There must be a better way of covering the sides of a cake with sliced almonds than throwing them or pressing them with your hands!
first ice the sides of the cake only.
then spread the nuts/coconut or whatever sprinkles onto some wax or parchment paper.
then hold the cake in your hands (palms on top and bottom of cake) and then turn it vertically . roll the sides of the cake gently onto the sprinkles, a little at a time - there is really very little mess this way. remember to gently touch the sides of the cake to the sprinkles to avoid getting any icing on to the sprinkles.