Woodworking can be fun but everyone that decides to do woodworking projects has to start somewhere. Where you start might depend on whether or not you’re at all familiar with basic terms and tools.
The thing to know is you can find a lot of projects out there that will say they are beginner projects. However, when you start them they end up complicated or requiring far more tools than most beginners have at their disposal.
Beginners typically only have basic tools available and so the projects should reflect that as well as be appropriate for a beginner’s skill level, right?
We’ve put together a guide of some of the best woodworking projects for beginners. Our guide will include some small and simple projects as well as large and slightly more complicated (but still beginner) projects for you to check out. You certainly don’t have to be an expert to try out the projects in this guide!
Let’s take a look.
What Tools Should a Beginner Woodworker Have?
Every beginner has to start somewhere. It is challenging to tell you what you should have because you may only be able to start with basic things like a handheld saw and screwdrivers and a hammer. There are some basic tools that you should plan to acquire as you can.
The good news is that you can do a lot of these woodworking projects for beginners with just basic supplies. You can even use scrap wood or reclaimed wood for many projects.
We recommend having the following things but start small and you can always add more as you go.
- Nails, screws, and fixtures
- Wood glue
- Various wood (start with scrap wood if needed)
- Wood stain or paint
- Drill (optional)
- A saw of some sort
Just a few tools will go a really long way with these easy DIY wood projects that we are about to share with you.
You can make your wish list of other tools that you want as you go. You might decide that you want a level or a square, as well as a number of other things. As you build your skills, your wish list for tools will probably grow as well.
Now, let’s take a look at these 14 great woodworking projects for beginners below!
A bird house is a really great place to start for a DIY project and it’s one of the most highly recommended beginner woodworking projects out there.
These are simple and also really quite affordable to make. Most people elect to make a simple bird house that really looks like a house with the triangular or rectangular shapes but it is totally up to you. For this project, here are the tools that we recommend.
- Miter saw
You may decide to use other tools or to embellish your birdhouse differently and that is totally acceptable.
Just cut your wood, be sure to make a circular hole for the birds to get in and out of, and piece everything together to create the perfect safe place for birds. Then you can enjoy watching them out the window.
When finished, you can leave the wood plain or paint it however you like.
Since you’re just getting started with woodworking, you probably need a good place to store your tools or carry them around with you. Sure, you can spend a lot of money on a bulky toolbox or bag but you can also just make your own wooden toolbox. It’s a great project for beginners.
This is very simple because you just have to cut your wood to make a toolbox the size that you want it to be. You can make a simple box like a crate or you can create a box and add a heavy dowel rod for a handle. It’s totally up to your preferences.
Plywood will work for this project but if you want it built to last, we recommend using sturdy wood for portions of the toolbox. This will just help it be much sturdier so it can last longer for you to use. Plywood could make a good base but it may need to be reinforced for strength if your tools are very heavy at all.
Just like any other DIY project, you can paint your toolbox and even add your name if you want to.
Wooden Photo Frames
Another great beginner project is picture frames! You really cannot go wrong with picture frames and who doesn’t need more!
You can make rustic frames or simple square frames. You could even get fancy and embellish them but that is probably something more suitable for an experienced woodworker.
To make photo frames, you just need your wood of choice, a saw, and some glue. Cut your wood pieces and piece them together and then attach your picture. This particular option for beginners is open and doesn’t require glass but you can add glass to the wood if you want that protective layer for your photos.
Photo frames can be made in all sorts of sizes. You can also prepare the wood in different ways to switch it up, depending on your style. Make sure you sand them and then stain or paint them to really make your photo frames pop.
Making a cookbook holder will take you just a few hours to make. These are so handy for people who like to be able to use a cookbook and not have to worry about where to put it so they can actually see it.
For this, you should plan to create a base with a lip to hold the book in place and then a backing that props the book up to be easily readable. The backing could be something simple like panel wood that is cut into a square or shape.
If you have a scroll saw, you can even use that to cut out some sort of simple design in the backing portion of your cookbook holder.
Just like with all of your DIY projects, you can sand this to be smooth and then you should plan to paint it, stain it, or at least add an outer coating to make it look really nice.
A cookbook stand can be really useful in your own home or you can give it out as a gift for someone else instead.
DIY Floating Shelves
We don’t know about you but it seems like we always need shelves or storage. This is a great project for a beginner and it’s pretty easy to do so you shouldn’t have any problems!
Doing this as a beginner project, you can use wood scraps or any type of wood that you have available. However, if you’re looking something for nice or sturdy then we recommend purchasing wood that will suit that purpose. Your shelf will be useless if it can’t be set up and then hold items, right?
To make a shelf, you just need your wood and a saw. Cut your wood to the appropriate length and size. You can also create a small backing if you want to make it a little more decorative but you certainly don’t have to.
Now, to finish off your wall shelves, you should add some pretty brackets. This is a simple and affordable way to make a simple wooden shelf and make it look really nice for your walls.
There you have it! Useful and attractive shelves perfect for a DIY project.
Beginner Woodworking Coffee Table
A coffee table is a great beginner craft that just might really put your skills to the test. Parts of this will be more challenging but you can also supplement your DIY work with some store bought additions if that makes it easier for you.
If you can craft the table itself, you can always purchase table legs rather than worry about trying to make nice legs that are even and designed the same. However, if you want to test or build your skills, you can give the legs a try!
The part we want to focus on is the table surface itself. This will still take some work and a little bit of skill. Beginner woodworking projects are meant to help build your woodworking skills and this DIY woodworking project will do just that.
Determine just how large of a coffee table you want and what type of wood you would like to use. Cut your sizes and then create the table to your liking. Most coffee tables are not just big rectangles so the edging you can create how you want it to be.
Some people just round the corners and give some structure to the edges, like a lip around the edges. Other people choose to make intricate designs around the edges. What you do with your woodworking skills is totally up to you and what you are comfortable with.
Once you’ve created the table, be sure to sand all surfaces and then stain them or paint them and finish them with a topcoat.
Key Holder For Walls
How often do you set your keys down somewhere and then forget where? Solve that problem with a simple key holder that you can put on the wall. It’s easy to make and it’s very practical as well. Your keyholder doesn’t even just have to be for keys. You can use the same type of design (or even the same shelf) to hold hats, purses, scarves, umbrellas, and more.
The great thing about DIY key holders is that you can make them however you want to. You will definitely need metal hooks to add to your shelving but you can make this super simple or you can add scrolled decorative pieces or even shelves if you want them. It’s totally up to you.
It’s a practical and simple creation that you can style any different way that you want to. There is nothing that says it has to be made a certain way. Choose your design, choose your wood, and get to creating your piece!
If you want a truly simple project for beginners, why not make a napkin holder? This will be really easy with just some sections of wood cut to size and then pieced together. Leave enough room in the center to hold your napkins.
This is pretty small and since there isn’t much to do besides cut the pieces, maybe shape the edges, and piece it together, it makes it one of the most perfect beginner woodworking project options you are going to find.
You can have this complete from start to finish in just a few hours or less. There’s nothing fancy to it but be sure to sand the wood and perhaps stain it to make it look nice. If you feel like taking your beginner woodworking skills to the next level, try using a scroll saw to make designs in the outer edges of your napkin holder.
Make one for yourself and then for friends and family and as gifts.
Simple Wooden Bench
Benches are slightly more advanced but if you can keep it simple, you can totally tackle this recommendation even as a beginning woodworker. You can use your wooden bench for patio furniture or perhaps for your entryway or some other use.
If you are not comfortable making the legs of the bench, you can purchase table legs and adjust them to work for this. However, you could probably make some simple legs if you follow a DIY instructional for a basic bench.
Benches can certainly be fancy but for the purpose of creating a bench as a beginner, we recommend focusing on creating a bench seat that will be sturdy. Arms and a back are not required for a simple bench.
The key point here to make this a suitable option for beginners is simply not to overthink it. You want your bench to be simple but also sturdy and reliable at the same time. Use quality projects and good screws and attachments to piece the bench together so it can bear weight reliably no matter where you place it.
Are you tired of your doormat always getting dirty and disgusting or just wearing out way too fast? Skip the mat that you have to clean or toss out all too soon and make a wooden doormat to serve the purpose.
For this wooden doormat, you just need some simple wooden planks. It’s not a platform so you want fairly thin planks. Some people even just use pallet wood for this type of project.
Piece the planks together, making sure you have a base behind to secure them. Once you’ve got it put together, you can paint it and decorate it however you like. Paint your own “welcome” message on the doormat.
Watch this doormat hold up so much better than most and it’s very useful and reliable for the same purpose as your standard doormat. Plus, it looks nice and puts your woodworking prowess to use! This is a very simple DIY project for beginners.
Arrows are always a great decorative piece to make. You can easily make these for your own home, for a gift, or even to sell and they will certainly be a popular choice. These make great living room decorations and people use them all of the time for filler pieces and wall hangings.
Here’s the thing, we don’t even mean a complicated arrow with the feathers and all of that. We just mean a simple wooden arrow point. It’s the “V” of the arrow, made large with pieces of wood. You can even make them in a series of 3 that can be pieced together or sold separately.
There is no major detail here, you just need to get the shape of the wood. You will use two pieces of wood that are cut at an angle and come together to make the “V”. You can make these large or small. You can also stain them in different colors or just paint them even if you prefer. It’s a totally customizable project with a variety of ways to make it work.
This is perfect for small wood projects that don’t take a ton of tools or materials. It’s a very simple project that looks like it isn’t simple on the wall.
A planter box is a fun and simple piece that you can make for DIY beginner woodworking projects. This box will be made with scrap lumber or maybe even pallet wood if you have them. You can make it with a crate design where there are gaps in the wood or you can make a fully enclosed box, it’s really up to you.
Make your planter box small or large, or make a variety of sizes. This is a very simple project and you could easily make several of them in a day. You really just need wood, wood glue, and some wood screws for this wood project.
Once you get your wood situated, you can personalize the planter box to match your needs. Paint it, turn it into an address planter box, or simply leave it as plain wood. It’s totally up to you! You will be surprised at just how much a planter box can spruce up a home or a window.
DIY Wooden Boxes
A box is a great project for a beginner. It might just help you start figuring out how to piece things together. You can make a wooden box simple or elegant and you can make them in all different sizes and styles.
When you’re ready to make your wooden box, just grab the wood, the glue, some screws, and your saw and get started. We do recommend that you also practice making both open boxes and boxes with closing lids as well to get the feel of the whole process.
Adding a lid can be done by making it a sliding lid or by adding hinges for a lid that lifts and lowers to open and close. For a beginner, making a lid with hinges will probably be easier but it’s really completely up to you and your comfort or skill level.
Wooden boxes are great for both decorative use and storage so play around a little bit and make these in a bunch of different sizes and for a bunch of different uses. You really can’t go wrong on this one.
Dog Bed Space
Keep it simple but also fun with a dog bed. You can create a base with walls and a front that is perfect for your dog to enjoy. This is an open concept design and you will use simple wood. Try plywood, panel wood, or even pallet wood. You can also just use lumber that isn’t overly heavy or expensive as well. Maybe a 1×2 or 1×4.
Create the basic framework, making sure that your front side is low enough for your dog to easily step inside. Make your walls and back just slightly higher for a protective and cozy feel around the bed.
You can sand this and then stain it or paint it. You might even want to paint your dog’s name across the front base piece even.
Once you’ve got it all finished, grab your dog’s bed and set it inside on the base piece. It’s the perfect combination of secure and cozy for your pup and it looks really great too.
Beginner woodworkers don’t have to stick to boring projects that they don’t know if anyone will ever use. The goal is to find easy woodworking projects that can build your skills and can be useful. We’ve shared a few great suggestions here but you will find there are many more projects for beginners out there to try out.
Consider adding something like a wine rack, DIY bar stools, cutting board, lap desk, or maybe even a bath tray or serving tray to your list of projects to try out as you begin your woodworking journey.
What will you create first?