Easy Woodwork Projects | Ideas For Simple Things To Make From Wood
Woodworking Tutorials & Simple DIYs
If you fancy venturing into the world of woodworking but don't know where to start, you have found the right place!
All of the below DIYs are straightforward constructions, with project time varying from 15 minutes to a whole weekend, and the tools you need varying from a craft knife to a jigsaw. I have tried to choose the least intimidating ideas, and those needing a small number of materials & tools. There are also some beginner's woodworking lesson links to teach you the basics before you start.
I hope this inspires you to give woodworking a go :)
Hand-Bound Book With Wooden Covers
Materials & Tools
With regards to the best wood to use as a beginner, you are best off choosing inexpensive cuts of natural wood, or processed boards.
Balsa is a very soft and light wood which can be cut with a craft knife, and is probably the best type to use for kid's crafts (such as air planes). However, balsa is easy to dent and can't be used for any large or weight-bearing projects. For regular woodworking, I would recommend pine as it is relatively soft, cheap and strong. Pine can be carved and is easy to work with. I also like using MDF (which is a processed fiberboard), and plywood (which consists of thin layers of wood glued on top of each other).
When you have learned the basics and got comfortable with working with timber, you can advance to more expensive natural woods like mahogany.
'Joinery' refers to the joining together of wood pieces at 'joints'. The most basic level of making a joint is to glue or nail flat straight-edged wood pieces together in a regular butt joint. You can strengthen the joint by instead choosing a more difficult joint type such as a mortise & tenon, dowel or a dovetail joint (although this is fairly advanced woodworking). For beginners, you will mostly be using butt joints (possibly mitered butt joints), nails, wood glue and/or screws.
The vital tools and products you will need for working with wood are:
- Saw (a hand saw or an electric one)
- (Claw) Hammer
- Safety glasses and face mask
- A workbench
- Power drill
- Clamp and vices
- Tape measure
Once you get the basics, you may want to move onto using more woodworking techniques, and some very useful additions to your workshop would be:
- Scroll saw
- Band saw
- Drill press
- Miter saw
- Circular saw
If you want to specialize in a particular area, you will need specialized tools; such as a lathe for turning wood, or perhaps chisels for carving.
Raindrops Key/Coat Rack
Top Woodworking Tools & Kits
For woodworking projects you will need to invest in the right tools so that you can work efficiently and safely.
Quality tempered steel knives; a great starter set for beginners to carving.
A brilliantly useful set of clamps for use with all kinds of woodwork projects. Comes with a lifetime warranty too.
Embellished Wooden Clock
Beginner's Woodworking Advice
- Types of Wood
The most common hardwoods and softwoods.
- Woodworking Joints
From the super simple butt joints to the impressive dovetail joints.
- Manufactured Boards
Manmade sheets of wood are less expensive to use than natural wood.
- Finishing Techniques
A list of all the possible ways to finish natural wood surfaces.
- Woodworking Tools
A selection of 40 tools which are handy for keen woodworkers.
- How To Make Strong Joints
Very useful diagrams of each joint and how to secure them.
- Safety Rules
Top 10 basic rules of working with wood. A dust mask is essential.
- Mechanical Fastenings
Nails, wood screws and adhesives/glues will be mostly what you'll use.
- How to Cut Wood
How to use a selection of common workshop tools.
- Top 7 Power Tools
If you become a keen woodworker, you can slowly build up a collection of tools.
- Popular Woodworking
Have a browse through this website for lots of basic advice and projects.
A Simple 'X' Magazine Rack
What You Will Need:
* 2 Pieces of wood (lumber) measuring 11" x 22" each; the type of wood you use is your preference. Natural wood such as pine, soft maple or oak would be good choices if you want to stain the finished product, and fir or plywood are also options if you want to give it a paint finish. The thickness of the wood should be between 5/8" and 1".
* Clamp to keep work still
* Paint or wood stain
* Safety goggles
* Hand saw (optional)
* Drill (optional)
* Chisel (optional)
* Flat file (optional)
- Once you have cut your 2 pieces of wood out, you will need to mark a rectangle onto each piece in pencil. To do this:
> Draw a faint pencil line down the center of each piece, then a line across the middle. Where they cross will indicate the exact center point of the wood. These lines are shown as red dashed lines on the diagram above.
> x on the diagram represents the thickness of the wood you are using, so measure it if you do not already know the exact measurement. Divide this number (x) by 2 and mark this distance on either side of the shorter central line.
> Use these marks to then create two parallel lines, but only on one side/half of the wood pieces. This should give you a rectangle marked out as shown in the diagram, with the end of it finishing exactly at the center of the wood piece.
- There are a few ways you can cut this rectangle out, depending on the tools you have to hand:
> The way I have shown in the diagram is where you first use a jigsaw to cut about 2/3 of the way along one side of the rectangle, then curve around the top and back down the other side, leaving the corners rounded. If you find it easier to saw a straight line with a hand saw, you can use that (if you have one) for the straight cuts on each side. If you are using a jigsaw, stay on the inside of the pencil line and don't go outside of it, as accuracy is important.
You then use the jigsaw to remove the corners as best you can, before using a file and/or sandpaper to remove any excess wood and straighten the edges, so that you go right up to the pencil lines.
If you have a chisel, this can help in the corners to remove the excess wood.
If you have a router, this can help you getting perfectly straight sides, using a straight-edged piece of scrap wood as a guide.
> Another way to cut the rectangle out is to first drill a hole in the two corners of the rectangle so that they sit within the pencil line boundary. You then use a hand saw or jigsaw to cut the two straight sides, right up to the drilled holes, and then a jigsaw, flush-cut saw or coping saw to cut along the shorter side, between the drilled holes. You will then need a file/chisel and sandpaper to neaten up the sides and corners.
- Once you have cut the rectangles out on each piece of wood, you should be able to slot the pieces together. If you can't or they are too tight, make sure the edges of the cut-out section are completely straight before sanding off more material little by little until they fit together.
- When the wood pieces are slotted together, this is called a halved joint.
- Separate the pieces again, sand all of the surfaces to smooth them, removing the pencil line too, and then wipe the dust off with a cloth.
- You can then add a paint or stain finish, following the instructions provided on the packaging. Be careful that the finish doesn't interfere with the fit of the joint.
Woodworking Skills & Projects
Easy Peasy Makes
If you don't own woodworking machinery (except the most basic tools), or if you want projects suitable for kids, these are very simple ideas to try.
- Log Buttons
Cut and drill slices of branches for cute buttons.
- Easel Picture Stand
Very quick to make, and is a nice display idea.
- Driftwood Sailboat
Lovely for playtime with kids, or as a decorative object.
- Balsa Wood Tree
A Christmas tree made using wood so soft it can be cut with a craft knife.
- Handy Bowls
Hot water is used to shape these hand-shaped bowls.
- Kid's Boats
Use this free template to help your kids make an easy boat.
- Log Candelabra
Log + drilled holes = simple candle holder!
- Wood Block Memory Game
A very simple homemade game that will create hours of fun.
- Geometric Place Holders
Colorful wood blocks that can hold memos, photos, table numbers and more.
- DIY Ladder Hot Plate
A practical object made from balsa wood, wire and beads.
- Paint Stick Mini Pallets
Attractive décor to hang on your walls.
Rustic Photo Frame
Creative Wooden Projects To Try
- Mounted Deer Head
Chunky mounted wooden deer head made using a bandsaw.
- Potting Bench
Made with two wooden pallets and some 2x4 planks.
- Scrap Wood Napkin Rings
Easy introduction to using a boring/paddle drill bit.
- Carved Strawberries
Use a sharp knife to carve a pine block into strawberry shapes.
- Building A Fort
Use simple woodworking techniques to make your kids very happy indeed!
- Swedish Lawn Game
Create simply shaped wood blocks for a fun outdoor game.
- Bean Bag Toss
Construct a cornhole target for a great summer game.
- Wooden Salt Cellar
Hollow out a log section and make an adorable miniature spoon.
- Tray with Leather Handles
Useful for carrying food around on.
Tutorials & How-Tos
- Wooden Doormat
All you need is sisal rope and lengths of solid wood.
- Fairy Light Art
Create a pretty lighting project by simply drilling holes!
- Magic Wand
Carve your own Harry Potter wand from a length of pine.
- Bookmark Houses
With just a few simple cuts out of a wood block, you get a sweet little house.
- Decorative String Art
Interesting 3D string art for your desktop.
- Flower Press
A practical and simple project.
- DIY Bookshelves
I especially like the rope bridge bookshelf.
- Tree Shapes
Cut trees out using a scroll saw, then paint with watercolours.
- Puppet Theatre
Tabletop theatre for encouraging kids to be imaginative.
- Toy Treehouse
This would be fun to put together for your kids.
- Wall-Mounted Arrow
Chevron shaped art for your home.
Painted Animal Shapes
Wooden Pallet Chicken Coop
Home & Garden DIYs
- 'Love' Wood Sign
Statement wall art with a printed design.
- Side Table
Pure and simple table with a pull-out drawer.
- Stitched Lazy Susan
Creative idea for adding giant embroidery stitches to wood.
- Easel Picture Display
Beautifully artistic display unit.
- Scrap Wood Xmas Tree
Dyed wood Christmas tree full of character.
- Magazine Rack
Handy criss-cross magazine holder.
- Baby Go-Kart
Pull-along cart for entertaining toddlers.
- Birdhouse Plans
Free template for making a classic bird house.
- Giant Wooden Letters
Make your own personalized decorations for your home.
- Easy Bench
A simple style of bench from Popular Mechanics.
- Stencilled Candle Holders
Wooden block candle holders with an easy painted pattern.
Useful Guitar Hanger
DIY Kid's Play Kitchen
Simple Builds & Weekend Projects
- Hotel Key Rack
Awesome wall mounted key rack like those you see in hotels.
- Shopping List Pad
Handy paper roll holder to write your grocery list or memos on.
- Minimal Floor Mirror
Minimalist pine blocks to hold a full length mirror.
- Wooden Beer Totes
With a handy bottle opener attached to the side.
- DIY Pallet Serving Tray
Rustic, functional and very quick to make.
- Dowel Mug Holder
Attractive wall art made with many lengths of dowel.
- Stacking Storage Cubes
This project uses a few power tools but you could simplify the process by not using metal.
Log & Branch Reindeer
Mini Wooden Houses
More Fun Things to Make
- Shoe Rack
Straightforward design for storing shoes in a smart and compact way.
- Homemade Cutting Boards
Chunky boards in graduating sizes, cut with a jigsaw.
- Stylish Guitar Stand
Attractive curved stand for hanging your guitar from.
- Laminated Bench
Use just one sheet of plywood to make this sturdy bench.
- Cedar Serving Tray
Simple design, perfect for beginners.
- Racing Car Ramp
Fun ramp for kids to race their matchbox cars on.
- Slatted Wood Map Art
Cool wall art for those who love to travel.
- Freestanding Trellis
Add vertical interest to your garden and support climbing plants.
- Stylish Coffee Cup Trays
Six different modern designs for wood and Plexiglass trays.
- Typographic Wall Art
Cut out a giant letter and apply wood stain in a gradient effect.
Wooden Animal Shapes
Instructions for Cool Creations
- Woodburning 101
A tutorial for adding burned messages and pictures to your creations.
- Wooden Rod Trivets
All bound together with leather cord.
- Book Holder
With decoupaged end pieces.
- Giant Jenga Tower
Giant size garden game for outdoor parties.
- Leaning Magazine Rack
I like the added paint for a bit of personality.
- Barnwood Headboard
Reclaim wood with character to make a simple headboard.
- Driftwood Orb
Craft an artistic wood sphere around a beachball!
- Tiered Hanging Pots
3 flowerpot holders hung from rope for an attractive piece of design.
- Simple Wooden Rings
Stylish jewelry cut out with a scroll saw.
Painted Plaques & Signs
Project Ideas & Inspiration
- Kid's Scooter
Fun idea for a toy - using wood, castors and rope.
- Tree Coat Rack
Bring nature inside with some simple wooden plank artwork.
- Architectural Art
Wooden block creations by Drew Tyndell.
- Bathtub Caddy
Attractive and practical, you're sure to be proud of making this.
- Drop Cloth Tent
Fun project if you have kids - and the tent can fold away for easy storage.
- Wooden Polaroid Frames
These frames would be pretty easy to make yourself.