20 Beginner Woodworking Projects

20 Beginner Woodworking Projects

You’re here because you want to get in the workshop, make something fantastic, and use it for the rest of your life while simultaneously impressing your friends.

Well, everyone has to start somewhere, and there’s no time like the present.

These beginner projects will keep costs in mind, rest at a relatively low skill level, and give you rapid achievements to improve your skill and increase your prowess throughout every project.

You’ll quickly fill your home with wooden accomplishments, and ready yourself to graduate to intermediate tasks. Let’s get started.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the woodworking projects, we got you covered:

Woodworking Projects

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Simple Pallet Floor Shelf

Pallet Floor Shelf
  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, brad nailer, sandpaper, sponge brush
  • Materials Needed: Two discarded pallets, polyurethane, nails

Pallets are wildly cheap, and when they’re not cheap, they’re free.

You can find discarded pallets just about anywhere you look online, or go into local stores and ask if they have any to spare.

They’re usually trying to get rid of them, and you’d both have something to gain from it.

Using pallet boards, you can make a simple 18” shelf that rests on the floor. Use it to position shoes inside of, maybe an umbrella on top, and leave it near the door.

Alternatively, you could make the cubby sections narrow and use it to put your spices into in the kitchen. Your imagination is the limit.

Abstract Wall Art

  • Tools Needed: Circular saw (optional), wood chisel, sandpaper, hammer, sponge brush
  • Materials Needed: Driftwood, pallet wood, nails, lacquer

You can’t be wrong in abstract art—the whole point is that it’s your vision, and other don’t exactly have to see it.

With wall art, you can take pieces of shattered wood, driftwood, or pallets and simply mix them together to make a truly marvelous wall hanging piece.

Mix it up with the natural curves and abnormalities in the wood, cut a few 45° angles for some parts, and turn it into a triptych wall art by slicing and segmenting different parts of one big, awesome piece of wood.

Finish it off with a lacquer or poly finish to give it a professional and meaningful look.

Square Birdhouse w/ Feeder

DIY Birdhouse With Feeder
  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, biscuit joiner, electric drill, ⅜” drill bit, sandpaper
  • Materials Needed: 1” thick plywood, wooden spoon, nails, wood glue, rope, hook screw

It’s super simple to bring four same-sized planks together and make a square. Use a few 1” plywood boards and make a box, and make a bottom to it.

You’re going to hold it with the opening facing you, and tilt it into a diamond shape.

From there, you can simply take the wooden spoon, and wood glue it into place: place the handle on the bottom corner of the diamond, with the spoon end sticking out.

You can double this as a feeder, and it works as a slightly larger perch for birds to land on. Cut two more pieces of plywood, making them one inch larger on all sides.

Use your circular saw to cut them at a 45°, and a biscuit joiner to attach them to the top as a sloped roof to protect birds from the rain.

Serving Tray

  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, biscuit joiner, screwdriver or drill
  • Materials Needed: Two large cabinet handles, 2” thick wood, wood glue

Serving trays are one of the best first projects that you could ever do with woodworking.

As time goes on, you’ll learn how to carve your own wooden handles so that this is one solid piece.

For now, let’s use a few large cabinet handles to take the place of that. Find some that match the color of your wood, and get your tools ready.

Cut five pieces of wood that are all the same length. You want 2” by 5” or so. Three of those will be biscuit-joined together to make the bottom of the tray.

One will be cut again in a vertical line, and those will be used for the wider walls of the cutting board.

Lastly, use your last piece and properly cut a few bits of wood to fill the remaining spaces. Screw in your handles appropriately, and you’re done.

Chess Board

DIY Wooden Chess Board
  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, clamps, belt sander
  • Materials Needed: Board of dark wood, board of light wood, plywood, wood glue, polyurethane

This project is simple, but time consuming, so it’s the perfect way to gauge how much you enjoy woodworking and to use it as a milestone for a new project that you’ve completed.

Cut your boards of dark and light wood into strips, then adequately measure those strips and trim them into squares of the same time.

Using clamps and wood glue, alternate between the colors. You’ll have to affix everything to a same-sized piece of plywood to keep it stuck together.

For an added effect, you can use additional dark or light wood that’s left over to make a frame around the chess board.

Sand it down, and polyurethane it a few times over to keep everything looking absolutely perfect.

This is something that can sit on top of the china cabinet, and be a family heirloom if it’s built sturdily enough.

Basic Pallet Wine Rack

  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, biscuit joiner
  • Materials Needed: Wood glue, pallet wood, wood stain, finish (poly, shellac)

This is perhaps the quickest piece of durable furniture that you will ever make.

You’re basically going to create a frame of whatever size you deem fit, and use your biscuit joiner to secure it into place.

From here, you’re going to cut pieces of slender pallet wood at a 45° angle so that they can fit into the frame.

You’ll basically be making a bunch of big X’s out of wood, so that you’re left with diamond-shaped holes to store your wine bottles in.

The taller you make this rack, the more depth you’ll have to add to the frame in the first place so that it can hold everything properly.

Stain and finish this, and it will look like it’s always belonged in your home.

Monitor Stand

DIY Monitor Stand
  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, clamps, electric sander
  • Materials Needed: 1” thick plywood, wood glue, stain, finish

Is that three-monitor display at your desk a little too low?

You don’t have to adjust your chair, you just have to get out into the workshop and make a few monitor stands.

The beauty of this is that you don’t have to get stuck with whatever sizes are available online; you can make a stand that fits your very specific needs.

Cut plywood to perfectly match the bottom of your monitor, and leave 45° angles on the ends. Cut two pieces of plywood to size, angling them accordingly.

You could make this boxy or angle the pieces differently to that it sits like the top of a trapezoid; it’s artistically up to you.

Glue them together, sand and finish them, and you’ll be good to go.

Cookbook Stand

These are essentially miniature countertop lecterns, and they work wonderfully for propping up your cookbook.

Alternatively, if you make them the right size, it could also work to hold a large smartphone or a tablet for watching cooking videos instead.

Simply put, you have to cut four pieces of wood: one for the actual surface that the book rests on, one for the small lip that’s just beneath that, and two pieces of wood cut at a 45° to attach the flat panel to.

Be sure to finish it off so that moisture from anything in the kitchen (boiling water, high temperatures and humidity) don’t seep into the wood and ruin it.

Shoe Rack

DIY Shoe Rack
  • Tools Needed: Table saw, electric sander, brad nailer, clamps
  • Materials Needed: Wood glue, nails, finish product

Shoe racks are simple enough, but slightly time consuming.

Aim for a rack with six slots for shoes so you’re not taking on too big of a project. You’re going to make a basic rectangular frame, and put a dividing piece of wood going horizontally on the inside.

Cut four same-sized panels of wood to apply to different spaces inside so you end up with six different slots.

You can get abstract with it (the slots don’t all have to be the same size), but it is important to finish this off and sand down the edges to make it look cohesive and uniform.

Address Plaque

  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, screwdriver, sander or sandpaper
  • Materials Needed: Screws, 1” thick plywood, metal numbers, weather treatment stain, mounting brackets

This is going to test how proud you are of your achievements in woodworking.

If you’re truly ecstatic about your skill progression, there’s no better way to flaunt it than by making a new house address plaque.

You can make this in a short amount of time, and the materials are rather inexpensive.

Take a 5” x 7.5” piece of plywood, and sand down the entire thing very well. For a warm look, you’ll want to smooth out those edges so all the sharpness is gone.

Find a spot in the back where you can attach the mounting brackets. Use a tape measure to ensure the letters will be perfectly in the center, and screw them into place. Voila; you’re done.

Coat Rack

DIY Wooden Coat Rack
  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, electric drill, wood planer, electric sander
  • Materials Needed: 4-8 iron hooks, screws, wood glue, polyurethane, stain, 2” and 1” oak wood

This can be a wee bit ambitious, but making a full standing coat rack is going to look fantastic right as you walk in the door at the end of your work day.

Hang your coat, your hat, kick off your shos nearby, and smirk as you realize that you made that.

There’s a lot of 45° angles to cut, and some weight distribution to account for. You need the base to be heavy.

The most intense part of this, after attaching everything together, is going to be staining and sealing it.

There are a lot of sharp angles to fill in, and a lot of instances where the polyurethane, shellac, or whatever sealant you’re using could glob up and get stuck.

Be diligent, and understand that it doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should aim for as high quality as possible.

Towel Rack

  • Tools Needed: Lathe, circular saw, cordless drill
  • Materials Needed: Screws, wood glue, mounting brackets, ¼” plywood

Lathes get to be a bit tricky, so that part is optional.

Using the lathe will give you a unique design on the wooden pole we’ll be using, but since a towel will be on it anyway, you can leave it as a simple pole.

You can buy a separate wooden pole (no less than 8”) for this project, and trim it accordingly as you see fit.

Get some mounting brackets secured to two pieces of plywood, and figure out where it’s going to fit on the wall.

You just want to keep this lightweight enough to not put major stress on the wall when you factor in the weight of the towels.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even put another plank of wood above it to give a top shelf, and store rolled-up towels like a hotel.

Wooden Stool

DIY Wooden Stool
  • Tools Needed: Table saw, drill with circular bits, clamps, electric drill, electric sander, cotton cloth
  • Materials Needed: Wood glue, screws, polyurethane, stain, oak wood

You want to make something that you’re proud of, something that’s useful and usable—there’s nothing better to tackle than a stool project.

You’ll have to cut a circular plate of wood for the seat (or sand and round the corners of a rectangular piece).

While we’re not working with a biscuit joiner here, you’ll still be bringing pieces of wood together.

For that, you’ll use wood glue and screws. Finish it off with a great stain and some polyurethane to keep it sealed and sleek.

The great thing is that this is a graduate project. Start with a simple stool, and work your way up to making tall bar stools with curved backs and lathed stool legs.

Go crazy, because there’s a million different ways you can make a stool.

Picture Frame

  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, brad nailer, clamps
  • Materials Needed: 1” strips of oak wood, nails, wood glue

A simple frame that’s not meant to have glass in it (though you could fit it for plexiglass later on).

Simply cut a 45° angle on each of the strips of wood so that they can be glued together, and finished off with brad nails through the ends.

Use clamps to make sure everything fits well together. If the thickness of the wood is ¼” or less, it’s going to be difficult to fit a piece of plexiglass, the picture, and a cardboard backing into it.

Aim for ¼” to ⅜” at the very least, and you should be okay to make a quality picture frame that actually works well.

Bonus points if you learn wood burning at the same time and engrave the picture frame.

Armchair Cup Holder

DIY Armchair Cup Holder
  • Tools Needed: Sawzall, sandpaper, drill with circular bits
  • Materials Needed: Wood glue, polyurethane

Want to make something that you can start using almost instantly?

This nifty little project is basically a rectangle with only one side missing, and is meant to hang over the arm of your couch as a wooden cup holder.

Secure the two pieces of wood to the other panel, use your drill to cut a hole in the center that fits your favorite cup, and you’re done.

You’ll have to measure the arm of your couch in order to make this just right.

The hole in the center is where the base of your cup will sit, but keep in mind it will work better with heavier cups like a porcelain coffee mug.

This is a quick project that can even be made as a gift for anyone that you know drinks their coffee in from of the TV in the morning.

Homemade Jenga

  • Tools Needed: Table saw, wood planer
  • Materials Needed: Just some 1” thick plywood, stain (optional)

If you have kids, this is an excellent way to turn some old pallet wood or a single sheet of plywood into a super fun game.

We all know Jenga, but now you can make your own without having to pay a bunch of money for a set.

Cut the pieces into 1” x 3” strips of 1” thick wood, and simply repeat this process until you have the desired number of pieces.

You can even mix it up and make a Jenga tower with four slats on each level if you wish; it’s all about your imagination.

You can complete this in about an hour, and start playing with your children right away.

Paper Towel Holder

DIY Wooden Paper Towel Holder
  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, biscuit joiner, electric sander
  • Materials Needed: Wood glue, ¼” metal rod, 2 simple circular cabinet knobs, 1” plywood

This isn’t your standard standup paper towel holder. We’re going to make what’s known as a farmhouse paper towel holder, which is like a small upside-down stand

Camp End Table

  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, cordless drill, sandpaper
  • Materials Needed: Plenty of ¾” plywood, screws, wood sealer

You know what you always need when you’re camping?

More surface space. That’s especially true if you also woodwork with fletching while you’re out in the woods.

You’ll need a few long boards with 45° cuts on either end, some screws to pin the legs together, and a few boards screw together to make a small table top.

If you can aim for a 12” x 12” table, you’ll have plenty of space.

This is also perfect because the ¾” plywood is more than sturdy enough to hold about ten to twelve pounds on this little surface space, making it viable for in-home use as well.

Even if you just end up stacking more materials on top of it in your workshop, remember that you made that.

Bottle Vase Holder

DIY Wooden Vase Holder
  • Tools Needed: Circular drill bits, electric drill, circular or table saw, biscuit joiner
  • Materials Needed: ¾” thick plywood, shellac

This is simple, and adds a lot of decor to your space without much effort.

Start out with your plywood, and create a rectangular frame. Instead of making 45° joints, make straight-cut planks and use a biscuit joiner to put them together.

It looks a lot like a rectangle frame, but you’re about to transform it.

Use your circular drill bits to cut (measured) holes through the top, and get ready to position bottles through it.

You can gradually make the hole bigger to accommodate for different bottles, but some simple 12 oz glass bottles with some colored pebbles and flowers would look fantastic with this simple piece.

Oak Wood Cutting Board

  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, clamps, electric sander, wood planer, latex gloves, glue scraper
  • Materials Needed: 1” thick oak wood, wood glue, 100% tung oil

A cutting board is the ideal first beginner project to get started on. It’s something that can be gifted, or kept as a family item if you wish.

You’ll be able to make a fully food-safe cutting board in about an hour, and that’s with paying great attention to detail.

Your cutting board should be 7” x 10”, and be sanded extremely well. You’ll cut strips of your wood, mix-and-match them, glue them together and clamp them together, and let it dry.

After that, you’ll run it through the planer and coat it in 100% organic tung oil. For a full in-depth guide on everything you need to know about making a wood cutting board, just look at our guide.

Wooden Planter Box

DIY Wooden Planter Box
  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, electric sander, brad nailer
  • Materials Needed: Stain, paint, weather treatment, nails, ¾” thick plywood

Ready to decorate the great outdoors a bit?

Planting saplings and flowers is expensive, but if you decide to get cheap plastic pots, they’ll look far better in a wooden planter box.

You can get really creative with these and follow a bunch of different design templates.

If these are going outdoors, it’s best to weather treat them after staining. If they’ll be inside, staining alone should be good enough.

You’re basically going to make a wooden rectangular crate, with no top on it.

This is all going to change depending on the flowers you’re planning on using and the size of the pot, which is what makes it so great: you can scale this project to your home’s needs.

Hope Chest

  • Tools Needed: Circular saw, electric sander, clamps, drill
  • Materials Needed: Metal hinges, ¾” thick plywood, screws, wood glue, stain

There’s no rule that says a hope chest has to be a certain size.

You could even make a tabletop sized hope chest, and it’s going to be just as awesome. This is basically making any wooden chest, but with a little more finesse thrown into the craftsmanship.

There’s a lot of 45° angles for the corners, a bit of rough work with the hinges, but it’s a doable project for a beginner woodworker.

You could build a hope chest with pallet wood as well, so long as you cut even strips and use glue and clamps to properly join the planks together.

It might be best to run those new pieces through a planer a few times to get a nice smooth edge. There are a lot of ways you can make this work; let your imagination run wild.

Doll House

DIY Wooden Dollhouse
  • Tools Needed: Biscuit joiner, saw table, brad nailer
  • Materials Needed: Lots of ½” plywood, nails, sanding sponge

Making the basic frame of a doll house isn’t all that difficult.

You can trim down the pieces of wood that will be used for the flooring and walls ahead of time, and make them slightly off-center to one another to add dimensions and asymmetrical features to the inside of the house.

You’ll basically make a very large square frame with some planks joined along the interior.

Using a biscuit joiner, wood glue, and some brad nails in certain areas will keep this super sturdy regardless of who’s playing with it.

Use a few different shingle-style pieces of wood to make an authentic-looking roof, and if you’re getting really fancy with it, take a sawzall and cut windows and doors out.

You don’t want to stain the house, but using some wood paint to color the exterior would be a great touch. Make one for your child, or make one and donate it to charity.

You’re On Your Way

After working on some or all of these projects, you will be able to see your skills improve from piece to piece.

You’ll be well on your way to making something truly fantastic and impressive. Just remember that mastery of anything, especially a hands-on skill like woodworking, is time consuming.

Put your heart into it, and the return will be greater than you could ever imagine.

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