Five simple home DIY projects you can do with wood

Article 8 - simple DIY

Have you always wanted to work with wood, but never known quite where to start? Fortunately, there are many DIY projects that a beginner can take on, with this article outlining five projects tailor-made for those just getting involved with making with wood.

Safety first

Before you attempt to pick up the tools, familiarise yourself with all of the safety equipment and procedures to prevent your work turning into tears.

Always wear the appropriate safety equipment, remember that alcohol and drugs do not mix with potentially dangerous tools and wear the right protective clothing for the job.

There are many safety lists available online or at your local tool or hardware shop, so get to know these before you attempt any work.

Be environmentally aware

Give yourself a pat on the back for choosing renewable, sustainable, certified wood. Then you know it’s been responsibly sourced and will be best for the environment.

You might not be aware, but up to 50 per cent of the dry weight of wood is carbon, removed from the air and stored for like by a growing tree. On top of that, the carbon footprint that results from the production and processing of wood products is lower than that for most other materials.

So, by choosing wood for your projects, you’re doing your bit to help lower your carbon footprint and tackle climate change.

Start with a simple, but versatile box

You can get as fancy or as basic as you like with the humble wooden box, and it serves countless purposes around the home. You can make them to any size, using offcuts for small and unique shapes all the way up to glory boxes and treasure chests for the kids’ toys.

There are even wooden craft boxes available with all the supplies and tools you will need to get the job done. Ultimately, these make for a great starting point for any budding woodworker. Even the kids can get involved.

Docks for your tablets or phones

These projects usually require just one piece of wood, but will hone your cutting skills and deliver a finished product that is still extremely useful. This work will require a chisel to carve out the groove for your device, which is a beginner level task but one that will give you invaluable experience on the tool and at shaping cuts into the wood.

A birdhouse

Had your fill of boxes? It is time to work your way up to the next level. Building a birdhouse is a task that is best enjoyed with the children, as it is simple enough that they can join in and they will love seeing the local birds roosting in their new home.

It will also give you experience with a sander, or sandpaper, and a drill. Best of all, most birdhouses can be built in just a few steps, but still gives you a chance to work on your skills at measuring, cutting, gluing, drilling, nailing, and painting.

The better you get, the more advanced skills you can apply to your birdhouses until you are creating palaces for your local feathered friends.

Cutting boards

It sounds easy, but there is an art to making a cutting board look just right. The secret here is that it isn't one board at all, rather a series of pieces that you will need to craft, glue together and finish.

This takes practice and skill to perfect, and you may go through a few attempts before you achieve a result that you are proud to display in your kitchen. But it is worth the trial and error.

This project can be built using wood scraps, so it is affordable. The overall process typically involves planing the pieces into the same thicknesses, cutting them into identical strips, applying glue and using clamps to hold them as the glue sets, in order to create your new chopping board.

Check out some home décor stores for inspiration. Depending on your favourite looks and choice of species, you can use end grain or with the grain wood. Best of all, there’s a whole world of finishes to choose from, or you can leave the new pride of your kitchen au naturel!

Wooden frames

What better way to display those precious memories than in a beautiful wooden frame you created yourself?

This is another project perfect for beginners, and one that can be completed using hand tools. This makes this a great entry level project for those who are still learning or are not confident in using power tools.

A simple mitre box that suits your hand saw is invaluable here. They are not expensive and can help you make accurate, professional-looking joints at the corners of your frame.

A good tip when you are starting out is to use glass from old frames and build your project around them, so you are not wasting money on cutting new glass that may get damaged (glass-cutting is a whole new skill). Alternatively, you can buy pre-cut glass and make your frame to match.

You can use new wood for frames, or recycled wood. Architraves from old window and door frames are popular, especially with people who like a distressed look. Simply wire brush the old paint to achieve the surface you prefer. Experiment with other finishes too—paints and stains can help a frame bring a photo to life.

These are just some of the projects you can turn your skills towards in the beginner stage, there is a whole world to explore when it comes to working with wood. And nothing beats the satisfaction of finishing your first job to perfection.

Photo: House 2067 - Furniture and Joinery - House of Origin