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15 Wood Lathe & Wood Turning Project Ideas for Beginners

Wood Lathe

Wood Lathe

So, you just bought a wood lathe, and you’re excited to use it, but you don’t know where to start. The ideal project for a beginning woodturner is one that not only creates something useful but also helps hone their skills. We’ve gathered 15 great ideas for you to get started with today.

Each of these projects is beginner-friendly, requiring only minimal wood-turning experience. At the same time, these projects will help you hone and refine your existing skills as well as learn new methods of woodturning. So, sharpen your tools, pick out your wood, and get your machine set up. It’s time to start turning wood.

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The Top 15 Wood Lathe & Wood Turning Project Ideas for Beginners

1. Bowls

Bowls are one of the most common wood-turning projects you’ll find, and for good reason. They’re fun to make and very useful. Who doesn’t need a bowl? Plus, you can make them as simple or elegant as you’d like. You don’t need to go crazy when learning how to make a wood lathe bowl.

In fact, you can even make a tiny bowl to get the skill down and build your confidence. Over time, you’ll start creating larger bowls as you understand the process better and refine your skills. Then, you can experiment with different shapes, sizes, designs, and more.

2. Bracelets

Making bracelets is a great starting point for making rings. It is a valuable skill to learn, and it is a great way to get started building your wood-turning abilities. Also, bracelets always make great gifts. You’ll also have freedom with how you finish your bracelets, and after you get proficient at making them, you can incorporate more intricate designs.

3. Rings

Rings are essentially tiny bracelets, so it makes sense to start with bracelets first. Once you have the methodology down, you can shrink the process and make some beautiful, elegant wooden rings. Experiment with different types of wood, various finishes, and designs carved into the ring. Rings can be great gifts for loved ones and can be sold if you get good enough at making them.

4. Spoons

Like bowls, spoons are an essential part of daily life. We all use spoons, so why not make some yourself? Remember, you are not limited to making spoons of any particular size. You can make small spoons for eating or large spoons that are meant for stirring a big pot. You can add more intricacy to your spoons with designs and attractive finishes as your skills increase.

5. Bottle Stoppers

Bottle stoppers are one of the earliest projects that most wood-turners complete. A bottle stopper is great for wine, olive oil, and other containers. We always prefer to make projects that will be used, and we’re certain you can find several uses for a nice bottle stopper!

6. Vase

Wooden flower pots can be a very attractive and natural way to show off your wood-turning skills while livening up an area. They make beautiful works of art and can include simple or complex designs. As your skills grow, you’ll want to turn vases of different shapes, sizes, and designs. Don’t limit yourself to what you see; there are no limits to what you can create if you can imagine it!

7. Candle Stools

Candle stools can light up a romantic evening. Alternatively, they can be used as doll furniture, making them great gifts for everyone, from your nieces to your grandma. Anyone who uses candles will appreciate such an item, or you can use them. You’ll have to make several to populate your niece’s dollhouse!

8. Goblets

Goblets are another proving ground for woodturners. Almost every woodturner attempts to make a goblet at some point, and it can be a rewarding project to complete. You can make them in all styles and sizes, so look around and find designs you’d like to emulate.

9. Bottle Coasters

Bottle coasters are perfect for holding wine bottles and as decorations. They’re rather simple to make and similar to the process of making bowls, though there are some notable differences. You can use bottle coasters as a way to refine and enhance your bowl-making skills.

10. Shot Glasses

Whether you drink or not, you know someone who could use additional shot glasses. Making these little items can help you to improve your fine motor skills and wood-turning skills simultaneously vastly. They’re simple to make but lots of fun—especially when you put them to use!

11. Magic Wand

Magic wands have been all the rage ever since Harry Potter became popular. Kids love them, and they make great gifts. You’ll even find plenty of adults carrying wands around your local Renaissance festival. More importantly, a wand will give you a fun, diverse project that you can make repeatedly without ever creating the same wand twice.

12. Wooden Pen

Turning a wooden pen is sort of a right of passage for woodturners. It’s a small, intricate item that will keep your wood-turning skills sharp. They’re a great learning tool, and making a few pens is sure to enhance your knowledge of woodturning. This is one project that you’re sure to find a use for once it’s finished.

13. Pestle and Mortar

Don’t make the mistake of thinking a pestle and mortar must be made of stone. You can learn how to make a wood lathe pestle & mortar. The mortar is similar to a bowl and follows the same basic process. The pestle can be customized to whatever shape you prefer and leaves room for embellishment.

14. Rolling Pin

Anyone who’s had a lathe for a long time has almost certainly made a rolling pin. They’re a rather simple project, but you can get pretty intricate while designing the handles. If you bake a lot, this project will see plenty of use once it’s complete. But if you’re not a baker, there’s almost certainly someone in your family who is!

15. Chair or Table Legs

Table and chair legs can be made very simple or ornate; it’s all up to you. Either way, the process is the same, and they can all be made on a wood lathe. Determine the length you need them to be and develop a basic design to try out. Once they’re finished, you can get started on building a custom table or chair.

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There is no shortage of projects for you to try on your wood lathe. Regardless of how new you are to the hobby, the 15 projects we’ve covered are all great for improving your skills and learning more about woodturning. Just remember the most important rule; have fun while you’re working!

Featured Image Credit: Rudimaes, Pixabay


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