You don’t have to be a carpenter to be able to work with wood and build something neat or functional. In fact, anyone can tackle a simple woodworking project with just a few key tools.
Many projects won’t require any special or specific tools and can be completed with some basic tools you might already have access to at home.
Of course, more detailed projects will require more specialized equipment.
The goal is to have fun and build something interesting--not to overwhelm yourself or spend all your money!
To get you started, here are some easy wood projects you can DIY at home.
Benefits of DIY Wood Projects
Many people might think that all the trouble and fuss isn’t worth it to work with wood.
This couldn’t be further from the truth!
Granted, there are some things that might just be easier (or cheaper) to buy at Ikea. A bunk bed is a great example of something that wouldn’t be easy for beginners and would probably take professionals several months to complete.
Doing your own wood projects is generally a lot cheaper than buying something from the store. As you’re only paying for materials and any tools or supplies--not the labor or brand.
Completing your own project generally costs much less when compared to their lookalike retail counterparts.
You’ll also be giving yourself something interesting to do, developing your woodworking skills, and creating something that’s truly one-of-a-kind.
Your grandparents call that sort of thing “character building”.
Not only do you get the satisfaction of building something yourself, but you also wind up with a conversation piece you can brag about to guests.
How fantastic would that be?
You’ll have a great looking furniture piece in your home that’s 100% handcrafted, and you would’ve saved a lot of money doing it.
Before you can start, you’ll need the right tools.
You might have some already or may need to purchase some; and you also have to consider supplies like nails, screws, fasteners, wood glue, paint, stain, sand paper, etc.
While you can pick up some new tools from a hardware store, you could also benefit from renting certain tools from those same locations for a much lower cost.
Not only does renting tools save you money, but it gives you the chance to learn a new tool without committing to the full price tag!
Basic Tools Needed for Wood Projects
There are several power tools you could use that would make projects much easier.
However, don’t underestimate the power of your own two hands. Lots of these tools can be replaced by simply using your hands. Like sanding by hand versus using an electric belt sander.
While having certain tools can make the job easier, you probably aren’t interested in working with wood to have something easy to do, right? Even if you are, starting with the basics and working the design out by hand can teach you a lot about technique and paying attention to the finer details.
You’ll need to decide if specialized wood equipment is something that you want to invest your money in. If you’re just making one project you might want to stay on the cheaper side of things and avoid making any big purchases.
You can also rent tools if you need something special, without dropping a ton of cash on it.
If you plan on frequently making wood projects then having or owning power tools might be the way to go.
In this case, you’ll have to treat it as an investment in your woodworking.
Some things you can’t do by hand, and drilling screws into thick wood is one of them.
You’ll need a drill for the majority of your projects so this is something that you’ll need to use frequently if you already have one, or something that you’ll need to go and buy.
There are different drills on the market that are better for woodworking so do your research and find out which one would work best for you.
Things to pay attention to when shopping for a power drill:
Again, this isn’t something you can replace easily. When a nail needs to be hit into the wood, your only real option is a hammer--at least if you don’t want to mess it up.
Most wood projects will require a hammer.
It doesn’t have to be the Cadillac of hammers, but just something that can get nails into wood. A cheap hammer will do the trick, although more expensive hammers probably have their benefits. Keep in mind the size and grip when looking at hammers as this can dictate how comfortable or easy it is to use for a given project.
Screwdrivers are a must for every household to have so typically people already have a collection of them.
You’ll need a variety of screwdrivers for multiple wood projects. Some pieces of wood are too delicate for a drill and need a lighter touch.
Phillips and flatheads are your two basic screwdrivers. It’s best to have these in a few different lengths and sizes since the holes and fasteners you end up working with can vary in size or depth.
You could buy a more versatile screwdriver that lets you change out the heads for an all-in-one tool that takes up much less space than a collection of screwdrivers.
Wood Glue and Clamps
Wood glue is pretty essential. This will help hold your entire project together.
And what good is wood glue without clamps?
You’ll need clamps to hold your pieces of wood together until the glue dries, otherwise, you’ll be stuck holding the pieces together for hours. Not only will you get tired, but your hands will probably slip which will result in a wonky project.
Clamps come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. You’ll select clamps based on the size of the project and its pieces, so it’s always a good idea to have a variety on hand.
You can’t get very far on a wood project without the use of a tape measure. You’ll need the measure to make sure that your project will be lined up and equal on all sides.
Measure twice, cut once.
If you can’t measure your pieces, you can’t guarantee symmetry or that things will line up correctly. Even if you’re off a bit, a tape measure will clue you in on whether you need to start over or remove a bit before you start putting something together.
This is left pretty general because there are so many saws that are available for purchase. However, the kind of saw you’ll need depends highly on what kind of project you’re doing.
A hand saw can get some easy wood cutting projects done without a problem. Other projects might require a circular or jigsaw.
Of course there’s also routers, DADO saws, bench saws, and the like. These let you create particular notches or perfectly angled cuts; and while you can achieve some of these with simpler saws or even a hammer and chisel, precision is key in woodworking.
If you don’t own a particular saw, don’t want to buy one, or can’t rent it, some hardware stores or lumber yards can make particular cuts--for a fee--but this little hack can save you a lot of time and money.
Wood Projects You Can Do at Home
You’ll see these ALL over Pinterest.
Some are more complicated but for the most part, most pallet projects are really easy and simple to do.
Most of the work involves cutting the pallet in the right places since the wood pieces are already put together for you.
Tables, benches, platform beds, and chairs can all be made out of whole pallets or pallet wood--you just need to get creative!
Easy Candle Holder
This is a pretty straightforward project to do in an afternoon.
Find some old horseshoes and nail them to the side of a board, then carve out some holes for the candles and there you go!
Ok, it’s a little more complicated than that but it’s still an easy beginner project.
Address Number Planter Box
Again, this isn’t complicated and is pretty self-explanatory if you just look at the picture.
Screw your house numbers into a large piece of wood then attach a planter onto it as well.
Next, you can plant any flowers you want in your address number flower box and have a beautiful welcome for all your guests.
Do you like the farmhouse look? Do you like having guests over for dinner parties? Then this project is for you!
This lazy susan can be made for under $20!
The YouTube channel, Do it on a Dime features a lot of easy DIY projects that save a lot of money. This lazy susan will make dinner time more organized and less cluttered.
Hanging Basket Wood Stand
This is a great project for plant lovers.
This is a great way to show off your favorite plants on your porch with a fun twist.
Your plants can hang and be off the ground away from critters, but also look great with a cute hanging design.
Get a couple of pieces of wood, drill them together, put a hook on it for the plant, and you’re all set.
Check out the full project details here.
Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never tried before.
You’ll make some mistakes no matter how practiced you are, or how many times you measure.
Yes, you might fail. Maybe you screw the wrong pieces of wood together or accidentally cut the pieces to the wrong size.
However, you might just create something beautiful and unique that you’re really proud of!
To really enjoy woodworking, make it a way to express your style or taste.
Use it as a learning experience.
A lot of the starter projects in this article build on basic techniques and ideas that could be applied to a variety of woodworking projects. Further, a woodworking project doesn’t always have to be “from scratch.”
Maybe you pick up an antique or well-worn piece of furniture, like a coffee table or chair. You could refinish it, change out the legs, decorate it with embellishments or even reupholster it with new fabric (in the case of chairs).
So long as you get to know your tools and some basic woodworking joints and techniques, you’ll end up with a repertoire of skills to apply to a multitude of projects big and small.
Best of all:
You can save yourself some serious money by making your own furniture, or upcycling something you got on the cheap at a yard sale, or picked up for free curbside.
You might create something that inspires someone else, or is good enough to sell!
So if you’d like to try a wood project, there’s no time like the present!