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Photograph: Courtesy of Rob Greig

Ten DIY courses in London that will convince you to actually fix your stuff

Always find yourself throwing broken stuff away? Become a proper adult – with proper hammering, sewing and screw-driving skills – at these courses

By Katie McCabe
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It’s time to face the cold, harsh light of day: you are an adult now, and you need to know how to do things. Things involving big hammers. ‘I just got this Tate exhibition poster framed; how do I get it onto my bedroom wall?!’ you cry. Well, you can learn to use a Black+Decker with a DIY in a Day– Drills class at The Goodlife Centre in Borough.

If you’re feeling ambitious, it does tiling and plumbing courses, too. In fact, London has a whole cohort of ‘people who can do things’ who have made it their mission to nurture the city’s adult-babies to a place of DIY competence. Groups like Hackney Fixers and Reimagine Co run free sessions where volunteers will help you bring your broken microwave, toaster or hairdryer back to life.

And if you don’t want to commit to an extortionately priced set of tools (or the trip to B&Q), you can rent drills, ladders, screwdrivers and sewing machines on a day-rate basis at the Library of Things in Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood.

 

Top ten DIY courses

Blackhorse Workshop

Things to do Cultural centres Walthamstow

This huge workshop in E17 offers space to artists and those looking to work on large-scale metal and woodwork projects. It also runs workshops in many of the skills needed to get started. Check the Blackhorse Workshop website for details of upcoming courses. They range from basic DIY to welding. There's an on-site café and a regular makers' market, too.

London Bike Kitchen

Things to do Classes and workshops Hoxton

London Bike Kitchen has a range of classes for every level. Learn beginner bike maintenance, the ins and outs of gear indexing, and the mechanics of building your own wheel. You'll be out cycle-nerding the lycra-clad set in no time. 

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The Goodlife Centre

Things to do Cultural centres Southwark

This independent learning space offers a wide range of classes for people who want to learn practical craft skills. Make a lampshade, upholster a footstool or even learn plumbing in their workshops, which are taught by skilled craftspeople. You'll leave  with all the skills you need to use your new talent at home.

Turning Earth E10

Things to do Markets and fairs Leyton

Turning Earth is a thriving open-access members’ studio and runs great courses. The focus here is all things clay. Whether you’re a beginner or want to take your pottery to the next level this Haggerston studio is an amazing place to test out your skill level. 

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At Work Contemporary Jewellery

Shopping Jewellery Millbank

It might usually be a jewellery shop, but this indie-designer-stocking store also runs workshops where you can learn to make your own bling. There's even a DIY wedding ring class. 

Ginger Pig

Shopping Marylebone

Part of a small, London-based chain of butcher’s shops, where animal welfare and provenance comes very high on the agenda, Ginger Pig's classes teach attendees how to find the best cuts of meat and how to properly carve an animal. Get chopping. 

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Tea & Crafting

Things to do Classes and workshops Camden Market

Since it was set up in 2009 Tea & Craft has been teaching Londoners to knit, sew, crochet, embroider and much more. The classes are offered as one-off, drop-in sessions for beginners, as well as courses for those who want to learn a lot more. All materials are included, so all you have to do is pay and turn up.  

M.Y.O (Make Your Own)

Things to do Classes and workshops Southwark

You know those cafés where kids can paint pottery while you sip tea? Make Your Own is like that, with loads more choice – and for adults. Here you can paint paper, tile or ceramics, make a book from scratch, design your own T-shirts and bags, or learn the art of decoupage, which is like sticking fancy collages all over stuff.  Participants are free to bring their own booze and snacks (or order in).

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The London Loom

Things to do Classes and workshops Hackney

Learn a new skill and teach yourself how to weave at The London Loom. Freestyle weaving workshops run regularly throughout the year. Book in for two hours (£45) or five hours (£100) with all materials included. Children’s classes are also available.

 

Dry Stone Walling Workshop

Things to do Classes and workshops Southwark

Dry stone walling, eh? Probably not be a skill you ever thought you'd need, but who knows: maybe you'll find yourself living on a farm in the Cotswolds with only a hot shepherd and a load of sheep for company. Learn this ancient art, with master waller John Holt at a series of hands-on fortnightly sessions, and you could seduce them with your skills.

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