Whether you’re beginning to explore the art of woodworking or you wish to show your child or grandchild how it’s done, small and simple projects will provide an educational and enjoyable introduction. Learn or teach the craft gradually, focusing on one new technique for each project, advises the Sawdust Making 101 website.
Porch or Garden Sign
Create a porch or garden sign for your house, or the house of a friend or relative. Shape a rectangular block of wood -- or any desired shape -- and engrave or paint “Welcome,” “Home Sweet Home” or a quotation about home and family. Affix the sign to a post, or attach a chain, cord or hook to hang it from.
Birdhouses are a classic woodworking craft, partly because watching birds use them is so satisfying. After all, when you create one, you build a structure for another creature to live in. Some people create large, elaborate birdhouses, but it's better to start small with a traditional four-sided house and slanted roof.
Create a simple box for jewelry, keepsakes or other knick-knacks. You can also call this box a “treasure chest,” if giving it to a child, and hide a surprise inside it. Put a little handle on top and a latch on the front to close it.
A dollhouse is a wonderful gift for children -- both boys and girls. Or, have the child help create it; he’ll be thrilled to help design a home for his toys. If you feel inspired, build small doll furniture to go with the house.
Create a personalized mailbox for another simple yet practical project. As BuildEazy says, find out the regulations for mailboxes in your area to make sure you build it within the size restrictions. You can make your mailbox look like a house or barn, paint it colorfully and stencil on your last name in fancy script.
Create a simple jigsaw puzzle for young children by cutting a uniform piece of wood into oddly shaped pieces. The pieces can have simple shapes; just make them lopsided and uneven. Before beginning, sand the wood, including the edges, so it’s smooth. Afterward, paint on a picture that a special child will like, such as a puppy or butterfly, and seal the wood with varnish or other sealer.
Build a photo frame to hold beautiful memories. Burn or carve a design into the frame after you finish shaping the frame itself; the extra effort will make this project even more special. A handmade photo frame makes a wonderful gift for a loved one, especially with a picture inside.
Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.