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If you think your outside space isn’t big enough to make proper use of, here are several tips on how to design & decorate your small balcony to make the most of it and turn it into a cosy yet functional space.

Not all of us are lucky enough to have a garden or a large terrace to make the most of during the warmer months. But what if we told you that even the smallest of balconies can become the perfect place for a Parisian-style breakfast or an aperitif when the sun goes down? Here we will share some irresistible ideas so that you can make the most of your small outdoor space for the sunnier days ahead. 

Make the most of the space

Use folding furniture when you design & decorate a small balcony

Although we have to be realistic and understand that we can’t have everything we would like, the first thing we will do is, taking into account the dimensions of our space, distribute the furniture so that we have a comfortable seating area. Use furniture that is not too bulky or that is easy to fold.

Design a small but practical balcony

If your balcony is so small that there is no room for a small table or folding chairs, we can always opt for high stools and special tables for balconies that can be completely folded down to save space, such as this one made of acacia wood, which also serves as a shelf to keep a few flower pots to brighten up the view.

Don’t miss out on the greenery

Decorate your balcony with different pots of flowers or aromatic plants. To do this, use planters that face outwards or a tiered wooden support as a shelf where you can display your plants, place garlands or other decorations. 

Small balcony: add a chillout area

If you have space in your small balcony, you can add a chillout area with pallets

If you are lucky enough to have a bit of width on your terrace, we suggest placing a small chillout area with pallets and some nice soft cushions where you can relax after dinner.

Trellises for privacy

If you are worried about spying neighbours, you can put up trellises to get a bit of privacy. As well as being functional, they will give you a lot of possibilities when it comes to placing vines, hanging garlands and even wall decorations.

Small balcony design: practical storage

If you have a free corner on your terrace, we suggest you take advantage of this space to place a waterproof outdoor box to keep your cushions, blankets and other outdoor accessories safe and protected from rain. Plus, you’ll always have an extra seat ready for when you need it by simply adding a couple of cushions to its surface.

Create a magical atmosphere in your small balcony design

Small balcony design: add cosy lighting

Once we have the furniture and the rest of the details in place, we only need to give it a cosy touch by using small lights. Lanterns on the floor, solar fairy lights entwined in the planters or hanging from the trellises will make your balcony your favourite place this upcoming season. 

Did you enjoy this article on how to design & decorate a small balcony? Why not read our article on the 5 easiest herbs to grow for your summer dishes!

Are you going to update your small balcony? Let us know how you get on over on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Over 6 million Christmas trees are sold every year in the UK, and once the celebrations have passed, and the decorations go back into storage come Twelfth Night, it is time to deal with your Christmas tree. Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean your tree has outlived its usefulness, and there are many ways to prevent it from ending up in the landfill. The experts at ManoMano give you some ideas on how to give your Christmas tree a second life, from keeping it alive to recycling it or reusing it in other decorative projects.

First of all: is it a cut Christmas tree or a rooted Christmas tree?

You may not have noticed at the time of purchase, but natural Christmas trees are sold rooted or cut. How do you know if both are usually sold in pots? If you bought it online, this detail is always indicated in the product description. If you bought it in a physical shop or at a Christmas market, the seller should provide you with this information. Very often Christmas trees bought in the UK are cut. 

If you are reading these lines when you have already put away the decorations, tinsel and garlands of lights, it will be easy to answer this question: hold the trunk at the base and pull it upwards out of its pot. Now look at the base… does it have roots or has it crumbled around a cut trunk? Here lies the answer to your question and the various recycling or reuse options below.

What to do with a natural Christmas tree after the holidays?

Now that you know whether your fir tree is cut or rooted, you know that you can only keep it alive if it is a rooted tree. Let’s take a look at the options to give your Christmas tree a second life:

Option 1. Repotting a Christmas tree to another pot or to the ground

If your tree has roots and is in good condition, you can transplant it to the terrace or garden. The most common variety of Christmas fir is Picea abies, also called Picea excelsa, European or Norway spruce. It is a tree that withstands low temperatures very well but suffers a lot from summer heat. 

But this does not mean that it cannot survive, on the contrary! It needs two or three waterings a week and a special conifer fertiliser, especially in spring and autumn.

For a successful transplant, ideally you will have kept the tree inside for no more than two weeks, away from heat sources such as fireplaces or radiators and you’ve provided enough water at its base. Before replanting the tree, give it a few days to re-enter dormancy by keeping it in a cool sheltered area outside, like a garage or a shed.

If you want to transplant it to a garden, bear in mind that in optimal conditions, it is a tree that can grow up to 60 cm per year. Think about this when choosing its location. 

If you prefer to keep it in a pot, transplant it into a larger pot and take it outside. The heat and lack of light it may have experienced over the Holidays may have affected it, but it will recover quickly. Use universal compost and add some perlite to improve drainage.

Option 2. Compost your Christmas fir tree

Give your christmas tree a second life  through composting

All Christmas trees can be composted. City councils in large cities often set up a tree collection programme in public squares or parks at the end of the Christmas season. The gardening service will collect them and turn them into compost. 

If not, you can always put it in the organic waste bin. You can reuse the pot (they are usually large, and that’s always good) or put it in the plastic container. And of course, you can also compost it at home.

Option 3. Use it for mulching

You can use the whole tree to create a mulch that will be very useful for acidophilic plants. If you have hydrangeas, azaleas, gardenias, camellias, rhododendrons or heather they will appreciate it.

If you have a wood chipper, the task is very easy. But if you don’t have one, cut as many branches as you can and let them dry a little before spreading them over the soil in your pots. The trunk can be used as described below.

Option 4. Leave it to dry and use it for handicrafts

Give your christmas tree a second life by getting crafty

The branches that are still green can be used to create some crafts: wreaths, bouquets and centrepieces can still bring some green into your home. Combine it with colours other than red to avoid associating it so much with the holidays that are over.

The trunk can be cut with a saw to create coasters, table mats or for future projects for next Christmas. Or if it was a good size (and you aren’t lacking space), why not let it dry out completely? Next year it can become a minimalist Christmas tree that you can decorate in a totally different style.

Did you enjoy this article on how to give your Christmas tree a second life? Why not read our guide on beekeeping for beginners

Many of us enjoy a cosy ambiance at home during the colder months, and often candles are a brilliant way to add an extra level of warmth to a room. If you’ve ever done any plumbing work at home, you’ve probably got some leftover copper pipes or fittings. Instead of letting them sit and gather dust, consider putting them to good use by transforming them into DIY candle holders!
You don’t have to be an experienced plumber, since copper pipes are easy to cut and glue. Even better, rose gold is still on trend, which means your copper candle holders will be perfect for the winter months and upcoming holiday season.

So, get ready to take the plunge and follow this DIY candle holder tutorial using copper pipes.

DIY candle holders

What you’ll need to make your DIY candle holders

For your copper candle holders, you’ll need:

How to make your own DIY candle holders

DIY candle holders tutorial

We’ve provided three models for your DIY candle holders:

  • the first one is very simple and consists only of 3 copper pipes cut to different heights
  • the second one uses fittings to create a 3-branch candle holder
  • for the third, we’ve replaced the copper pipes with wooden dowels and changed the shape of the structure by adjusting the direction and sequence of the fittings.

Experiment with the configuration if you like. For example, you can even link several tee joints together to get a candle table runner.

Cut the copper pipes or wooden dowels

Whichever model you choose, you’ll need to start by cutting the straight sections of your candle holder to size.

First, mark your pipe or dowel to the desired size.

Cut the pipes with a plumber’s pipe cutter.

Use a pipe cutter for the copper DIY candle holders

How to use a pipe cutter

With this tool, you can make perfect circular cuts on your copper pipes. First, loosen the adjustment knob—or another mechanism—on your cutter to insert copper pipe between the cutting blade and the rollers facing it. Tighten the knob—but not so much that you can’t move it later—until the pipe is held in place. Turn the tool around the pipe to make a groove in the metal. Tighten the knob a little with each turn. The groove will deepen until the pipe easily cuts in half.
Once you’ve cut the pipe, use the deburrer on its inside surface for a smooth finish. This step is optional because it’s commonly used for plumbing pipes before they are welded, which is not necessary for this project.

Sand your DIY copper pipes until they shine

Sand your DIY candle holders

Next, use steel wool for sanding your copper pipes. This not only cleans the metal but also polishes it, giving it an appealing copper-pink colour. In the photo above, you can see the sanded pipe on the left, which is much lighter than the raw pipe on the right. To ensure the colour keeps its hue, add a thin coat of metal varnish.

Assemble the copper pipes and fittings to create the main structure for your DIY candle holders.

For model 1 (single candle holder with three pipes), you only need three pipes (6, 9 and 13 cm, respectively).

Before gluing, insert the candles into each pipe. Force the candle in the opening if necessary and turn it to shape the wax for the holder.

Now remove the candles so you can glue the pipes together. Ensure the end of each pipe sits flat on the table. For this version, we’ve chosen to assemble three pipes, but you can easily create a larger model by multiplying the pieces of copper pipe you use.

How to choose your glue

You can use 2-part epoxy glue to bond the metal. In this case, choose a quick-drying glue that normally works after minutes. If you don’t use quick-drying glue, you will end up holding the structure in place while it dries.
You can also use hot melted glue sticks with a glue gun for quick bonding. Wear gloves to protect your hands from burns.

Once the structure is dry, put the candles back in their holders.

For model 2, you’ll be making a candle holder with three branches. For this one, you’ll need pieces of copper pipe—here, we used 7cm—plus three female 90° elbow fittings and a female tee connector.

Start by gluing the pipes into each part of your tee fitting.

Next, glue an elbow fitting, facing up, to each free end of the copper pipe.

Fit the copper together for your DIY candle holders

The tee joints can be linked together in a staggered pattern to create a “table runner” style candle holder with multiple branches.

To hold the candles in place, pour a little melted wax inside the fitting to keep it straight.

For model 3, we replaced the copper pipes with wooden dowels of the same diameter. We also used three 90° elbow fittings and a tee fitting, but in a different configuration.

Connect the fittings and wooden dowels

If you want to extend your candle holder or change the zig-zag configuration, you can simply rotate the last bend to add a wooden dowel. Then, you can add as many fittings and candles as you like!

Repeat the step used in model 2 to insert your candles into their holders.

Personalise your DIY candle holders

Did you enjoy this article on DIY candle holders made of copper? Why not read our DIY Christmas tree made of wood tutorial or even our fairy light buying guide!

Are you making your own DIY candle holders out of copper pipes too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

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!