodworking the handy mano mano measuring incorrectly

The old adage “measure twice, cut once” exists to help woodworkers prevent this exact error. While you are likely to be very careful with precise measurements at the beginning, it is common to rush through this task as you get in the groove of your project and near completion. In order to avoid this type of error, take your time with every measurement to ensure that it is precise. If you measure from the 1 inch mark on your tape measure, make sure that you subtract that inch from the final measurement. Additionally, using a long metal ruler can decrease inaccuracies caused by a flexible tape measure. Every inch counts in woodworking, so precise measurements will save you time and frustration in the long run. 

Discounting the Width of the Saw Blade

Another common mistake related to measurement is not factoring in the width of the saw blade. Most novice woodworkers will attempt to split their measurement line with the saw, which will actually shave off precious fractions of an inch. Instead, always cut from the same side of the blade. Align your pencil marks with the one side of the blade every time to ensure that you are only cutting into the waste area.

Cross-Hatch the Waste Area

Making a cut or boring a hold on the wrong side of the measurement line is also a very common error. Much like measurement errors, this mistake is often caused by trying to move through the project too quickly or working on autopilot. To help prevent cutting in the wrong place, draw cross-hatches in the waste area of the board. Although this is an extra step and may feel like unnecessary, taking the time to mark the board is preferable to wasting time and materials on repairing the hole or repeating the cut on a new piece of wood. 

Finishing the Project

A Crucial Piece is Incorrect

Errors that occur or become apparent as a project is nearing completion are perhaps the most frustrating of all. In order to avoid getting to the end of your build and realizing that a critical component is too short, too narrow, or sits at an incorrect angle, make a spare part as you go along so that you can easily replace the incorrect one. While you are building the four legs for the chair you are constructing, create a fifth as well. That way, if you make an error later in the process while carving a design into the leg, you do not have to start all over with a new piece of wood.

Gaps in the Joints 

woodworking the handy mano mano gaps in the joints

One of the most common errors when aligning joints is to apply the glue and clamp without first inspecting the fit. To avoid getting this far without realizing there is a gap, use clamps to check the fit prior to gluing. That way, any errors in the alignment of the boards can be corrected prior to adhering them together. 

Stain Colour is not Right

You have finally measured, cut, clamped, screwed and glued your project together. You applied the stain, let it dry, and returned to discover that it is not even close to what you had expected or envisioned. This very common error feels inevitable, but is completely avoidable when you are proactive. Using a sample board to test stain colors prior to application can save you a lot of heartache. Use a board that exactly matches the wood you are using for your project, and that has undergone the same cutting and sanding as the rest of the boards that will be stained. Apply several potential stains and the top coat to the sample board. Be sure to examine it in the room where the finished project will sit before arriving at your final color choice.

This article was written by Mark Thompson, a fellow tool lover, professional woodworker, DIY enthusiast and the founder of Tools Critic is on a mission to support their readers with thousands of hours of reporting and testing to help you find the tools you need with comprehensive and trusted reviews.

Eager to practice your new skills? Try these DIY projects:

How to Make a Pallet Planter

DIY Pergola Tutorial

There are so many different projects that you can do with pallets, but sometimes the hardest part can be painting them perfectly to finish off your project! That’s why we came up with our top DIY pallet painting tips to help you get a flawless finish each time!

DIY pallet painting tips

DIY Pallet painting tips the handy mano mano pallet painting tips sander

  1. Remember that each pallet is unique and might take paint differently. Firstly, you need to make sure that you have a safe (and non toxic) pallet, you can check that by viewing our pallet sourcing guide here.
  2. Pallet wood can look so so great with a bit of roughness, but, the smoother the surface, the easier it is to paint! Use an orbital sander or sandpaper (80 grit works fine but aim for 120 girt or higher if you’re looking for uber smoothness) to find your middle ground.
  3. Once you’ve finished sanding, remove all of the dusk with a slightly damp washcloth to thoroughly clean the wood.
  4. If you think that your wood may be too porous, you can opt to prime the wood at this stage to make it even smoother!
  5. If you’re looking to get a really vintage like look on your pallet, then add one layer of paint and then sand the wood again. Continue this until you’ve got your desired effect!DIY Pallet painting tips the handy mano mano pallet painting tips stain brush
  6. Once you’ve finished painting, make sure to wax or seal it to make the paint job last longer.
  7. If you stain your wood, then make sure you choose a colour a shade lighter and keep adding the stain until you get your preferred colour. Remember that it’s much easier to add stain to wood than it is to remove it, so you’re better of working your way up!
  8. As you apply the stain, keep an old T-shirt next to you to make sure you catch any drips from the wet edges and blend in any brush marks
  9. Make it shine with a varnish  or polish at the end! We recommend this step especially for outdoor pallet projects.

Feel ready to take on the world with your new knowledge of DIY pallet painting tips? Why not give these projects a go first? 🙂

Wooden Bath Tray – DIY Pallet Project

How to Build a Pallet Wine Rack

Want to make the most out of your tools? These smart tool hacks will (hopefully) make your job easier, whether its crafting, home improvement, or work related projects!

Get a grip

Struggling to unscrew a stripped screw? Use a rubber band to provide a grip!8 Simple and Ingenious Tool Hacks thehandymano the handy mano manomano mano mano screw diy do it yourself home improvement easier simpler ruber band screw unscrew

Splitting wood

Always have the issue of wood splitting when you drill into it? If you drill into wood that’s slightly damp, it will help reduce this! [This tip was provided by a DIY enthusiast, Jordan, on our Facebook page!]

8 Simple and Ingenious Tool Hacks thehandymano the handy mano manomano mano mano screw diy do it yourself home improvement easier simpler drilling wood

Handsfree light

Need a light quickly? With a torch, pliers and rubber band, you have a handsfree light to help with your project!

8 Simple and Ingenious Tool Hacks thehandymano the handy mano manomano mano mano screw diy do it yourself home improvement easier simpler light torch pliers

Protect your fingers

Prone to hitting your hand accidentally while using a hammer? Use a clothes pin to hold the nail in place, and keep your fingers safely out of the way!

Never lose your nails

By gluing a small magnet to the bottom of your hammer, you can keep nails handy while completing a job! Don’t want to glue your hammer? Alternatively, you could always keep a magnet in your front pocket.

8 Simple and Ingenious Tool Hacks thehandymano the handy mano manomano mano mano screw diy do it yourself home improvement easier simpler magnet hammer nails

Stop slipping

Screwdriver keeps slipping when you use it? By wrapping rubber bands around the handle, you can provide grip, and make the job a little easier!

Organise your screws

If you want your screws to be laid out neatly to make your project easier, you can push them into a Styrofoam or insulation block. This is particularly useful if you’re putting together furniture with pre-selected screws and bolts. It’s also handy in a workshop – we use this technique to organise our ManoMano workshop!

8 Simple and Ingenious Tool Hacks thehandymano the handy mano manomano mano mano screw diy do it yourself home improvement easier simpler storage

Filing small spaces

To make a fast woodworking file, simply wrap a piece of sandpaper around a paint stick.

We hope these helped you use your tools a little easier! If you have any great hacks you’d love to share, send us a message on our ‘Contact us’ page, or via our Facebook.

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