17 Woodworking Projects for Beginners

Woodworking can be a wonderful source of being productive while having fun! The best part about it is that it can be done indoors as well as outdoors depending on the scale of the project as well as the kind of tools you’re using.

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17 woodworking projects for beginnersThink about why you have taken an interest in woodworking. Is it because you want to take on a hobby and don’t really want to invest too much in it?

For some people, woodworking stops at whittling or woodcarving as a way of having fun on the weekend. Or is it because you want to pick up the skill and would like to do some serious projects?

If you are a beginner, it is better to stay with primary woodworking tools and a few simple basics of it.

Here are 18 projects I found enjoyable and suitable for beginners, which do not require intense skills or equipment.

Chess Board

You might be thinking this project is as simple as painting 64 little squares on a single appropriately-shaped piece of wood. You might be thinking it’s as difficult as cutting and gluing together 64 little cubes. You could, in theory, do it either of these ways.

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There’s also a middle ground that makes for an engaging project and a satisfying end product.

First, pick two types of wood that are different in color but about equal in hardness. Oak and mahogany are good options. The World Chess Federation says the width/breadth of a chessboard square must be between 5 and 6.5 centimeters – that is, between 2 and 2.5 inches. Let’s stick with 2 inches, to keep it simple.

As a chessboard is 8 squares by 8 squares, we’ll have a board’s width/breadth of 16 inches. Next – using, ideally, a table saw – cut eight strips of wood, four of each color. Each strip should be 2 inches in width and 16 inches in length.

Arrange the strips in an alternating pattern (light, dark, light, dark), glue them thoroughly, wait until the glue has dried, then cut your new board into eight strips, again, 2 inches in width and 16 inches in length, only this time, cut perpendicular to the original cuts. Glue again.

Sand your board to give it a smooth finish. You can also experiment with a border if you like.

Before getting properly underway, maybe it’s worth just briefly going through a few of the cardinal rules of woodwork.

Always have a plan drawn and measurements made before doing any cutting. When cutting, always keep your fingers behind the cutting edge.

When cutting along a drawn line, always cut with a slight bias towards your body. This makes up for the inevitable bias there otherwise would be in your cutting.

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Generally, avoid nails. Nails have no real grip. Screws, with their threads, have great grip. Ideally, glue first, then use screws.

Before screwing, drill a hole for the screw, but make sure it’s slightly smaller than the screw’s diameter.

If you’re using a countersink screw, be sure to countersink the wood first. Otherwise, the wood may split.

For pieces of wood that you may need to separate again in the future, remember old-fashioned fish glue. This glue is pretty strong, but will still lose its grip quickly if a bit of steam is applied and won’t damage the wood in the process.

Sofa Sleeve and Cup Holders

This is a simple but highly practical idea, as well as a simple but highly practical project for beginners in woodwork. Normally, the arms of sofas are curved, and are so not ideal for resting cups of coffee on.

A solution to this problem can be created from three small pieces of wood: one to sit on top of the arm and the other two to hug either side of the arm and hold the upper piece in place. You start, obviously, by measuring the width of the arm, then you cut the pieces of wood to the appropriate sizes, glue or screw them together, sand your creation smooth, and varnish it.

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You can improve on this design even further by making a circular depression in the utmost piece of wood to serve as a cup holder.

Book Ends

Bookends can, in theory, take almost any shape, so long as they serve the purpose of keeping the row of books standing up.

This freedom can be a great advantage to a newcomer to the art of woodwork. Obviously, you should note the specifics of the space available – the dimensions of the shelf, for instance – but, within those limitations, you can conjure up any shape your heart desires, and even make it up as you go along.

The challenge though, should you choose to accept it, is to make two bookends as identical to each other as possible. And that challenge can make it more or less difficult, depending on how intricate or simple your design is.

Bar Stool

Bar stools also can take many forms, so long as they are tall enough to get you up to the bar (or kitchen counter) and comfortable enough to sit on. Making them a bit wider at the bottom, for the purpose of balance, is also a good idea. You can use almost any strong wood, including bamboo or rattan.

Anything from 66 to 76cm – or 26 to 30 inches – would be a normal height. The seat itself should probably be about 25cm – or 10 inches – in diameter, but could be square, circular, or some more unorthodox shape.

Again, the real challenge is making a second stool as identical as possible to the first. Identical stools can, of course, also have the merit of being stackable.

Simple Pallet Shelf

Now that you’ve taken on this hobby, you definitely need a shelf to store your tools. A pallet shelf isn’t too difficult to make.

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The backboard can be made with pallets stacked with either glue or nails. For the shelf itself, use one single piece of pallet to avoid uneven weight distribution.

For making shelf pockets, use differently sized pallets and use nails to stick them to the board. You can use a circular saw to cut pallets up in different sizes.

Candle Holder

A candle holder can be a long piece of wood pallet with multiple holes in it to fit candles; it could also be a single candle holder with a candle sized dent in it, which we should probably reserve for the more advanced woodworkers.

You can use a jigsaw or a table saw for cutting the holes. Only use a jigsaw if you have steady hands; otherwise, table saws are pretty accurate while cutting round holes.

Wooden Address Plaque

This one is quite easy; just get a wooden board and hooks behind it to hang it from the wall. You can add some decorative pieces to it to brighten it up.

You can also add a place for leaving notes with a pen and some pieces of paper. Just add a little pocket to store the cards and never miss out on any messages from your unattended guests!

Wooden Jewelry

You can express all your creativity with this one! You would need softwood, and through different techniques like whittling or even with the use of resin, you can make versatile jewelry.

It is quite simple to make a necklace out of a piece of wood as well as earrings. All you need to do is make sure the surface is extremely smooth and polished to avoid any bruises.

Cutting Board

Yet another example of what you can do with a flat piece of wood. To make a cutting board, you need to make sure the board is at least one inch thick and properly sanded.

If there are holes, you can use system 3 epoxy to fill it in.

Wooden Wall Frame

You can very easily make a wooden frame. Fix the size of the frame, and then you can go about this two ways: either cutting two pairs of two same-sized frame handles or making a square hole in a wooden board.

The first one would require gluing them or nailing them together. For the back, it is not necessary you use wood; you could use cardboard, too.

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Bird House

This project is one that your kids would enjoy the most. Get small wooden boards approximately 8 inches by 5 inches for the actual structure, and for the roof, you can be creative by incorporating clear materials or a small window.

Wine Rack

The wooden plank strikes again! This is very similar to the idea of making a long candle holder. You can use shelf brackets to do a wall display of your wine collection.

Door Mat

This one would require smaller wooden planks stacked together. If you drill a hole on one side of the planks, use a thick string to tie the planks together to create a doormat.

Coat Hanger

Coat hangers can be done in so many ways using wooden planks or boards. You can check a few of the ideas out to pick your perfect hanger.

Basket Hanger

A hanging basket frame is similar to making a wooden frame but in a bigger scale. For this one, we do not recommend using glue. Use nails to join the hands of the frame together.

This will be a standing frame, so make sure to use thicker and stronger wood at the base.

Hanging Planter

This is very similar to the idea of the hanging basket frame mentioned above. The only difference is you would use lighter pieces of wood since you plan to hang it from the ceiling.

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Napkin Holder

This napkin holder is a wooden flat surface with a locking mechanism. You only need hand tools to make this. You can check out the process in detail here.

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