I don’t use a bench vise often enough to warrant the expense of purchasing one. When I do need a vise, I use this seat-of-the-pants method. Cut piece of cheap plywood in half, clamp the workpiece between the two plywood halves, and then clamp the assembly to the workbench. This is a cheap, simple way to create a make-shift bench vise and accomplishes all that I need. – Matt Boley
Don’t want to keep on scrounging up plywood for this trick? This is our favorite bench vise on Amazon.
Hexagon ShelvesHexagon or honeycomb shelves have become very popular in the DIY world recently and we can be sure that someone on your list wants some. The reason for this is that they are interestingly designed, different from the norm and incredibly easy to build. You can push out six of these in an afternoon and not break a sweat! See the whole process here.
Stacking TotesPerfect for a kids room or entryway, these stacking totes will hide a lot of clutter but still keep items easily accessible and are perfect as a gift for someone with kids. Follow the video tutorial, how-to instructions and tech art to build one (or 10!) of these simple storage containers. See the project here.
Industrial Serving TrayThe industrial style became popular when urban pioneers began converting old warehouses and factories into living spaces and offices. Characterized by exposed brick and pipes, weathered wood and a utilitarian vibe, the industrial style has transcended architecture, influencing furniture, light fixtures, graphic design and even fashion. Build this serving tray for a friend to add a piece of this style to their home.
Rustic ShelfBring a bit of nature indoors with this simple branch-supported shelf. Perfect for someone who loves the outdoors. You'll have to find two forked branches about 1 in. in diameter, with one relatively straight side that will sit flush to the wall. Find all of the simple how-to instructions for building this shelf here.
Space Saving Wine RackThere's a lot of usable space below many upper kitchen cabinets, and it's the perfect place to store your favorite vintages. This easy-to-build wine rack requires just two 1x4s the length of the under-cabinet bay and a strip of 3/4-in. plywood that same length and 8 in. wide. Your sommelier friend will absolutely adore it. Click here for the full plans.
Shoe OrganizerStore shoes up off the floor in clean, natural wood racks. This simple storage rack can handle everything from winter boots to summer sandals, with no mud buildup or scuff marks on the wall. Your shoe-hoarding cousin will love it! See how to make it here.
Desktop CatapultPut this cool little project on your desk at work to annoy your coworkers, or gift it to one of your young relatives to annoy their parents. Since the only power tools we used are a jigsaw and a drill, this miniature catapult is extremely simple to build! Click here for all the dimensions
Wine BoxWe all know a wine connoisseur (or at least someone who claims to be). The only gift I can ever think of giving these people is wine. So instead of just handing over a bottle, I dressed up the delivery with a nice box. These plans are for a simple version of a very versatile project. Build it and perfect it for the next time you need to give a nice bottle of wine as a gift. See the whole project here.
Laptop Computer StandLaptop computers are unmatched for portability, but they're lacking in ergonomics. A good laptop stand helps, but they can be pricey and cumbersome, which detracts from portability. Instead, you can make your own stand that collapses down to a very portable size—and for a fraction of the cost! This is a perfect gift for your constantly traveling relative. Find the template here.
Chopping Board and Serving TrayLooking for a satisfying, beautiful woodworking project to give this holiday season? Make this beautiful maple and walnut cutting board/serving tray. Simple enough that you can start in the morning and finish it in the afternoon. Check out the full details here.
Dog Bowl StandThis design for a pet bowl stand is a great opportunity to perfect your pocket-hole prowess and, who knows, it could blossom into an idea for a side or coffee table. All you need are some basic tools and hardware. Depending on the size of your dog and your bowls, the dimensions may vary so sneakily measure someones puppy and start building! Find the full how-to here.
Industrial BookendsBookends are an easy way to break up space and add character to any bookcase. These industrial bookends are simple to build; you'll only need a drill and saw. Personalize them to your recipients taste with different species of wood, stain or even paint. We used oak, finished with a Golden Oak stain, and black steel parts. See the whole process here.
Pour Over Coffee MakerThis non-electric, pour-over coffee maker highlights the simplicity of brewing fresh, on-the-spot coffee. Plus, it's adjustable for filling both standard and travel-size mugs. You can build one yourself with the simple plans below and give it to your favorite coffee snob. Click here and see how to build it.
End Grain CoastersOne of our favorite parts about DIY and woodworking is trying different things. An inherent part of the hobby is hoarding the scraps from various projects. So every few months I need to clear out my pile and make something useful out of them. These end-grain coasters are fun because of the endless patterns you can create, and they make great gifts! Click here for some clever tricks on how to make it.
Contemporary Key HangerBuild this clever key hanger in an hour with two strips of contrasting wood. Each set of keys has its own small fob which nests in between the spacers. Opposing bevels in the spacers and fobs keep your keys from falling on the floor. You don’t need much material, and it’s going to hang on your wall, so splurge on some attractive wood and get building! See how to make these compound bevels here.
Swedish Boot ScraperHere's a traditional Swedish farm accessory for gunk-laden soles. We're sure one of your especially messy relatives will love it. The dimensions are not critical, but be sure the edges of the slats are fairly sharp. They're what makes the boot scraper work. Cut slats to length, then cut triangular openings on the side of a pair of 2x2s. A radial arm saw works well for this, but a table saw or band saw will also make the cut. Trim the 2x2s to length, predrill, and use galvanized screws to attach the slats from underneath. If you prefer a boot cleaner that has brushes, check out this clever project.
Sofa Arm Tray TableKnow someone without a side table? No problem! This handy tray sits on the arm of a sofa or chair, and it's really easy to build. Watch the video tutorial below, and follow the step-by-step instructions to build one yourself. See the whole project here.
Simple Floating BookshelvesAlong with being visually interesting, these floating bookshelves are super simple to build. They use minimal material and require only a table saw or circular saw, a miter saw and a drill. If you want to try some doweling joinery and pawn it off on someone, here's the perfect project. Click here to see the whole project.
Cedar Bath MatI saw a cedar mat like this online for $35 and thought, "Hey, I can make a better one for less." You can build one, too, in three easy steps.
Reclaimed Wood Key HangerAdd style and storage by your door with this key hanger project. Follow these how-to steps and video tutorial to build it yourself.
Taco HolderJust a few materials and a couple of tools is all it takes to make this quirky serving tray. Whether you're hosting a big fiesta or simply dishing up a weeknight dinner for your family, a taco holder is sure to spark conversation and compliments. See just how simple this project is here.
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