Woodworking is a wonderful hobby for anyone who loves working with their hands. Nothing beats the satisfaction of admiring and using a piece you’ve created. And getting started isn’t as hard as you might think. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 simple woodworking projects that are ideal for beginners.
What follows are some starter ideas. Yes, you can simply buy a premade version of any of these on Amazon. But it won’t be unique, it won’t give you the same sense of pride, and it likely won’t last as long either. Meanwhile, these projects are cool, fun, and fast – perfect for someone just getting started in the world of carpentry. We’ll also talk about the basic hand and power tools you need to get started and investments you might want to make as you build on your woodworking capabilities.
So let’s cut to it!
Quick: Think of an easy woodworking project. If you said “shelves,” you’re on the right track. With a basic design, you can make a beautiful set of shelves in an hour or so (maybe less) – no special woodworking skills or fancy tools required.
That’s why a simple wall shelf, floating shelf, or bookshelf is an ideal beginner woodworking project. Basic woodworking tools and skills, plus a few pieces of wood and hanging hardware, are all you need. Start with a simple, straight shelf. Stain or paint to finish. You can customize some added touches if you like or go straight to hanging and admiring it!
2. Key Hanger
If you want to take on something a bit more complex—with a highly practical payoff—try a key hanger. You again only need about an hour and basic tools to pull it off. In the process, you’ll lay the foundation of a lot of other possible similar projects: hat or coat racks, hangers for kitchen items, and a whole lot more.
One cool thing about a key hanger is that you can start with just about any piece of wood you want. Consider using a unique reclaimed piece of scrap wood or some pallet wood for some engaging impact. Then choose from thousands of options for hooks, dowels, or knobs. Your finishing options are wide open, too. Up for trying a distressing technique or some engraving? Go for it.
With some creative spirit and a simple tutorial, this great project is a fun starting point for your future woodworking inspirations.
3. Side Table
If you want to think bigger with your beginner wood project, these next ideas may be right for you.
A side or end table for your living room makes a fine companion to your favorite comfy chair. No need to overthink your piece. For example, you can start with an old wood crate or two as your main material, and you’re halfway there. Or, for a larger outdoor piece, try a couple of wooden pallets.
You also arent limited to a side table here. Once you finish the side table, you can build a coffee table as well to have a matching living room set.
Don’t want a full-size table but still want something to set your drink on? A sofa sleeve that slips over an armrest is a clever and easy carpentry hack.
4. Step Stool
If you don’t already have a portable step stool for your house, what are you waiting for? It’s one of the handiest items a DIY hobbyist can have. Not just for reaching that light fixture or that high shelf but also for holding your tools wherever you work or taking a load off when you need to.
This project is a step up in complexity and may require a tutorial – more measuring, more cuts, more construction. But the cuts and assembly are straightforward. And you should be able to take care of it in a couple of hours with relatively low effort.
5. Wine Rack
Looking for an attractive piece of home decor display a few of your go-to bottles of wine that’s also a fun DIY project? Then a wine rack is the ideal beginner wood project for you. With just a few planks of wood or an old pallet and a spare few hours, you can make a solid rack that looks great.
This is another project where reclaimed wood can really set the piece apart. All you need is a good drill and some mounting hardware. The simpler, the better to show off your favorite bottles.
6. Desk Organizer
You probably can think of a spot in your home that could use a little tidying up. The desk in your office. That crowded counter in the kitchen. Your workbench. Good thing you can get that mess under control quickly by putting together a handy organizer as a simple DIY woodworking project.
Designs for a basic organizer are adaptable to lots of different needs. A smaller size for your desk can handle your writing utensils, paperwork, clips, bands, and more. Consider incorporating a simple tablet holder into the piece. To level up the challenge, you can find many designs with dovetailed drawers.
7. Bath or Door Mat
Sure, you can buy lots of different mats with kitschy sayings. But they get dirty or wear out fast. Instead, you can make your own more memorable, custom bath mat or doormat with wood slats.
This is another project that you can make harder if you wish. For the simplest approach, stick with basic straight slats and two strands of sisal rope. All you need for that is a handsaw, a good power drill, and a spare hour or so. If you want it more challenging, you can choose a design with the slats on a diagonal inside a frame (so you’ll need to make multiple miter cuts).
8. Shoe Organizer
A DIY shoe rack is an easy way to get a closet or entryway under control. And with a little extra care in construction, it’s a piece that will let your shoes shine.
You can put a nice rack together in as little as two hours. Choose a durable hardwood, such as cedar, pine, or oak. Decide how many cubbies or levels you want. Consider a hanging rack design to save more space.
9. Plant Stand
A plant stand can work in many places inside and outside the home. Don’t be hemmed in by what you find to buy online. Not when you can make a better-looking, higher-quality piece for yourself or as a gift idea.
You can find plant stand tutorials for just about any taste or need – from a tall, sleek, single indoor plant stand to a tiered outdoor piece to showcase multiple plants. Work with reclaimed pieces for a rustic feel or fresh wood for a more refined look.
10. Dog Bowl Stand
Let’s finish off our list with a little something for your favorite furry friend.
A dog bowl stand/feeding station is surprisingly easy and quick. Get a good hardwood plank and some ready-made table legs. Cut your holes for the bowls with a jigsaw. Stain, paint, or otherwise finish as you please. Now your resident canine can chow down in comfort and convenience.
Ready for a somewhat harder doggie DIY? Try a collapsible dog ramp to help a senior citizen Spot climb up on the couch.
Dont Stop Here Either
Here we only listed some of our favorite basic woodworking projects. There are so many more that are definitely in your skill level that you can easily find step-by-step guides online. Here is a list of a few other woodworking ideas that we didn’t go into detail on above.
- Cordless drill
- Cutting board
- Wall art
- Bedside caddy
- Dining table centerpiece
- Wall plater
- Serving tray
What You’ll Need to Do These DIY Wood Projects
You can do all the projects we’ve chosen here, plus a whole lot more, with a basic collection of tools for woodworking beginners, including:
- Cordless drill
- Carpenter’s square
- Tape measure
- Saws – the more cutting you do, the more you’ll want something with power like a circular saw
- Sandpaper or power sanding equipment
- Wood glue and wood screws
Start with only the minimum if you need to. As you take on more and more complex carpentry projects, you’ll probably want to upgrade and expand your tools.
Those additional tools may include high-powered equipment, such as a table saw or a belt sander. So long as you’re making the investment, make sure you’re buying a quality tool that will last. It’s worth considering heavy-duty three-phase equipment instead of the more typical lighter-duty single-phase equipment.
But there’s one caveat to the three-phase equipment: you’ll somehow need to accommodate the 3-phase power. Chances are you have single-phase residential electricity in your shop.
In that case, a rotary three-phase converter can provide the reliable, efficient power you need. In addition, you can run other equipment off the converter simultaneously. For example, American Rotary phase converters deliver balanced 3-phase to keep your whole shop running. Explore USA-made American Rotary phase converters for woodworking here.