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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

Did you know that sliding doors are a great way to save space in any room of your home? This DIY sliding door tutorial will show you how to convert a regular hinged door into a sliding door

Switching from a hinged door to a sliding one can save you a great amount of space at home, especially in small kitchens and bathrooms. And you don’t even need to buy a new door, you can turn your old door into a sliding one, saving a lot of money in the process.

DIY sliding door project
DIY sliding door project

This tutorial will show you how to get this done so that you can make the best out of the available space in your home.

DIY sliding door: Tools and materials

Tools you'll need for the door project
Tools you’ll need for the door project

Cost, duration and difficulty

If you already have most of the necessary tools, the total cost of the materials is approximately £90. 

The level of difficulty is medium, as you will need to have some experience using power tools and assembling furniture. If you would prefer an easier option, you can always purchase indoor and sliding doors, ready for installation, on ManoMano.co.uk.

This project will take about 8 or 10 hours from beginning to end, so you will need a full day for your DIY sliding door project.

DIY sliding door from a hinged door tutorial

When turning a door into a DIY sliding door, we have to bear in mind that a hinged door fits right inside the door frame, while a sliding door rests outside the frame. It is for this reason that the sliding door needs to be at least 2 cm wider than the hinged door.

In this particular case, the door opening was bigger than the hinged door that we were recycling (15 cm wider). In addition, the door had glass panels that we wanted to remove. The following are the steps that we followed to make the door wider and give it the look of a barn door.

Upcycle an old door into a functional sliding door
Upcycle an old door into a functional sliding door

Step 1 – Remove the door’s glass panels

Remove the glass panels of the original hinged door
Remove the glass panels of the original hinged door

First, we removed the door’s mouldings around the glass panels. We cut it with a sabre saw and used a chisel and hammer to remove the mouldings.

You can also use a handsaw rather than the sabre saw, but it will require more strength and time.

Step 2 – Make the door wider

You can widen the sliding door
You can widen the door

In the next step we made the hinged door wider and covered the central opening with wood.

We cut a few wooden boards measuring 50 x 7 x 2.2 cm with the mitre saw, and then we fixed them with screws onto the inner side of the frame. For this we used a dowelling jig as it allows you to drill oblique holes.In order to widen the door, we screwed a few slats measuring 220 x 3.4 x 3.4 cm to one of its sides, until we reached the desired width. It had to be wide enough to fit the door opening and to prevent the light from coming through. Bear in mind that the screw heads must be flush with the slats to avoid gaps in between them.  

Step 3 – Finish the door with wood panelling

Stick panelling to the sliding door
Stick panelling to the sliding door

Next, we covered the door with wood panelling. This was a good way to hide the different materials that had been used and give it a more uniform look. Plus, we wanted the door to have a distinct and decorative style, that of an old barn door. We applied grab adhesive over the entire surface and then fixed the wood planks to it one by one.  

Step 4 – Protect and decorate the wood

In the following step we stained the wood. We used lasur in different tones in order to give it a vintage look. Lasur is not only decorative, it also waterproofs the wood and protects it from UV rays.

For the exterior frame, we used a black water-based enamel matching the sliding door guide that we were going to install.

Step 5 – Install the sliding guide

Install the sliding guide
Install the sliding guide

The last step was to install the sliding guide. These guides are usually made up of the following pieces:

  • A bar or rail
  • Nuts, stoppers and bolts
  • Sliding rollers
  • Side stoppers
  • Lower guiding rail

Follow the below installation steps for your DIY sliding door:

  1. Level the sliding guide and mark the spots where the holes are to be drilled on the wall.
  2. Drill the holes and insert the plugs with the help of a hammer.
  3. Screw in the rear stoppers of the guide. This will ensure that it is not flush to the wall. Next, tighten the front nuts with a hex socket or a wrench.
  4. Mark, drill and screw the sliding rollers to the door. Bear in mind that the rollers then have to be inserted into the rail, so you might need a helping hand at this stage to lift the door if it is too heavy.
  5. Insert the side stoppers and tighten them to prevent the door from sliding out of the rail.  
  6. Screw the upper stoppers and the lower guiding rail to the floor to keep the door from swaying when you open or close it.  
DIY sliding door
DIY sliding door

If you follow all the steps above, your new sliding door will be done and ready. It is a far cry from the hinged door that we started with. We have managed to recycle the door and transform it into a great looking sliding door that is both practical and decorative.

Did you enjoy this article on a DIY sliding door? Why not read our tutorial on a DIY solar lamp made from pallets or even our sliding door buying guide!Are you converting a hinged door into a sliding door too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

DIY Console Table with drawers created by My Thrifty Life by Cassiefairy

With just an old drawer, some reclaimed wood and a bit of imagination, it’s easy to build your own console table or desk. With many of us working remotely or home schooling, creating a dedicated space for studying or business is a great way to separate your work from your home life. Additionally, you can never have too much storage – especially in the hallway where keys, letters, loose change and newspapers can quickly clutter up the space. 

In terms of materials, you can use any reclaimed timber you have to hand, such as plywood, pallet wood or scaffold boards. For the drawer you can recycle one from an old, tumble-down chest like we have, or you could use a storage basket or two. The dimensions of this piece of furniture will depend on the size of the drawer you’re upcycling and the length of the legs. So, because you’re making it yourself, you can always customise the design to suit your needs. You could make it lower to create a child’s desk for homework or, rather than using a drawer, you could make a narrow cubby hole beneath the desktop to store your laptop, or you can use taller legs to DIY a narrow console table to keep your entryway organised. 

Check out the guide with step-by-step photos to make this handy DIY console table here. Enjoy!

DIY Console Table with drawers
DIY Console Table with drawers

Project created by My Thrifty Life by Cassiefairy with photography by Andy-Greenacre.co.uk 

Did you enjoy this guide on an inexpensive DIY Console Table? Why not read our article on our tips & tricks to create a cosy reading nook or even our January home & garden checklist!

Are you building your own console table? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Tired of stepping on small bricks every morning and picking them up every night after the kids are tucked in? Have you had enough of seeing them in tears when one of their incredible masterpieces has toppled in a heap on the floor? Now it’s your turn to get creative! We’re not joking… Start by stealing 4 large base plates and get to work laying the groundwork for your kids very own Lego® table, which should take no longer than 20 minutes to make. Your kids will be so thrilled they won’t miss the stolen pieces! 🙂

Things you’ll need:

  • a coffee table (we used 55 x 55 cm, the perfect dimensions)
  • large Lego® base plates (for us, 4 plates each measuring 25 x 25 cm)
  • joists (2.5 cm wide on one side and at least 220 cm long)
  • suitable glue (we used “All Purpose Adhesive”, which can be used for both the corner strips and Lego® plates)
  • tape measure
  • sandpaper
  • wood saw and a mitre box (or mitre saw if you have one)
  • pencil

How to make your Lego® table

The Lego® table is made up of base plates and a wooden frame. The latter is made from wood corner strips to make an edge that’s comfy for little arms and aesthetically pleasing as well.
Before you start to panic, don’t worry: making the frame is child’s play!

Step 1: Measure and calculate the length of the frame

For this first step, we must return to primary school because it requires a bit of maths.
Measure the table width and add the thickness of your wood corner strip + 1 mm. Our table (seen here) measured 55 cm and our wood corner strip, 3 mm. That gave us 55 + 0.3 + 0.1 = 55.4 mm.

Measure and calculate the length of the frame

Step 2: Cut bevelled edges for your frame

Use the mitre box to cut the ends of your strip at 45° angles. The measurements, which we calculated in step 1, correspond to the outer edge of the strip (where the angle is) so the inner edge will be smaller.

Cut wood for your frame

Step 3: Sand the strips for your frame

Sand the corners of your strips with sandpaper so that they are smooth and splinter-free.

Sand the strips of wood to create your DIY Lego table

Step 4: Glue the strips on the edge of your table

Add a line of adhesive along the edge of the table and glue each strip on top. Adjust the ends of each strip so that the connection fits together as tightly as possible.

Glue the strips on the edge of your Lego table

Tips: 

  • You can use a clamp, which is a great way of keeping your strips in place while the glue dries.
  • If your connection doesn’t fit together perfectly, add some matching wood filler.

Step 5: Glue the Lego® base plates onto your table

Glue the base plates together edge-to-edge. Add glue beads at all four angles of each plate and one in the centre. Leave the whole thing to dry and place a weight on each plate.

Glue the Lego plates onto your table

Presto: your table is finished, and the fun can now begin! Unless you want to turn the project into an art class too, in which case you can paint it in your little one’s favourite colour.

Create your very own DIY Lego table - tutorial DIY

Level up!
Want to keep playing? Take your skills to the next level with more tutorials! Check out our fun articles for children for lots of inspiring ideas!

Visit ManoMano for all your DIY, home and garden project needs.

Dry pasta is packaged in a variety of ways. We tend to buy pasta in cardboard boxes, which then end up in the recycling bin. And so, as dedicated DIYers, we finally looked at our used boxes and wondered if there wasn’t something more useful that we could do with them. That was the moment it came to us: an alternative way to upcycle old pasta boxes!

With just a few tweaks and some minor adjustments, it’s possible to transform these empty containers into practical organisers for your desk drawers or any drawers around the house. And, of course, to make your DIY organisers, pasta boxes aren’t the only option. You can use any cardboard packaging for household products such as tea, cereal, biscuits, crackers, toothpaste and even feminine hygiene products, just to name a few!

So, let’s find out how to give them a second life!

Turn old pasta boxes into drawer organisers

What you’ll need:

Process:

Step 1: Design your compartments

Set aside a few old pasta boxes that best fit the space you want to organise and take a moment to plan your project out.  For example, if you would like to organise a narrow drawer that is rather long and deep spaghetti packaging may be better suited vs. penne boxes.

Measure the drawer and sketch out the compartments on paper

To measure the drawer and sketch out the compartments on paper, take a sheet of paper and pencil and sketch out an interior view of your drawer. Using careful measurements, plan the compartments you want to build and determine the number and arrangement of items to be stored. That way, before you get started, you’ll have a clear idea of the boxes you need and the approach you want to take.

Step 2: Remove surplus cardboard

After you’ve planned it all out, it’s time to trim your boxes based on the measurements you’ve determined.

Remove cardboard you don't need to upcycle old pasta boxes

To ensure your lines are straight, use a ruler or set square for added precision. This step will get you a clean result instead of lopsided compartments.

Step 3: Open the boxes

Cut off any surplus and carefully pull the boxes apart from the area where they’ve been glued together.

Carefully open old pasta boxes

That way, instead of having a 3D box that is hard to decorate, you’ll end up with a flat piece of cardboard, which is definitely more practical and easier to handle.

Step 4: Line the inside of the boxes

Next, line the inside of the boxes. For this step, we recommend using kraft paper. It’s very thin and will make folding and unfolding easier, especially when working on the inside of the box. That said, feel free to use other types of paper.

Line the inside of the boxes using white kraft paper

To carry out this step, apply the glue stick on the inside of the box and glue a sheet of kraft paper on top. With the scissors, cut the paper between all the flaps on your box and fold the remaining edges of paper inside to finish the job. Use the glue stick to secure these edges.

Step 5: Line the outside of the boxes

Once you’ve finished lining the inside of the boxes, put them back together by gluing the areas that were initially attached.

Reassemble the old pasta boxes boxes

Next, in order to upcycle old pasta boxes you will need to line the outside of your boxes with decorative paper as if you were wrapping a gift.

Upcycle old pasta boxes with decorative paper

If you want the paper to ensure the paper sticks to the boxes properly, use the glue stick again. You can also use Sellotape or any clear tape. To make your drawer more stylish, choose different decorative paper that matches, complementary colours or line all the boxes with the same paper. That way, your drawer will be both organised and nice to look at!

Step 6: Organise the drawers!

After you’ve made enough boxes to organise your drawer, you simply need to position them inside and fill them up with items.

Upcycle old pasta boxes to organise your desk drawers

We used the boxes to organise office stationery at our desks, but you can adapt the project to any kind of drawer and items. The boxes will help you create separate compartments for a specific category of objects. As a result, you’ll find it much easier to keep everything in order.

In short, you’ll discover a new, user-friendly and practical approach to keeping things tidy that is also affordable – you just need to reuse some old boxes you’d otherwise put into the recycling!

Did you enjoy How to upcycle old pasta boxes? Check out our 12 stunning upcycled mirror frames tutorial for more creative upcycling ideas for your home!

Looking for materials for your projects? Visit our ManoMano site for all your gardening & home improvement needs!