Eager to try out a different DIY project? Learn how to make clay yourself using simple household ingredients and start crafting! We have chosen the 3 easiest and cheapest methods to make clay, so make sure you try them all before choosing your favourite. Don’t forget to tag us in your clay creations online using #manomaker – we would love to see what you’ve been up to!

Go on, get making and seize the clay! 💪

How to Make Clay

How to Make Clay thehandymano hands mano mano cold porcelain

Cold Porcelain Clay


  • 225 ml white glue
  • 125 grams of cornflour
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice/vinegar
  • 1tbsp baby oil
  • Optional glitter and food colouring

Find a microwave safe bowl and fill it with the cornflour.
Add in the remaining ingredients (excluding glitter and food colour) and stir well with a whisk or spoon until you reach paste-like consistency.
Put the bowl in the microwave and heat it for 1 minute 30 seconds, pausing the microwave every 30 seconds to stir the contents.
After heating, stir the mixture once more then leave to cool to a temperature you’re comfortable to work with.
Once cool, transfer the dough to a flat surface and knead until smooth.
If you want, now is the time to add lots of colour! (you can also paint the clay after it is dry) Add a few drops to the mixture and knead until the colour is even.
Once complete, roll the clay into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic. You’ll have to leave this overnight to ‘cure’ before you can start sculpting! (Sorry about that..)

We suggest putting some cream on your hands before you start sculpting, this will prevent any sticking and drying out!
Luckily, this clay air dries easily, so you don’t need to put it in any oven!

Happy sculpting!

How to Make Clay thehandymano hands mano mano salt based sculpt

Salt Based Clay


  • 280g salt
  • 140g flour
  • 112ml warm water

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add glitter (if you want!)
Add a few drops of food colouring to your water if you want to make the dough coloured, and pour the water in the large bowl
Knead the mixture until it is smooth and dough-like
Start sculpting! If the mixture is still too wet, then add more flour. If it is too dry, then (you guessed it! 😉 ) add more water.

Once you’ve finished sculpting, put the dough in your oven for 2-3 hours at 100 degrees to harden the designs.
If you haven’t perfected your design yet and want to try again the next day, then simply leave the dough in an air tight container with some flour to preserve it!

Cornstarch Based Clay

How to Make Clay thehandymano hands mano mano cosrnstarch based


  • 180g baking soda
  • 65g cornflour
  • 170ml warm water

Add all of the ingredients into a pot and stir with a whisk until the mixture is smooth
Consider adding some glitter at this point, if you want to!
Move the pot onto the stove and heat the mixture whilst stirring it until it has a thick, smooth texture
Once the clay has thickened (and has a texture similar to mashed potatoes!) take it off the stove and cool
Once you are able to touch the clay without burning yourself, roll it out and start sculpting!

Important note: You have to use the clay on the same day that you make it!
Once you’ve finished sculpting, let the clay dry overnight and voila!

Now you know how to make clay, get your hands on these other crafty DIY articles!

How to Make Slime

How To Make Glitter Paint

Nobody likes to discover that their plants are infested with aphids, or that fungi has bloomed. That’s why here at The Handy Mano, we’ve put together some tips to help you prevent plant pests and keep your plants strong, beautiful and healthy.

How to Prevent Plant Pests

1. Fertilise your plants!

Did you know that insects have a preference for weaker plants? That’s why our first piece of advice is to fertilise them regularly. A healthy plant is less attractive to plant pests which means that it’ll bloom better for us! You can use a generic fertiliser for flowering or leafy plants. There are specific fertilisers for veggie patches, orchids, cacti and even a specific one for bonsais. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, because excessive fertiliser can also do more harm than good!

Aphids and red spiders (pictured) prefer plants that are rich in nitrogen, meaning that any excess of this nutrient can turn your plants into something extra delicious for them, so make sure to always read the label and follow the instructions!

thehandymano mano plant pests how to prevent them leaf with red spiders

2. Check your plants regularly

Check both sides of the leaves, and keep an eye out for discolouration, small holes or webs. It’s easy to realise that you have a whitefly infestation even if you just brush past your plant, so make sure you keep checking up on them!

In doing this, over time you will be able to identify potential problems quicker and therefore be able to give your plant the correct treatment sooner. Many plant pests are cyclical, and repeat year after year, so don’t let them stress you out too much. Try to stay positive, because experience counts and if the pests come back next year, you’ll know exactly what to do.

3. Not all bugs are bad!

It can be an interesting exercise to identify the different insects swarming around our gardens, because they don’t all munch through our plants. Some prey on the plant pests that do eat them, and in such cases, these bugs are the ones we should be concerned about inviting to visit our gardens or plant beds.

That’s what plant biodiversity is all about. For example, a balcony which has only one type of plant growing there may awsell have a neon light to attract its preferred plant pests! Those of us with urban gardens know this all too well, hence we never forget to pair up certain plants with our food crops.
For example, Basil repels mosquitoes and white flies, and Nasturtium repels snails and ants (and it looks great, too!)

4. Apply preventative treatments

You can choose to treat your plants when they already have a problem, or you can apply specific products to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place. If you have geraniums and know that they struggle every year because of the butterflies that lay their eggs on them… why not try to prevent it from happening by using an insecticide?

thehandymano mano plant pests how to prevent them plant bacteria

5. Strictly follow application guidelines

When the doctor prescribes us antibiotics, he always recommends finishing the course of medication even if we feel better, right? Well, it’s the same with plants. Many insecticides work on the adult insects that swarm around the plants but they don’t kill the eggs which can hatch within 15 days.
Repeat the treatment if the instructions recommend you to do so.

6. Beware of over-watering

Most fungi appear because of excess water. This can be caused by either watering too much, or, because of the British weather!
Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to try to prevent fungi growth by using a preventative fungicide. Although we can’t stop the rain, we can at least help our plants a little and get rid of the excess fungi.

7. Dry leaves don’t always mean disease!

If you’re a newbie to gardening, don’t get too worried if you discover some yellow leaves. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your plant isn’t receiving enough nutrients.
During any plant’s growth period, it’s perfectly normal for it to shed some leaves
In such cases, look at the leaf’s position on the plant. Is it one of the biggest and oldest? If yes, relax: it has simply come to the end of its life cycle.
However, it’s okay to worry when the leaf in question is a new leaf or one of the smaller ones, as that means that it was likely to have been born with a deformity or a strange colour. You can find out the likely root of the problem by searching for the plant online and trying to identify the specific symptoms to figure out the next steps to take.
In potted plants, you might notice the leaves lack that ‘luscious green’ look. This is a common issue, and as the leaves are telling us they lack certain nutrients, it’s just up to us to invest in more nutrients and feed them!

Which plant pests worry you the most and how do you keep them at bay? Let us know!

Hungry for more gardening articles? Try out these for more tips:

Types of Shrubs – Seasonal Guide

Lawn Mowing Tips and Tricks

Sick of tripping over your hose reel and looking for a cheap way to cover it up? Hide your hose reel in this handy DIY planter box! The simple turning mechanism inside will allow you to take the hose reel in and out of storage easily, whilst making sure that your garden looks tidy.

DIY Planter Box with Hose Reel

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel finished

Tools and materials

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel tools and materials

To make a garden hose reel DIY planter box you’ll need the following tools and materials:

Cost, time and difficulty

We’ve rated this DIY project as having a medium level of difficulty because it requires a certain amount of experience in handling the different tools.

The approximate price of the materials is around £50 although this can be reduced if you use pinewood boards instead of wooden planks, for example. You can purchase some of the tools and materials used via this sample shopping basket.

It will take about one full day’s work to complete this project, although this may vary depending on how good your DIY skills are.

How to make a DIY Planter Box with a Hose Reel

This hose reel is really practical, and decorative too. You can use it to both store your hose and as a pretty planter. 

Step 1- Cut the parts

Firstly, cut all of the parts that make up the main body of the hose reel. To do this, we used a mitre saw for its speed and precision, but you can also use a hand saw. The parts you need are:

  • 36 planks measuring 40 × 6.8 x 2.1cm
  • 4 planks measuring 40 × 3.2 x 3.2cm

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel MDF wood mitre saw

Step 2- Assemble the outer structure

Once you’ve cut the parts, assemble the outer section of the reel. To do this, screw the sides of each plank measuring 40 x 6.8 x 2.1cm to the planks measuring 40cm in height. The result can be seen in the image below:

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel assemble outer structure

Step 3- Hose coiling system

The next step consists of creating the system that lets you roll up the hose, allowing you to easily store it or take it out for use.

Step 3.1.- Creating the hole to pull out the hose

Firstly make a hole with the core drill both at the front and back. The diameter of the core drill should be wide enough that the hose can be inserted along with the connector.

This allows you to pull the part of the hose that connects to the hose gun or sprinkler out through the front hole, and through the back, the part that connects to the tap.

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel create hole for hose

3.2.- Part to coil the hose around

With a rod and plank of wood you will create the part around which to coil the hose. The steps are as follows:

  1. Cut a rod to 45 x 1.9cm and another to 3 x 2.7cm. Join the one measuring 2.7cm in diameter to one of the ends of the 1.9cm one with white glue.
  2. Using a flat drill with the same diameter as the rod, make a hole at each of the sides that haven’t been cut with the core drill.
  3. Sand the holes to remove splinters.
  4. With the flat drill start to make a hole in the plank measuring 12 x 3.2 x 3.2cm, without drilling through it completely.
  5. Insert the shaft through both holes and finish with the plank measuring 15cm which serves as the crank, and which you should attach using white glue.

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel inner turning mechanism

3.3.- Attach the base

To finish off the reel, cut a part of MDF board measuring 40 x 44cm and trim the corners with a jigsaw. Next, nail it to the base using a nail gun. This means you can you use the hose reel as a container to store your watering accessories.

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel attach the base

Step 4- Lid and planter

The next step is to make a lid which will also function as a planter. To make it, screw 4 planks measuring 30 x 6.8 x 2.1cm together like a drawer, and nail on an MDF base.

To make sure it fits and stays in place over the main section of the hose reel, you should screw 4 planks to the top as demonstrated in the image below.

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel lid and planter construction

Step 5- Treat and colour the wood

The next step is to protect and colour the wood with varnish. This type of finish allows the wood to breathe and helps to regulate interior moisture, making it ideal for outdoors furniture.

In just half an hour the varnish will be dry and you can start to make practical as well as decorative use of this hose reel.

All that’s left to do is attach the hose to the shaft using some cable ties, and then turn the crank.

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel treat and colour with varnish

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel complete

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel wrap hose reel

the handy mano manomano DIY planter box with hose reel finished

This article was written by: Bricoydeco and translated. Mari Luz authors the blog ‘Bricoydeco’, she is a DIY fanatic, lover of recycling and customising furniture. Her passion is giving a second chance to turn once forgotten things into unique pieces!

If you enjoyed making your own DIY planter box, why not have a look at our other garden DIY tutorials?

DIY Pergola Tutorial

DIY Pallet Garden Table

Giant Garden Games DIY Tutorials

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

Feeling like getting into gardening this Summer but have no idea where to start? Save money with our garden ideas on a budget to give you an idea on how not to splash out on the wrong things! Go on, we bee-leaf in you 😉

Garden Ideas on a Budget

Reduce, reuse, recycle…

There are many things around the house that you can use in your garden! To save a few pennies, we’ve came up with a few suggestions to get you started:

-Plastic food containers or egg carton tray to plant seeds
-Bricks or lumber to frame garden beds
-Use some old fencing to create your own compost bin
-Create little soil trays out of empty toilet rolls and plant seeds until roots start showing
-Turn a mason jar upside down and use it as a little greenhouse for seedlings and plants
-Make your own weedkiller by spraying the weeds with white distilled vinegar and reapplying on any new growth until the plants die

thehandymano mano garden ideas on a budget seedling


Growing cheap, radishing vegetables

Make your own compost with veg peelings, weeds, egg shells and general garden waste.

Or, if you’re not feeling like making your own, hunt down local tree-cutting companies as they often have big piles of mulch on hand that they give away for free. However, sometimes these freebies aren’t always the greatest quality (due to shredded trash or seeds of invasive species, for example) so make sure that you double-check it before using it!

Grow new vegetables using scraps! Not only are you cutting down on food waste, but you can easily regrow vegetables such as celery by placing the bottoms of the stalks in water and planting them into the ground once they grow roots

Worried about growing too much or too little at once? We recommend starting small and growing crops vertically to save space. Don’t forget that you can always give extra food to your family and friends if you accidentally grow an abundance of it!

To save money on your water bill, make the most of British weather by collecting rainwater in a container and use that to water your plants

thehandymano mano garden ideas on a budget vegetables grown in basket

Give it a new look, for less!

Did you know that gravel is much more affordable than paving and can completely change the look of your garden? To lay it in place mark out the area, scrape away loose soil or grass, pin down a permeable membrane to prevent weeds from pushing through and spread gravel over it. A large bag will cover up to 20 square metres!

We suggest colour coordinating a corner or a large section of your garden! Spruce up old planters and furniture by spray painting them with a metal paint to make your garden look coordinated and less cluttered.

Clean your patio! It sounds simple, but scrubbing your concrete patio with a hose or bucket of soapy water can give it a completely new look that it’s been dying to have for a long time

Consider adding a mirror to your garden! Regardless of the size of your lawn, a mirror can brighten up a dull corner or make the space look a lot bigger!

If you want to add a lot of greenery to your garden, and fast, we suggest growing something leafy such as mint. Simply plant one or two plants about 2 feet apart in moist soil and watch them grow to be 1 or 2 feet tall and cover the area below them!

thehandymano mano garden ideas on a budget furniture colour paint

Hungry for more garden hacks? We’ve got your back 😉

Fortunately, they are garden ideas on a budget, too!

Garden Design Ideas – Furniture Inspiration


Garden Design – Spring Garden Planter Ideas