Humans have been making things from wood for thousands of years, and it’s played an important part in the development of civilization. Wood’s strong, versatile, and renewable qualities mean that it’s been used to make everything from tools to housing.

However, wood isn’t only used for practical, functional purposes. In fact, woodworking is a great way to express yourself creatively and to connect with nature. It also encourages mindfulness – a practice that’s scientifically proven to be good for our mental health.

So if you’re feeling creative, want to make some small home improvements, or are simply keen to engage in a relaxing and enjoyable activity, then why not have a go at one of these 12 projects that are suitable for all abilities?

1. Plant stand

Having plants in the house is a great way to brighten up your living space and is good for your health too. Yet, when plants are placed on the floor in our homes, they can often look as if they’re missing something – like a mattress without a bed frame.

But by placing them on plant stands and elevating them off the ground, they can quickly become part of the room.

You can make a variety of different plant stands out of wood – from a simple one that lifts a plant pot off the ground ever so slightly, to a large, multi-tiered stand. These multi-tiered stands are great for saving space in your home, as you can stack plants on top of one another.

To learn how to make a simple plant stand for less than £2.50, why not take a look at the video below?

2. Sofa sleeve

Do you ever sit down on the sofa and get comfortable, only to realise that your cuppa is a few feet away on the coffee table? It can be annoying having to lean forward every time you want to take a sip, especially if you’re engrossed in a great film or book. One simple solution to this problem is to make your very own sofa sleeve.

A sofa sleeve is essentially a platform that sits on the arm of your sofa. You can put your food and drink on it, rest on it when you’re writing, and much more. Sofa sleeves are relatively cheap and easy to make, and there’s plenty of room for customisation – you can make yours as big or as small as you need, and you can even fashion a cup-holder.

Of course, not all sofas are the same. So when you’re making your sofa sleeve, you’ll have to consider the dimensions of the arm of the sofa you’d like to use it on. This great tutorial from A Beautiful Mess won’t only help you make a sofa sleeve, but walk you through how to determine the right size for your sofa.

3. Geometric shelves

Whether you’re moving into a new place or need to find some extra room in your current home to display some treasured possessions, having some extra shelving can help with this. Plus, making shelving yourself is a great way to save money and add some extra flair to an otherwise basic and practical instalment.

One way you can do this is by making your own geometric shelves. They not only look smart and fashionable but are relatively cheap and easy to make. All you’ll need for the project is the wood itself, a power/hand saw, wood glue, a nail gun/hammer, and wood nails.

Due to their simple geometry, triangle shelves are the easiest geometric shelves to make – and by following this simple guide from Mr. Kate, you can make them as little or as large as you like, with as many shelves as you need. Or, if you’d like something a little different, why not try making these hexagon shelves?

4. Lazy Susan

A lazy Susan is effectively a turntable that can be used to store items neatly, while making them more accessible. For instance, you can place one in your fridge or cupboard, on your desk, or on your kitchen table.

Lazy Susans rotate so you can see and reach for things with ease – without having to stack things on top of each other or pulling everything out from the front of a cupboard to get to everything at the back.

Because a lazy Susan is, at its most basic, two circular pieces of wood joined together by a rotating bearing (which you can buy here), it’s quite an easy build. You can either make one from scratch by cutting the circular pieces yourself, or by repurposing old pieces of wood; like a circular chopping board or the top of a stool.

To get more of an idea about how to make your own lazy Susan from scratch, and tips on how to cut your boards into perfect circles, have a watch of the video below.

5. Wooden bead jewellery

Do you love to express yourself with what you wear? Or perhaps you’re interested in making thoughtful one-of-a-kind gifts for your friends and family? If so, then you might be interested in making jewellery using wooden beads.

Making wooden bead necklaces and bracelets is a fun, simple, and inexpensive way to express your creativity – and all you’ll need to get started is some string, wooden beads, a pencil, paint, a paintbrush, a skewer, and some scissors.

Want to get crafting? Then take a look at the video below to learn more…

6. Cookbook or tablet stand

When you’re cooking along with a recipe, the cookbook or tablet that you’re reading from can take up a lot of precious countertop space, and it can be a pain to have to keep leaning over it to find out what comes next. A simple solution is to use a cookbook or tablet stand.

This will not only make your cookbook or tablet easily viewable from anywhere in your kitchen, but you’ll have more space for making delicious food. To make your own from wood, you can either start from scratch or repurpose an old chopping board – both methods are cheap and quick.

To see how to make a cookbook or tablet stand from a chopping board, why not check out this tutorial from Country Living? Or, to make your own from scratch, take a look at the video below.

7. Door number planter box

There are few people who don’t appreciate being greeted with fresh-smelling flowers or a bit of greenery. And with a door number planter box, you can welcome anyone that comes to your home this way.

Like the majority of the ideas on this list, you can make a door number planter box even if you’re a woodworking beginner, and you’ll need very few tools and materials to get the job done.

So if you’re interested in jazzing up the front of your home, then why not take a look at the video below that will take you through each individual step?

8. Wooden spoon

While most of the ideas on this list involve basic carpentry and joinery, making a wooden spoon involves a different process entirely: woodcarving – which, to use a basic definition, is the sculpting of items out of wood. And one of the simplest and most practical things you can carve from wood is a wooden spoon.

Wooden spoons aren’t only great additions to your own kitchen, but make thoughtful gifts for your friends and family.

This comprehensive tutorial from Instructables will tell you everything you need to know to carve your own wooden spoon – from what tools you’ll need and choosing your wood, to carving and applying a food-safe protective finish.

9. Drawer divider insert

Organising our homes can be tricky. We all have different spaces filled with all kinds of different stuff. So buying mass-produced items to help us sort out our belongings isn’t always the best answer.

By doing a bit of simple woodworking, however, you can create organisational solutions that are customised to your home – making the most of the space you’ve got and organising your things in the way you like. And one of the best examples of this is drawer divider inserts.

Whether it’s for your sock or cutlery drawer (or that drawer we’ve all got in our home containing a random selection of half the small items we’ve ever owned), a drawer divider insert is easy to put together, and is also easy to remove when you need to give your drawer a good clean. Take a look at this blog post from Sawdust Sisters to find out how you can make your own.

10. X-shaped magazine holder

One of the simplest, yet most ingenious projects in this list is an x-shaped magazine holder that will help you keep newspapers, magazines, and other things that tend to clutter your living space, in a nice orderly fashion.

All you need to make one of these stylish, minimalist pieces of furniture is two flat wooden boards of the same size, and a saw.

You can make your magazine holder any size you’d like. Remember, it doesn’t have to hold magazines. It can be small enough to fit by the toilet and hold loo roll, or large enough to store rolled-up blankets in the living room. You can really get creative with it!

Check out the short video below to see how you can make your own.

11. Toolbox

If you’re looking for some inspiration for what you can make from wood, the odds are you’re quite hands-on and interested in DIY projects – so why not make something that’ll help you with all your other future projects?

The biggest benefit of making your own toolbox is that you can customise it for your specific needs – choosing the size of the overall box as well as the dimensions of all the compartments inside. Depending on your skill level, who you’re making it for, and their needs, you can make anything from a simple, one-compartment toolbox, to a more complicated multi-compartment one.

To get started on a simple toolbox, why not check out this tutorial from How to Specialist? Or, if you want more of a challenge, you might want to take a look at this how-to guide by Mistry Make Tool and the accompanying video below.

12. Children’s toys

If you’re looking for a more whimsical and less functional woodworking project, then why not consider making children’s toys? When you’re making children’s toys from wood, you can craft anything from a simple Jenga-style block stacking game to more complicated toys like cars and train sets.

If you like the sound of making children’s toys, you could even give whittling a try. Whittling is, at its most basic level, a form of wooden carving that only involves a block of softwood and a carving knife. By whittling, you can create all sorts of figurines and statues.

Wooden toys will make excellent gifts for grandchildren, or any other kids in your life. In a world of iPads and video games, giving a more thoughtful, back-to-basics gift, can make for a nice change.

Final thoughts…

From functional builds like an X-shaped magazine holder and a drawer divider insert, to creative projects like wooden bead jewellery and children’s toys, we hope you’ve found something on this list that you might like to make.

If you’re new to woodworking and you’re interested in undertaking one, two, or even all of these projects, then you might want to first take a look at our beginner’s guides to carpentry and whittling. Here, you’ll find tips and tricks on everything from researching the subject to purchasing your tools and setting up your workspace.

And if you decide that woodworking is for you, then why not have a look at the woodworking courses we have available on our site?

If you’re feeling crafty but working with wood doesn’t take your fancy, then we have lots of articles in the learning section of our site that you might be interested in – from 10 interesting craft ideas to try and home, to introductory guides on calligraphy and card making.