15 Cool Woodworking Projects to Try

Updated: Nov. 23, 2023

With beginner's projects to develop your skills and confidence, as well as something to challenge the expert, these woodworking projects will have you reaching for your tools instantly.

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FH11APR_517_54_003 painting bench woodworking projects
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Painting Bench

This simple but clever painting bench is the perfect starter project if you’re new to woodworking. It takes just four hours to build and costs less than $20. The multi-purpose design means it functions as a step for reaching high painting jobs, a seat when painting skirting boards or ground-level projects, and a handy seat when you’re ready for a break. It can even double as a table for that all-important coffee and donut to keep your energy levels high. With curved stretchers so it tucks under your arm, this lightweight bench is a handy, useful woodworking project.

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step stool
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Simple Step Stool

No more wobbling about on unstable stools to reach up high. This simple step stool is easy to build and is specially designed to be safe on hard floors such as the kitchen or workshop. Hardwood board is the best material for this little stool (oak is recommended), and it can be sanded and then finished to your own specific preferences.

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Wall Cabinet for Video Games

Simple woodworking projects don’t come much more stylish than this. Put an end to toppling piles of video games and make this elegant wall cabinet instead. At 42-in. wide, it will hold 60 video games, and you can easily adjust the measurements. You don’t need many special skills for this project, although you will need to remove the safety guard on your table saw to cut the rabbets. Check out our detailed guide for how to cut rabbets. A pneumatic nailer will speed things up, too.

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Backyard Bird House

If you’re looking for a whimsical woodworking project, why not make this decorative backyard bird house? This fun project can be finished in half a day and costs less than $20 to complete. Plus, the birds will love you for it. Best made from soft wood such as pine, cypress, redwood or fir, this little house also has dowel pillars. You could even make use of dollhouse fittings to truly customize it! Different species of birds require different measurements, so read the instructions to choose the best size for your yard, and don’t forget to clean it out after the nesting season is done. And why not invite wrens to take up residence with this quirky wren house?

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dfh17may004_00-2 Wood Log Faux Fireplace Insert

Wood Log Faux Fireplace Insert

Woodworking projects can be used to trick the eye as well as provide function. Whether your classic fireplace only sits idle in summer, or it’s always a decorative feature, you can enhance the look by adding this eye-catching wood log faux fireplace insert. Cunningly designed to look like stacked firewood, no-one would know it’s simply a plywood board (painted black to look like a recess) and sawn log slices. Our guide to cutting and finishing plywood gives you all the advice you need. You can complete this project in one day for less than $100.

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FH00NOV_02140001 infinity table
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Infinity Table

One of the most striking of woodworking projects, this fabulous octagonal infinity table will be the focus of everyone’s attention, yet it costs less than $100 to make. When the interior lights are switched off it looks like a simple, ’70s retro table, but the clever use of mirrors creates an endless tunnel of light when you switch it on. Easy to make, and operated by batteries so there’s no cord to trip on, this table requires moderate skills, including using a router to install the mirror Follow our router basics guide for detailed guidance.

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FH00JAU_02054lead wood Potting Bench
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Potting Bench

Don’t wreck your back and knees potting your plants on an unsuitable table or worse, on the ground. Make this stylish potting bench and you’ll have everything at hand in one place. And you’ll be working at a comfortable height, too. Made from cedar (although you could use pine), you’ll need to weather-proof the wood or use pressure-treated wood. But you only need moderate skills and mostly basic tools—a table saw makes it much easier, so borrow from a neighbor or get your wood cut at the lumber yard if you don’t have one of your own. A skilled beginner could make this in 2 to 3 days.

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FH15FEB_555_52_024 IKEA Kallax Hack for Craft Storage
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IKEA Kallax Hack for Craft Storage

Woodworking projects don’t have to be done from scratch. This clever craft storage hack uses IKEA Kallax base units sandwiched together, then fitted with a plywood top, hardwood edging and casters on the base for easy mobility. There’s space for craft supplies and books, with a spacious work surface on top. This weekend project only requires moderate skills, and costs between $100 and $500. But you’ll need to countersink the pilot holes carefully because of the hollow construction of the units See our guide to driving screws for expert help. The only tools necessary for this project are a cordless drill and table saw.

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Partition to Create an Entryway Space

Folding Screen

This elegant folding screen has a multitude of uses. It can be used to divide a room, or to screen off an area such as a home office or craft space. It’s made from lightly stained white oak (although you could vary the wood depending on your taste), and is backed with plywood panels. These contrasting panels can be covered with wallpaper to match your décor or to pick out a feature color, as well as fabric, wood or window film on transparent acrylic.

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Porch Swing

Imagine rocking gently with a cool drink in your hand as the sun goes down. The dream could become a reality with this classic porch swing. With some woodworking experience under your belt, you could complete this swing in a weekend for less than $500. Choose your wood carefully. Avoid wood with knots, and opt for fir, southern yellow pine, cypress, poplar, white oak or maple. The swing needs careful sanding to avoid splinters! This swing is made with simple cuts, glue-and-screw assembly, and is suspended from the roof using half-inch steel pipes and welded steel chain for ultimate safety.

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Build Mudroom Lockers
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Mudroom Lockers

Tired of a jumble of muddy boots and wet coats in your mudroom? Then hide it all away with these smart mudroom lockers. There’s ample space for concealing coats, boots, backpacks, and accessories, and the bi-fold doors allow ventilation as well. Moderate DIY skills are needed and the plans are adaptable so the lockers can be custom-made to fit your mudroom. Made from stained wood (check out our tips for finishing wood), this project will cost $150, but you can reduce the cost to around $100 by using plywood.

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FH01SEP_02401_001 Space-Saving Kitchen Storage
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Space-Saving Kitchen Storage

Here we have five kitchen storage projects for the price of one! That means that squeezing extra space out of your existing kitchen is a cinch. These woodworking projects increase in difficulty, starting with a spice rack concealed on a cabinet door, up to a roll-out pantry cabinet. There’s also instruction for making a pan lid holder, a clever folding cookbook rack and blind corner glide-out with swinging shelves to utilize that awkward wasted space in a corner. And when you’re done, why not increase your storage options still further with these under-cabinet drawers?

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built-in bookshelf
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Built-In Bookcases

These superb built-in bookcases will please the keenest of bookworms, offering plenty of space for books, artifacts, photos and other objects. Lower cupboards are also included for tucking other items put of sight. Made from solid Mission Oak, with oak arch trim detailing, this bookcase can be adjusted to fit the dimensions for your room exactly. Most parts can be made in your workshop or garage and then assembled in the room. You’ll need some DIY experience for this complex project, including skills such as using a pocket hole jig. It will take you around 40 hours and cost approximately $1,500.

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FH02NOV_02733_029 home office renovation
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Home Office

Instead of struggling with a kitchen table or wobbly desk, why not treat yourself to a purpose-built home office suite? Providing the perfect environment for working, this innovative design includes a desk top, a swing-out work area, storage drawers and more. You’ll need some pre-made standard units for this project, including wall cabinets and file drawer base cabinets, and the detailed instructions include advice about installing wiring and lighting, as well. Take a look at our other home office organization ideas, too.

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Manufactured wood

Schoolhouse Storage Shed

This ultimate in woodworking projects could make your backyard shed the envy of the neighborhood. The rustic schoolhouse design even features a pitched roof and a miniature bell tower for complete authenticity. But it’s also practical, with double-doors for wide access and a service door at the side. The doors provide ventilation in summer. The shed rests on concrete, which is then set with attractive pavers Our comprehensive guide to setting pavers tells you all you need to know. Made for easy maintenance and durability, this shed features fiber-cement siding.