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The day the clocks go back is somewhat monumental. It’s the day we lose an hour of daylight, but gain an extra hour in bed 😉. If you are or know of the kind to go into immediate hibernation as soon as the sun sets, spread the word – the day isn’t over! This post will ensure that the clock change means you can still make the most of your day, light or dark.

Meeting the night wildlife

Although our instincts may be to go back inside when it gets dark, many animals just outside our doorstep do the exact opposite. By using any pet food or leftovers that you might have and leaving them outside, you could attract the local neighbours of badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, bats or even deer if you’re lucky! It’s can be pretty breathtaking to watch nature in all its glory.

Star and planet gazing

Not only can you see so much already from your back garden on a clear night, but you’ll be able to also see the whole sky so much clearer with simply a pair of binoculars or a birdwatching telescope should you have them handy. It’s a wonderful activity to do with the kids as you can teach them about space and the different moon phases.You can show them the full moon on the 23rd of November, whether they think it’s made out of cheese or not. 😉

Light a bonfire

This is a really sociable way of getting your friends and family outside during the colder months. Getting some wood together and a box of matches (and even some wooden scraps from an old DIY) is the perfect recipe for an evening of toasted marshmallows and great conversation, you’ll want seconds.

Visit a viewpoint

This may only apply to those of you who live near or in a city, but it’s a beauty. A great thing to do as the sun sets or as soon as it gets dark is to go to your favourite highpoint and take in a view of the city. The street lights and tiny houses will make it seem so small, and you get perspective on how huge everything really is!

Make some DIY lights

A great way to celebrate the darker months is to decorate your space with your own DIY creations. You can even use leftover firewood or things around the house, to light up your indoor or outdoor space. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, this blog post has 20 great ideas for light ideas you can make yourself. We also have a tutorial on how to make your own upcycled glass bottle light and a plastic concrete pendant light. De-light-ful!

Plant some shade-friendly greenery

There’s no denying that as the clocks go back, not only is it a sign of the coming cold but it also means that your plants don’t get as much light per day. So, here’s a heads up on some fern-tastic plants which grow in these conditions.

A plant that will give your garden a spot of colour and are perfect for this time of year are autumn crocuses. If you’re looking for greenery which loves the extreme shade look no further with Autumn ferns. They don’t need too much care when integrated into your garden, and Japanese maples are trees which are ideal to plant in Autumn, are relatively easy and will give you flowers in early to mid spring.

Camp with your kids

A guaranteed way of bringing the kids outside when the clocks turn back is by using your back garden as a camping ground. What better way to bring them on an adventure – on your own home turf! Activities such as teaching them how to set up a tent, playing around with hand shadows from a torch  or listening out for owls will give them an experience of being that little bit closer to nature!

We hope you enjoyed this post are now looking forward to the clocks changing! Enjoy spending time doing lots of fun activities with family and friends, and quite literally, have the time of your life!

 

Essential Gardening Jobs for November

Eight Winter Jobs to Get Your Garden Ready for the New Growing Year

 

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!

 

Painting

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!

 

Sanding

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!

 

Sawing

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! 😄

 

 

DIY Kids Play Furniture – Miniature Work Bench

7 Fun Child Friendly Garden Activities By Ciar Byrne

 

As the winter turns into spring, you might like to spend more time in the garden.  Craft ideas for kids will keep the children busy over the warmer period and decorative bird feeders need not be overly difficult to make. This family project  helps you create your very own wooden bird box that will stand out, and you can keep the kids occupied with its simple design and help them turn it into their favourite animal! We hope you find these bird box design ideas useful.

Tools and Materials

Craft Ideas for Kids bird box design ideas wooden bird box the handy mano manomano tools

Here’s what you need to create your own wooden bird box:

Electric Drill (with holesaw attachment of 25mm)
Wood drill bit (8mm)
Ruler
Tape measure
Hammer
Saw or jigsaw
Pencil
Paint brush

In addition, these materials will be needed:

Wood (plywood 18mm thick) 610mm x 1220mm (this will be cut up and will leave you with some excess for another project- bonus!)
Nails (panel pins 1.6mm x 40mm)
Length of bamboo (approx 8mm in diameter and 15cm long)
Butterfly hinges X 2 (38mm)
Metal hook and eye
Cuprinol wood preserver (Country Cream)
Black wood paint

Cost, time and difficulty

The approximate costs of these materials are around £40. Head here to see a guideline ManoMano shopping basket where you can find some of the materials used. It’s a great project to do if you already have some wood lying around. From start to finish it shouldn’t take you any longer than a couple of hours to complete (depending on your experience).

Step 1: Choose the measurements and cut the wood

Think about the size of your bird box. I opted for something that was 20cm wide by 30cm but it really depends on your preference. I chose plywood because it is quite cheap and at 18mm thick it shouldn’t be too flimsy- remember it is going to be out in all weathers. If you do go for the same thickness, make sure that your panel pins are long enough to bite into the adjacent wood.

Measure up the wood to create either a rectangular or square box. Leave the front of the box for now- we will come back to that later. The dimensions I chose were:

  • Back of box- 20cm x 30cm
  • Sides of box- 15cm x30cm (two of them)
  • Floor and roof of box- 15cm x16cm

Cut these using a handsaw or a jigsaw. Try to be as accurate as possible so that you make a nice even box. Use the panel pins to hammer together. It might be easier to enlist the help of a friend to hold them together…just a thought. You now have the back and sides of the bird box.

Craft Ideas for Kids bird box design ideas wooden bird box the handy mano manomano saw wood

Step 2: Design the front

You’ll want to make the front of the box. It will be broadly speaking the same dimensions as the back of the box.

However (and this is the fun bit) you could add some detail to make your bird box stand out. Why not add a pair of ears to make it look like a cat or, like I did, an owl.

Using a pencil, add the detail and then cut round that using the jigsaw. I kept it very simple and just added two triangles in the corner- although I did ‘jagger’ up between the two ear tufts to make it look like feathers. If when you run your fingers round the cuts of the bird box it is jagged then you can sand the edges to avoid splinters.

Craft Ideas for Kids bird box design ideas wooden bird box the handy mano manomano children diy

Step 3: Preserve your work

As the birdbox is going outside and it is made of wood, you will need to preserve it. Decide on a colour (I went for Country Cream from Cuprinol’s Colour range) and paint it all round.

To stop splash backs, make sure to do this on some newspaper and maybe use a couple of wood off cuts to stop the box sticking to the paper. Let it dry and then give it another coat.

Step 4: Screw the front on

Once dry, you’ll want to attach the front to the rest of the box. You need to be able to remove the front as you might need, from time to time, to maintain or clean the box.

I went for a pair of butterfly hinges. Get someone to help you line them up. Use a pencil to mark the holes of where you want to put the hinges. Then use a thin wood drill bit to drill pilot holes. This should mean that the screws screw in nice and easily.

Do the same on the front of the box and screw in the screws. The ‘door’ that you have now created should open and close smoothly and easily.

So that the door doesn’t just open when it feels like it, you need to find a way of fastening it. The simplest way is using a hook and eye. Twist the ‘eye’ in to the side of the door (opposite side to the hinges). If you find it hard then perhaps draw a pilot hole first. Then insert the hook and lead it back until the door closes. Twist the second ‘eye’ into the side of the box.

Craft Ideas for Kids bird box design ideas wooden bird box the handy mano manomano screw drill

Step 5: Create a bird entrance

You need to make an entrance for the birds and you can do this by using a holesaw attachment on your drill. Depending on your make of drill this is usually quite simple but be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Select a good place for the hole (remember this will be the location of the mouth/beak on the face of the bird box. I went for a 25mm hole but you could make it bigger. Don’t make it too big or other critters like squirrels might get in…

Using a regular wood drill bit (approx 6- 8mm) drill a hole just under the entrance to make a perch. Make the hole just slightly smaller than the dowel or bamboo stick you are inserting. Like that you can push the bamboo through and it will pinch nicely, meaning that you shouldn’t need to stick it.

Craft Ideas for Kids bird box design ideas wooden bird box the handy mano manomano drill wood hole

Step 6: Paint

Let your artistic side run away with you. Use a thin brush and some black wood paint to make the design. There are loads of good design ideas online if you are stuck for ideas.

That’s just about it- all you’ll need to do is to drill a hole in the back and attach the box to a tree or somewhere stable. Remember that this box is quite heavy so don’t place it anywhere where it could easily fall!

Craft Ideas for Kids bird box design ideas wooden bird box the handy mano manomano paint wood owl

Craft Ideas for Kids bird box design ideas wooden bird box the handy mano manomano paint wood owl

This article was written by our guest blogger Lauretta from Home and Horizon. She shares thrifty tips and deals on interiors and travel and believes it’s all about cutting costs – not corners!

Wondering about what to make with your leftover wood? Check out these projects:

How To Make A DIY Wooden Bath Tray

How to Make a Lantern

Looking for quirky Easter decorations? Love succulents and cacti? Well, this is the DIY for you. These little egg cacti are fun and easy to make, and can be a great craft to do with the kids. You can decorate them in any colour, and add any additions (we’ve seen cardboard arms and flowers, but we’d love to see what you come up with!)

DIY Easter Decorations Cactus Eggs crafts creative hunt decor the handy mano manomano kids craft

You’ll need:

Eggs
Egg dye or paint
Marker
Tissue paper
Plant pots
Gravel
Glue gun
Sand

Step 1: Prepare your egg

To prepare your egg, you can either boil it, or blow it out. To blow out an egg, poke two small holes at either end using a pin. Enlarge this hole using a needle or piece of wire, then break up the yolk inside by poking around. Blow out your egg with a straw.

DIY Easter Decorations Cactus Eggs crafts creative hunt decor the handy mano manomano kids craft blow out egg

Step 2: Colour your egg

For this step, you can use a pre-bought dye or simply paint the shells. If using dye, submerge your eggs according to the instructions, then remove.

For the easy way out, you can just paint your eggs in various shades of green!

DIY Easter Decorations Cactus Eggs crafts creative hunt decor the handy mano manomano kids craft

Step 3: Add decoration

Balance your eggs using an egg cup or the lid of a bottle. Draw on different designs with a black felt tip. You can get creative here – swirly lines, crosses, dashes… You can’t really go wrong!

If you want to, you can use tissue paper to create some flowering cacti. Cut layers of tissue into small circles, and attach the layers with glue, scrunching a little before sticking.

DIY Easter Decorations Cactus Eggs crafts creative hunt decor the handy mano manomano kids craft

If you want to layer your eggs, just use hot glue to attach them. You’ll need to blow your eggs out for this, and remove a little of the shell to adhere them properly.

DIY Easter Decorations Cactus Eggs crafts creative hunt decor the handy mano manomano kids craft

Step 4: Pot your cacti

Take flower pots, and fill the bottom with sand. Add some gravel as stability, and pot your eggs.

DIY Easter Decorations Cactus Eggs crafts creative hunt decor the handy mano manomano kids craft
image source: quartzandleisure.com

 

DIY Easter Decorations Cactus Eggs crafts creative hunt decor the handy mano manomano kids craft

Source: http://quartzandleisure.com

It’s National Home Improvement Week and we’ve teamed up with different makers to bring you six projects to improve your home! These DIY projects are all suitable for beginners, and so everyone can get involved.

1. Rainbow Wall Painting

Bring the rainbow to any bedroom, children’s or not (no judgement here) with this painted rainbow by interior designer Melanie Lissack.

2. LED Volcano Light

Who doesn’t want a light that looks like a volcano?? Check out this creative project by Out Of The Woods!

3. Upcycled Plant Pot

With just a little twine or rope and a handy hot glue gun, MakeItSoph shows us how easy it is to upcycle a simple plant pot into something creative and unusual!

4. Cork Art Decor

Don’t throw away your corks – recycle them into an amazing wall art decal like Nino from Nin0craft. You can transform them into any shape you like!

national home improvement week month easy diy simple beginner projects cork map art decal wall

5. Sink Makeover

A simple thing like evaluating the size of objects in your house, and making sure each space is utilised in the best way, can be greatly beneficial in improving your home. KK Makes shows us with her sink makeover!
national home improvement week month easy diy simple beginner projects sink

 

5. Side Table With Built In Charger

Fed up of your chargers, wires and remote controls lying around everywhere? Well, Joe from Average Joe’s Joinery has come up with the perfect DIY side table – it has storage for your (one too many) remotes and an integrated power socket!

6. Lego Display Shelf

Who doesn’t love Lego?! What better way to display your favourite pieces than on this custom made Lego shelf. This is also fully adaptable as a display piece for other small items.
national home improvement week month easy diy simple beginner projects lego wall holder

Don’t forget…

Home Improvement doesn’t mean solely taking on huge projects. It can be the simple act of finding something you already own and embellishing it a little, or switching out one item that’s been getting on your nerves. This week, for National Home Improvement Week, why don’t you find a project to do around the house? If you do make or upcycle something, we’d love to see! Feel free to send us photos via our Facebook page, or the ‘Contact’ page on our site.

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