With the UK in and out of lockdown since March 2020, many of us have been taking up new hobbies to keep ourselves busy and make the most of the downtime during lockdown.
From cooking and gardening, to home workouts or learning a new language, Brits have bravely been making the best of things over the past year. And among the most popular activities is DIY, with around two fifths of the population taking on these kinds of projects during the first lockdown alone.
This is being most enthusiastically enjoyed by younger generations, with three in five (60%) 18 to 34-year-olds doing (or planning to take up) DIY work, compared to 46% of 35 to 55-year-olds and 22% of over 55s. In fact, some projects have been so creative that they’re attracted the attention of the national media. Here are some of the best of the bunch.
- Coventry dad builds playhouse for just £150
Back in April 2020, Wayne Mulholland, a concrete repairer and diamond driller from Coventry, made headlines after building a playhouse for his kids using leftover materials from building sites he’d been working on. He did so using CLS timber, which according to Building Materials is “a type of wood that became popular in Canada for building durable, strong and resilient homes”, as well as plywood, felt and plastic. All in all, Wayne built the playhouse in about three weeks for just £150, without even drawing up any plans.
Speaking to LatestDeals.co.uk, he said: “I came up with the idea as my eight-year-old son loves being out in the garden, so as we are all on lockdown I thought to myself ‘I will build my boy a playhouse’.” First making its base and framework, he routered the grooves to create a shiplap effect. Wayne then cut out the windows and a door, before fitting in the plastic windows and making a picket fence and garden seat. When asked how people can follow in his footsteps, Wayne said: “If anyone would like to have a go at a build like this, draw your design up, take measurements of materials you need – even down to the paint and trims – but please try not to waste materials!” Sound advice indeed.
- Mum makes classy caddy for a fiver
The next project cost a mere £5, as full-time mum Victoria Bunn transformed a cardboard box into a chic caddy that wouldn’t look out of place in a luxury home store. Speaking about the project, she said: “I saw a similar caddy that was made out of a cardboard box. I thought it was a fantastic idea and so cheap to make. I’ve seen lots of these types of caddies in the shops and they can be expensive.” So she decided to set about making one for half the price.
Using just an old cardboard box, rope, fabric, glue, kraft card, chalkboard paper and chalk, Victoria created the caddy in just four steps. First, she took a piece of linen and placed it inside the box to make an inner lining, before wrapping the fabric over the top and gluing it into place. Next, she used the rope and glued one end along the top of the box, and then wrapped it around before gluing it onto the cardboard. The third step involved creating a rectangle-shaped label for the front of the caddy, which Victoria did by cutting out the shape from kraft card and putting chalkboard paper over the top. Finally, she cut two smaller pieces of rope to make the handles and glued them on.
- Merseyside man makes outdoor kitchen from scratch
Last summer, Colin Davies was asked by his wife Andrea to clear out their garden after it had become “a bit of a dumping ground.” Little did she know that in just a few months he’d transform it into an outdoor kitchen with its own BBQ, wood-fired oven and a roofed pergola. Andrea was so taken with the finished project that she submitted it into a competition looking for the most impressive home build projects. To the couple’s shock, Colin ended up first place, winning £250 in vouchers to spend on building materials.
The 57 year-old created the kitchen entirely by himself, with coronavirus restrictions preventing anyone from helping him, and did so largely by re-using materials. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Andrea said: “A lot of the materials he used were recycled. Our neighbour next door to us had previously had a new roof on their garage and they were throwing away these lovely old tiles. My husband said to her ‘I’ll buy them off you’ but she just gave them to him.” And her admiration for her husband’s work was clear to see, with Andrea stating that: “I’m just so proud of him, he’s done everything himself.”