A few years back when we were expecting baby number 2, we finally purchased a house. It wasn’t perfect, but it was in a great location and had space that we knew we could grow in to. With so many cosmetic updates needed and not nearly enough furniture and wall art to fill the space, I began to try my hand at projects around the house. My first project was a bench with shoe storage to go in my entryway, all made out of wooden crates. It wasn’t perfect and I can’t say I built it from scratch since I used pre-made crates as the base, but it was my first solo “build” and it is surprisingly still standing today! The projects snowballed from there and I quickly became obsessed and found myself constantly planning for the next DIY idea!
DIY and woodworking in particular is very rewarding to me. Not only is it challenging and physically demanding, but I am creating something new from nothing. I find it almost meditative as I focus on the measurements, cutting, and assembly. I jam out to music while I’m sanding and staining and taking a little time to reconnect with my more artistic side. And when I’m done, I’m sweaty, I’m tired, and I’m happy. It is really a great feeling to work with your hands and make something.
Have you been wanting to get started with DIY woodworking projects but have no idea where to start?? I hear ya. That was me, not that very long ago. The thought of working with wood and power tools can be super scary. And if you don’t have anyone to teach you personally, it can be even harder to get out there and get going. I am 100% self taught and I 100% understand the hurdles you have to overcome just to get started. That is why I put together a list of 5 things you need to do to get past those obstacles and get out there to start creating your own projects!
1. Hands On Learning
In woodworking, hands on learning is obviously the best. Now, I don’t expect you to pay for a class if you are just getting started and trying to figure out if this is something you even like! Did you know that your local home improvement store offers free DIY training classes all the time?? I know I didn’t! My local Home Depot offers lots of home improvement courses, my favourite of which is the Do It Herself workshop. This workshop is offered typically once a month and is tailored to women looking to learn how to make fun projects.
My local store has a couple of workshops every month with projects like making a menu board, easy bath updates, and installing shiplap! These workshops are a great way to get exposure to different types of tools and projects while gaining more confidence to do things yourself. Check out the DIY workshops listed in your local area! They even have kid workshops!
2. Other Ways to Learn
Now, this may already be obvious to some of you, but Pinterest and Youtube are your friends here. If you can’t get to a hands on workshop, you can still learn a TON from home. I recommend reading lots of tutorials and watching videos of people actually performing the work. This typically works best if you have a project in mind ahead of time. Then you can learn skills specific to what you need to know for your project. Examples include: how to use a miter saw, how to make pocket holes, how to stain wood, etc.
3. Pick a Project
Which leads me to my next point: When selecting your first project, pick something small! You don’t want something that is going to require you to go out and buy a ton of tools or spend hours upon hours building. The best option is to choose something that is quick, relatively inexpensive (in case you make a mistake, which is totally expected and totally OK!), and one that requires minimal tools.
A couple of easy options that come to mind are: floating shelves, over the stovetop shelf, wooden tray or box, and even some platform bed plans are pretty easy!
4. Basic Tools-Workarounds
Now, you are probably wondering how you are going to make these projects without tools! Unfortunately, you can’t do much without basic tools. Most people have a battery powered screwdriver/drill laying around for home improvement projects, which you will need in almost any of these basic projects. You will also need a hammer/nails, measuring tape, and a saw. Home Depot will make some cuts for you if you don’t need a ton, so keep that in mind and walk in prepared to ask for cuts when you pick out your wood! I know, this is intimidating. I still get a bit overwhelmed when I walk in there. But the workers are super nice and knowledgeable and will help you if they can. Best to go mid week or off hours to avoid it being so busy they can’t help. Alternatively, you could buy a hand saw which is pretty cheap and will get the job done for small projects. If you get into the whole woodworking thing, you will likely want a miter saw at some point. That said, please don’t run out and drop that kind of money on your first project!
5. Lastly, just do it!!!
The only way you will really learn is by doing. And making mistakes. And doing again. So stop procrastinating, pick a project, and get out there!
I hope some of these tips help motivate you to get started in woodworking! (Beware, it is addictive!)
Sarah from Rocky Canyon Rustic is originally from rural Oklahoma but now lives on the East Coast with her husband, two young sons, and one adopted dog. She works part time and focuses on DIY projects and woodworking during her free time and during the kids naps. She is self taught and loves motivating other women to try woodworking.