It’s getting darker earlier each evening and we’re reaching for the scarves and gloves. This can only mean one thing… The Christmas countdown is on! To start gently preparing for the season’s festivities, we wanted to give you a special idea in the form of a personalised DIY advent calendar. It is an easy DIY project which can be done with the help of the kids, and can be upcycled after for tool storage, once Christmas is over. Made from an organisational wall panel, it will delight young and old alike who will have their resolution for the new year all figured out: in 2022, I’m going to finally get around to organising my tools!

Materials needed to make a DIY Advent Calendar

For this DIY advent calendar you will need:

How to make your advent calendar

Step 1: Paint time

Paint to the panel
Paint the panel

Simply apply two coats of paint (using the colour of your choice) with a roller.

Step 2: Fix the panel

DIY advent calendar

Locate the desired position for the panel and mark the locations of the fixings: at the 4 corners and in the middle of the longest length.

Drill holes to fit the correct fixings to your wall.

Fix by inserting the dividers between the wall and the panel and adding a washer between the screw head and the panel.

Step 3: Prepare your advent calendar doors

DIY advent calendar

Design a template for each door; an example of the template used for this article can be seen above. You can use paper, card, cardboard – whatever takes your fancy! Then glue the back and sides of the door so it creates an envelope to put the surprises in.

Step 4: Decoration station

You can draw, create winter motifs or paint: it’s up to you! For the envelope of the door, you can add little treats to them – or alternatively, you could write jokes, riddles, or even start a treasure hunt to find the surprise somewhere around the house. 

DIY advent calendar template for the doors

Step 5: Insert the doors

Insert the hooks on your panel and fix the doors with a clip. You can either arrange them in a regular pattern or arrange them randomly as in our black model. 

DIY advent calendar
DIY advent calendar

Did you enjoy this DIY advent calendar tutorial? Why not read our tutorial on a DIY Christmas snowman game or even our Christmas tree buying guide

Are you creating your own DIY advent calendar? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Christmas is a time of love – no matter where we find ourselves this extraordinary year, we will still hope to have a special time. You can make it extra memorable by creating a DIY Christmas present that is handy and unexpected, with the help of The Handy Mano.

This Christmas, we set a challenge to plan and create a handy and unexpected present which was #MadeWithLove for a special someone. The idea was for the present to take pride of place in a loved one’s home, as a way to ‘be there’ even when physically we may not all be together.

We’ve shared one of the #MadeWithLove creations below, alongside some insight into the creative process. We have also shared links to the video below so you can see each part step by step. 

Dan Lovatt – A wall-mounted cabinet for his mum

Back in March, my mum got Covid and was quite ill which wasn’t a nice experience as we couldn’t see her. So, this Christmas I want to make her something special. As she is obsessed with cosmetics, I wanted to make her a wall mounted cabinet that she can use to house all her lotions and potions and keep them all contained. Excited to get started on this! 

DIY Christmas present #MadeWithLove
A DIY Christmas present #MadeWithLove

DIY Christmas present: Materials you’ll need

Birch Plywood

Makita 6 piece


Tool box trolley

Hard wax oil

Corner clamp

Pen and paper


Table/surface for cutting wood on

Sanding paper

Hammer & nails

DIY Christmas present: Steps

Step 1 – Make a plan

Work out all the parts you will need to make (sides, the back, and shelving) and the size of the cabinet (the cabinet I made was 518mm x 518mm x 120mm). I opted to use 18mm birch ply which has the most beautiful soft grain.  

Plan out your wall cabinet
Plan out your wall cabinet

Step 2 – Seamless edges

I planned for all of the joins to have mitered edges to create a seamless effect. To do this, I used the Makita circular saw for extra precision, which means you get the sharpest of cuts. The saw is great as it’s precise, lightweight and packed full of power!

Create a seamless edge
Create a seamless edge

Step 3 – Groove it

Clamp the pieces of wood down, then using the router, press it gently down to create grooves for the shelves to slot in. The cabinet I designed had 3 shelves but you can adapt this according to how big you want it to be.

DIY Christmas present: create grooves for the shelving
DIY Christmas present: create grooves for the shelving

Step 4 – Glue it up

Put each of the parts together and check it all fits. To attach each piece, I used Gorilla wood glue and clamped each piece together to help it stick nicely.

Glue the shelving pieces together
Glue the shelving pieces together

Step 5 – Smooth it over

Sand over the pieces in 120 grit to smooth over the surface, which also prepares the wood to be treated.

Smooth over the surface
Smooth over the surface

Step 6 – Bringing it together

Attach the backpiece to the shelving using Gorilla wood glue, then clamp together. I then hammered in some nails around the frame to make it extra secure. Handy tip – when you are driving nails into something, use grips to keep the nail in place whilst you protect your fingers! Your cabinet will now be taking real shape.

Add the back piece to the shelving
Add the back piece to the shelving

Step 7 – Treat it

To emphasise the natural grain of the 18mm Birch Ply, use light coats of Oslo Oil Clear Mat to protect the wood and give it a warmer finish.

Protect the wood with a lick of Oslo Oil Clear Matt
Protect the wood with a lick of Oslo Oil Clear Matt

And voilà! A wall mounted cabinet which was #MadeWithLove for Dan’s mum! A great idea for a DIY Christmas present and easy to make. You can take a look at Dan’s Instagram Reel to see the tutorial in action.

DIY Christmas present #MadeWithLove
A DIY Christmas present #MadeWithLove

Did you enjoy this article on a DIY Christmas present #MadeWithLove? Why not read our article on making your own snowman game out of pallets or even our guide on how to recycle your Christmas tree!

Are you creating your own Christmas presents? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #madewithlove, #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

DIY Christmas Game project created by My Thrifty Life by Cassiefairy with photography by Andy-Greenacre.co.uk

Family DIY Christmas Game by Cassie Fairy (C) Andy Greenacre
Family DIY Christmas Game by Cassie Fairy (C) Andy Greenacre

If you’ve got family visiting your garden this winter, why not build this snowman target game to entertain them outdoors? This fabulously festive family Christmas game makes use of an unwanted pallet rescued from a skip and turns the wood into a DIY snowman decoration for the garden. The snowman is freestanding thanks to the stakes attached to the back, so always take care to ensure that the snowman is solidly fixed into the ground and can’t fall over, no matter how hard you throw snowballs at him! 

If you add holes of various sizes to the front of the snowman, he doubles-up as a family game. The aim of the game is to throw snowballs through his ‘buttons’ and mouth to score points. It’s quite a skill to form the snow into a suitably-sized snowball to fit through the holes! If it’s not snowing, you can use homemade pom-poms, faux snowballs or tennis balls instead. Family members can take it turn turns to throw their ‘snowballs’ and most points scored with five balls wins the game. Check out the DIY Christmas game guide with step-by-step photos to make this snowman target game here. Enjoy!

Family DIY Christmas Game by Cassie Fairy (C) Andy Greenacre
Family Christmas Game by Cassie Fairy (C) Andy Greenacre

Did you enjoy this DIY Christmas game guide for the family? Why not read our article on 30 Christmas decorations using wine corks or even our December home and garden checklist!

Are you creating your own family Christmas games this winter? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Feeling the festive itch? Looking for some easy DIY Christmas decorating ideas?

There’s something about the festive season where we like to get extra crafty, whether that’s adding fairy lights to dark corners, making a triumphant gingerbread house, or making paper snowflakes. We’ve put together these 30 fun DIY Christmas decoration ideas using wine corks to spark your creativity – and they’re easy to do too! To add even more to the festive cheeriness, these ideas mean you can spend a cosy afternoon by the fire being creative to your heart’s content for a cheering Christmas crafting session.

Prepare to make your home merry and bright – let’s get to work and uncork some wine bottles!

DIY Christmas decorations
DIY Christmas
Homemade decorations
DIY Christmas decorations
Festive decor
Easy Christmas decorations ideas
DIY Christmas decorations
Easy DIY Christmas decorations
Homemade Christmas decorations
DIY Christmas decorations
Simple Christmas decorations ideas
DIY Christmas decorations ideas
Homemade Christmas decorations
DIY Christmas decorations
DIY Christmas decorations ideas
DIY Christmas decorations homemade
DIY Christmas decorations
Easy Christmas decorations
Festive decorations ideas
Homemade Christmas decorations
Festive dressing
Homemade Christmas decorations
Homemade deco
Festive creativity
DIY Christmas decorations inspiration
DIY Christmas decorations
Decor ideas
DIY Christmas decorations ideas
Festive inspiration

Et voilà! Some cheap, easy and fun ways to get creative with your DIY Christmas decorations this year. Now all you need to do is grab the hot chocolate (or wine if you’re only just beginning to collect wine corks!), dust off the Christmas tunes, and spend the afternoon decking your halls in these imaginative ways.

Did you enjoy this article on easy DIY Christmas decorations with wine corks? Why not read about DIY Christmas tree shelves or read our Christmas tree buying guide here!

Are you carrying out a panelling project? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Christmas is over and the new year is fast approaching! All that’s left is a few extra pounds and what’s left over from Christmas day and its build up. We’ve recognised that it’s this time of year where waste rises considerably more, so we’ve put together some ways for you to spend the post-Christmas period sustainably and guilt free.

1. Gift wrapping

  • Re use your leftover gift wrapping for another present later on in the year. If your paper has been teared in awkward places or has rips, simply` trim them along the edges when it comes to re-wrapping and fold over the areas which may not look as neat. If you are left with a smaller piece than you originally had after first wrapping, use it for a future gift which is smaller, such as accessories or jewellery which don’t take up too much space.
  • One of the best ways to sustainably gift your presents is to present them in gift bags. They can be used over and over again and don’t require any additional effort like folding and sticking. The same can apply to bows and foils which may have also been used to decorate your gift. If you wish to dedicate 2019 to the year of recycling to the max then be sure to try out giving gifts in gift bags from now on – not only does it look as fabulous as gift wrapping paper, but also encourages other people to pass them on and re use them too!
  • Another reason to not throw away your leftover Christmas wrapping paper is to use them for crafts. Pretty patterned or coloured wrapping papers have many other uses. For example, say you have some pretty gold wrapping paper left over – use it to cut out stars which you could be used to decorate cards and more. You could even use your favourite patterned ones the following year and DIY your own baubles by placing it in a clear ball. However, if your wrapping paper is particularly christmassy (with snowmans or reindeers), there’s no harm in storing it neatly for next year to save you some cash – and it doesn’t take up much space!

2. Recycling your tree

The time has come to take your Christmas tree down – it has done its job of embellishing your home all season, witnessed family coming together and the joy that comes with it. Along with the responsibility taken on when buying your tree, recycling it is also an important part of keeping sustainable over the Christmas period.

  • If you have an artificial tree be sure to keep it for as long as possible as it’s made out of plastic PVC which is incredibly difficult to decompose. According to the Carbon Trust, “you would have to reuse your artificial tree for at least 10 Christmases to keep its environmental impact lower than that of a real tree”. In order to store it away for the following year, we would advise cleaning it branch by branch to remove accumulated dust before storing it in its box. When storing it, avoid places which are too wet to better preserve the tree and the colors of the branches.
  • If you have a natural fir tree this is definitely the more ecological option in comparison.

– If you have already bought and used a tree which has been  cut at the root then it would have already dried out and can not be replanted. Make sure it does not end up in a landfill as they can take up a lot of space and the tree produces methane gas as it decomposes, an incredibly potent greenhouse gas.

– The most ecological way to dispose of it would be to recycle it – this can be done in multiple ways. The most obvious would be to put it next to your recycling bin for it to be collected, however there are many local councils which have tree collection points to ensure that as many trees are recycled at possible. Make sure to check your local council’s website for more information.

– You can also reduce your carbon footprint by turning your tree into wood chip for your outdoor areas or drying it out completely and using it as wood for your winter fires.

  • The ideal way of loving the planet you live in is by growing your own tree. Buying a pot grown tree means that you’ll be able to re plant it’s roots in your garden for the following year. The only downside is that your tree must not be kept indoors for longer than 12 days as there is a risk of them dying. However, Fir trees are very resistant plants so once re planted their root systems will get back into action rapidly, allowing them to flourish again for the following year. They need very little attention over the year, just make sure to keep watering it well.

Alternatively, should you not want to buy an actual tree, there are lots of ideas of how to make your own tree out of fun materials here.

3. Food waste

Although it’s certain that we love to eat our hearts out over the Christmas period, a lot of it still goes to waste. According to WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), UK households throw away £15 billion worth of food over the entire year, generating tonnes of avoidable greenhouse emissions. 

Here are a few seasonal tips on the best way to try and prevent it:

  • With your leftover turkey (or chicken) carcass, boil it into a soup that will last you for weeks.
  • Leftover fruit can be blended together into smoothies. If you have grapes with your cheese board, they can be frozen to go with drinks or by themselves – they taste like sorbet!
  • If you use Stilton cheese it can also be frozen for future cooking.
  • Cooked turkey can be blended for turkey mince or frozen for a later date.
  • Whip any leftover cream and freeze it.
  • Christmas cake can also be frozen. Top tip – pre slice and wrap it in greaseproof paper to save you from de freezing the whole thing if you just want a slice. 😉
  • Get inventive with leftover sauces, meats and herbs and turn them into whichever pies, curries and sandwiches take your fancy!

4. Old toys

Whilst the kids are off playing with their new toys after Christmas, there is a chance that they could reject their old ones. Its normal for kids to like the latest trends as they come, so if you find that your child isn’t playing with a toy that father christmas got them a few christmases ago, don’t throw it away. Instead you could:

  • Give it a new life with another child by donating it to friends and family who may want them. If this isn’t an option, charity shops or giving them to your local council will most likely take them. You could even give them to a place of worship, sometimes churches and synagogues take in toys for their community – whether you’re religious or not! There’s always a way, you can be sure that another child will thank you 🙂
  • If possible, give old toys a makeover. For example, should you have an old toy shop which has become worn and torn, revamp it with a lick of new paint or some extra nuts and bolts. It’ll soon be as if it was brand new!
  • If you have a board game which has some pieces missing or even a pack of cards don’t have any aces… recycle them and get back that cupboard space.


We hope you’ve picked out some useful top tips and inspiration, don’t forget to make sure to love the planet in the same way that you have shown love to your friends and family this holiday season!


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