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Easy Woodwork Projects | Ideas For Simple Things To Make From Wood

Updated on February 17, 2016

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

Fabulous wood bound books.
Fabulous wood bound books. | Source

Woodwork Introduction

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

- Screwdriver

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

- Router

- Drill press

- Sander

- Planer

- Miter saw

- Circular saw

- Level

- Jigsaw

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.

Flexcut 3 Knife Starter Set
Flexcut 3 Knife Starter Set

Quality tempered steel knives; a great starter set for beginners to carving.

Bessey BGPKIT General Purpose Clamp Kit
Bessey BGPKIT General Purpose Clamp Kit

A brilliantly useful set of clamps for use with all kinds of woodwork projects. Comes with a lifetime warranty too.


Embellished Wooden Clock

This pretty clock has a stencilled and embroidered bird design on the front.
This pretty clock has a stencilled and embroidered bird design on the front. | Source

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".

* Jigsaw

* Pencil

* Ruler

* Workbench

* Clamp to keep work still

* Sandpaper

* 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.

- Finished!

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.

Rustic Photo Frame


Yarn-Haired Horse


Painted Animal Shapes


Wooden Pallet Chicken Coop

Made by recycling wooden pallets (which are a great source of wood to use in your projects).
Made by recycling wooden pallets (which are a great source of wood to use in your projects). | Source

Useful Guitar Hanger


DIY Kid's Play Kitchen

It's relatively simple to construct wooden play furniture for kids - from ovens to basic playhouses.
It's relatively simple to construct wooden play furniture for kids - from ovens to basic playhouses. | Source

Log & Branch Reindeer

One project idea would be to construct log and branch animals outdoors - a fun reindeer sculpture would look great in any garden.
One project idea would be to construct log and branch animals outdoors - a fun reindeer sculpture would look great in any garden. | Source

Mini Wooden Houses


Wooden Animal Shapes


Painted Plaques & Signs


Stepping Stool


DIY Catapult


DIY Rocking Horse

An awesome project to aim for!
An awesome project to aim for! | Source

Brilliant Wood & Nail Trick

Do you do any woodwork?

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    • profile image

      laurenrich 5 years ago

      I enjoyed your crafts. Thanks for a great lens.

    • profile image

      Xenia-consultant 4 years ago

      That's great, well done! I really liked your idea and toys!

    • Wendy Leanne profile image

      Wendy Leanne 4 years ago from Texas

      The haster villa is awesome.

    • profile image

      ScottMckinzie 4 years ago

      Nice Lens thanks for the information...nice job;;

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      I always enjoy the projects and appreciate the ideas I get from your craft-related web pages. I am engaged in woodworking nearly every day, so this is a very valuable topic for me. Thanks!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Some very cool project, I like working with wood, my grandfather was a violin maker and taught my father how to work with wood and my father taught me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      nice efforts

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      A really good and useful lens! Thanks.

    • profile image

      marah-abd-12 3 years ago

      can anyone help me with how to make a really small boat like for decoration purposes

    • wellingtonboot profile image

      wellingtonboot 3 years ago from U.K.

      @marah-abd-12: Hi! Maybe you could make a small version of this type of yacht?:

      I think it would great on a mantelpiece :)

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