Design news goes DIY

With lessons in carpentry and plumbing to wine tasting and pottery courses, there's no excuse not to do something for yourself
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If Sam can

Sam Cameron can wield a power drill to make a bird box, and so can you. It’s easy to save on handyman services by learning to do it yourself.

Across London there are courses to teach you basic carpentry, plumbing and tiling skills of the sort you need around the house.

You don’t have to buy expensive equipment - most of it can be hired quite cheaply. And when you have caught the bug, you move on to something even more fun: this year beekeeping is a sell-out.

Blow your own

Make a paperweight at the London Glassblowing Workshop under supervised guidance. The introductory day-long workshops, normally on Saturdays, cost £250, including tuition and materials. They are designed to allow students to experiment with molten glass and to learn the basics of glassblowing. For information, visit

Bee ware

Beekeeping, baking sourdough bread, installing solar panels, weaving willow baskets and fitting a wood stove are just some of the courses you will find at Hackney City Farm and other venues in London - or just outside it. Prices from £60 a day. Call 01296 714184, or visit

Stitch this

If your mother never taught you to knit one, purl one, crochet, sew or embroider, now is your chance to learn with help from Jane Gois. Her West End-based courses start from £23.50 for a two-hour class, including materials. Visit

Time to go potty

You don’t have to be a local resident to enrol on one of Hammersmith & Fulham council’s courses, which range from evenings-only to full-time.

Learn how to mould, coil and throw a pot on Wednesday evenings from £195 for a 12-week term. The council also offers beginners courses on plumbing, tiling, electrics, decorating, woodwork and more. For information call 0845 839 7912, or visit

Spoon feeding

Steve Wager and Howard Fenn hold one-day silversmithing workshops in their Camberwell studio, costing £150, which includes materials, tuition, refreshments and lunch. The next workshops are on 5 March and 2 April, 2011. Call 020 7703 1967.

Steve Wager also teaches silversmithing at London Metropolitan University, the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design, which offers a 10-week course for beginners. For information, visit

Get a taste for wine

Learn the difference between your chardonnay and your chenin blanc at the Berry Bros six-week introductory wine course. It costs £375 for the six two-hour lessons, which include a glass of champagne and finger food. The early evening courses take place at the Pickering Cellar, 3 St James’s Street, SW1. Go to

A two-day flower workshop

Pick up top tips for flower design at the internationally renowned Judith Blacklock Flower School. The next course, on February 23-24, 2011, costs £470, which covers all materials and refreshments. Subjects include flower arranging; hand-tied bouquets; table arrangements; large-scale design; how to buy flowers, including a visit to a flower market, and growing your own foliage.

Judith Blacklock Flower School, 4/5 Kinnerton Place South, SW1. Call 020 7235 6235, or visit

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