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10 Wood Turning Projects for Beginners

man turned wood into tray

Woodturning can create beautiful bowls, vases, and other wooden décor. However, it can be a bit overwhelming when you first get started. You may have many ideas but not the skill to pull any of the ideas of. Everyone has to start somewhere but figuring out exactly where it can be difficult.

Many people may practice on pieces of wood until they move beyond the beginner level. However, this can be boring and tiring. Instead, try a few of these beginner-friendly projects that can help you build skill while making useable pieces.

1. A Simple Bowl

Bowls are a staple of woodturning. Anyone who does woodturning will make a bowl at some point. Bowls can be as complicated or simple as you decide. Starting with an elementary bowl like the one pictured here can help you practice some of the critical skills you need for more challenging projects. However, in the end, you’ll have a finished bowl you can use or gift.

Don’t expect your first bowl to be perfect. But, when you get done, you can make another bowl and another. Eventually, you’ll be able to make more complex bowls without thinking too hard about the simple skills involved.

2. Wooden Pen

An easy wooden pen is another way to practice some of the necessary skills you’ll need for more challenging projects. They require very little wood, so you aren’t out that much money if you mess up. You can make your pens more complicated as you get better, but starting very simple is best for beginners.

There are many benefits to starting with pens. Both ends of the wood are secured, so you won’t have to worry about vibrations. You can tackle that later once you’re a bit better. Instead, you’ll mostly be working on applying the right amount of pressure for the type of cuts you’re doing.

3. Bottle Stoppers

Bottle stoppers are extremely practical and make good gifts. They’re also straightforward, though more complex options are possible. With this plan, you’ll learn how to make wood-turning bottle stoppers. They help you practice many different skills, depending on how detailed you’re making the stopper. This is usually best tackled after pens, as there are usually more ridges and details, which requires some knowledge of pressure to accomplish.

You can do these projects out of small pieces of scrap wood, so you won’t have to spend too much money.

4. Wooden Goblet

The difficulty of a wooden goblet is slightly more complicated than a wooden bowl. It is about as large as a small bowl but will require more detail. It’s a tiny bowl with a stem on the bottom. For this reason, we recommend trying this project after you’ve gotten pretty good at bowls and know how to make a bottle stopper. Then, you’ll combine the skills you learned from each project to make a suitable goblet.

This project is great for practicing your spindle skills, which are needed for more challenging projects.

5. Wooden Box

Wooden boxes are a bit more complicated than the other projects on this list. They’re for beginners who have had a bit of practice and started masting some of the necessary skills you need for woodturning. The difficulty of the wooden box is that the lid and base need to line up perfectly. You can’t just change the dimensions after a mistake. You’ll need to start all over.

This more difficult project is accessible to beginners, significantly if you slow down and take your time.

6. Tealight Holder

Here is where your skills can start taking off – even if you’re a beginner. Wooden tealight holders can be made into nearly any shape you want. You can make hearts or squares or circles – whatever is suitable for your skills.

Challenge yourself by making three of the same holders to make a set. This is more difficult than it may initially seem, as you’ll need to be careful about your dimensions and angles. Alternatively, you could make a more extended holder that has room for multiple candles.

7. Make an Apple into a Pear

First, purchase a wooden apple. You can find these at discount stores and online. Then, turn the apple into a pear. This is a quick project that leaves you with a usable décor item. However, it is perfect for perfecting skills, even as a beginner. You already have a circular shape, but you need to adjust that slightly to make it slenderer.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get started, this is a great first project.

8. Toothpick Holder

A little toothpick holder can be a good project for a beginner. They are very tiny bowls, requiring extremely little material, making them very cheap to make. Make a few of them in many different shapes. Gift a few to friends.

You can also use them for holding other things, of course. Make them slightly taller, and now you have a crayon holder. Make them more comprehensive, and you have a spot for rings and small pieces of jewelry.

9. Rolling Pen

Everyone needs a rolling pin for forming doughs. They also happen to be very easy to make. This is probably one of the most comfortable options on this list, as they are just cylinders with handles. Find out how to make wood-turning rolling pins here! However, you should know how to adjust to the correct pressure, so this may not be the best one to start with.

They also require quite a bit of material because they are so long, so it can be expensive if you make more than a few mistakes.

10. Wooden Coasters

Coasters are easy. You can make them any shape you want and can craft many out of one block of wood. Make a whole set to practice getting details correct. Create them very simple or as complicated as you want. These make great gifts, so they’re perfect for making around the winter holidays.

This is a great project to revisit. You can make complex coasters later with small details –to show yourself how far you’ve come.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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