14 Beginner Wood Lathe Projects

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If you’re brand new to the art of woodturning, this will be a great compilation of beginner wood lathe projects for you to follow along with. You’re sure to find a project that strikes your inspiration and gets you working with your hands. The most important part is that you’re practicing and building your woodturning skills.

Before you know it, you’ll be able to work on intermediate projects as you continue to grow your skillset. You’ll even be able to conjure up your very own unique ideas for projects and create your very own creative designs.

1. Wooden Pen

A popular project for beginners is turning a pen on a lathe. This is a great project to start with and show off your new skill to all of your friends and colleagues. Who knows, you may even find yourself getting requests to turn everybody a beautiful wooden pen!

Wooden lathe pen

Watch the video tutorial here: youtube.com

The video tutorial takes you step-by-step through the process of forming the pen and you’ll be able to follow along at your own pace. Even though this project seems simple, it hones your skill and ability to shape your cuts and apply the correct amount of pressure to the wood.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth walkthrough on how to turn your first pen, this video is great. The video shows you how to square a blank, cut it to the appropriate length, drill it, turn it, and then assemble it.

2. Wooden Bowl

If you’re ready to create something a bit larger than a pen, then a bowl is the next best beginner project. This video shows viewers how to turn their very first bowl and create a finished dish that they can enjoy their next meal from.

Wooden lathe bowl

Check the video tutorial here: youtube.com

There may seem like an overwhelming amount of steps for this process, but you can follow along at your own pace. You can even return to the video and find the section that picks up where you left off on your bowl. Take your time! After all, beginners need patience and practice to master this fine-tuned skill of woodturning on a lathe.

If you want to appreciate the skill and craft that a master woodworker puts into turning a bowl, then check this video out. Woodturning is a comprehensive skill that takes many hours of practice to fully master. In addition, make sure you have the right lathe for bowl turning.

3. Wooden Whistle

If you’re looking for a quick beginner’s project that gets you working with a great mini lathe and creating something small but useful, then consider creating a wooden whistle. This video takes you through the steps of creating an oak whistle.

Wooden lathe whistle

Watch the video tutorial here: youtube.com

A handmade wooden whistle could make a great stocking stuffer (if you don’t mind the noise!). This project should take you anywhere from 10-15 minutes to complete. Don’t worry if you take a bit longer though, as beginners need to practice patience with their projects.

If you’re looking to up your game a bit with your whistle, then try creating a two-toned whistle on your lathe machine. This is a step up from the first whistle video and you can try your hand at this one once you’ve mastered the regular whistle.

4. Wooden Salt and Pepper Shakers

Another unique woodturning project would be to turn a salt and pepper shaker set. Again, this project could make a thoughtful stocking stuffer present for the cook in your life. This video takes you through the process of using your lathe to create the salt and pepper shakers.

Wooden lathe salt and pepper shaker

You can check out the video tutorial here: youtube.com

There is a bit more detail work in this project, but it is still great for beginner woodturners. Remember, practice patience and you’re sure to end up with a beautifully finished shaker set. The video uses walnut as the wood of choice, however, you can use what you have on hand.

If you find yourself a bit more confident in your skills, then you can try to create a “deluxe” salt and pepper grinder set. This should be attempted after you’ve tried some of the simpler projects, but a beginner could still absolutely follow along with this tutorial.

5. Wooden Ornament

If you enjoy Christmastime and are looking for small gifts to give to your friends and family, this wooden Christmas ornament could be a perfect choice. A handmade gift is always better than a store-bought one. The time and effort you spent on this gift won’t be lost on the recipients.

Wooden lathe ornament

Watch the full video tutorial for this project: youtube.com

This video shows you one example of a Christmas ornament created on a lathe. Of course, you can take inspiration from the video and put your creative spin and design on it. The choice is up to you. You have the freedom of creativity on your project.

If you enjoy the Christmas theme, this video shows a variety of Christmas decorations that can be turned on the lathe machine. This can be a super fun project to begin and you can awe guests when they see all of your handmade decorations for the holidays.

6. Wooden Tea Candle Holder

If you enjoy the ambiance provided by candles, then this video shows you how to make small tea candleholders. This is the perfect project for individuals new to woodturning on a lathe. This project incorporates some detailed work, which can help hone your skills.

Wooden lathe tea candle holder

Watch here how to create this unique project: youtube.com

The video takes you step-by-step through the process of turning your first candle holder. If you would like, you can fit the holder to a larger candle. You can determine your required dimensions, while also following the video for guidance.

This video shows viewers a similar process with a larger section of wood. If you’re interested in using bigger candles and not tea-light candles, then this would be a helpful video for you to watch. Remember; don’t get overwhelmed by the many steps you must take to create your finished project. Patience is key.

7. Wooden Spinning Tops

Who doesn’t remember playing with spinning tops when they were a child? This small and simple toy is an iconic part of many people’s childhoods. If you want to recreate this memory, why not turn your very own spinning top?

Wooden lathe spinning tops

Watch the video tutorial of this project: youtube.com

This tutorial video shows you how to create a wooden spinning top with your lathe machine. You can add color to it at the end to make it more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. You only need a small section of wood for this project, making it incredibly accessible and beginner-friendly.

8. Wooden Tree

If you’re interested in creating decorative pieces, then you can you hand at spinning a tree. This video shows you the steps for creating a Christmas tree, but you can alter the design to whatever type of tree you desire.

Wooden lathe tree

You can achieve this project by watching this tutorial: youtube.com

This is a great project for beginners to practice their skills with more delicate work. At the end of the spinning process, it’s important to sand down the tree and then finish it with a coat of oil to protect the wood and to create a clean completed piece.

9. Wooden Goblet

While a goblet may sound like a complicated and expert-level project, it’s not. This video shows beginners how to create a wooden goblet mug on their lathe machine. Imagine the look on your family’s faces when you whip this handmade cup out at dinner to enjoy your drink!

Wooden lathe goblet

You can watch the video tutorial here: youtube.com

While you can find tutorials for more complex and detailed goblets, they aren’t as beginner-friendly. Keep the goblet simple until you get the hang of the process. It’s more important to learn the basic skills of woodturning before you get too crazy with the design.

This step-by-step video tutorial for a goblet may also be useful for you. It has a slightly different design but the overall process is still simple enough for beginners. Choose the one that most inspires you and give it a go!

10. Wooden Box with a Lid

There are a variety of different boxes you can turn on your lathe. This video shows a beginner-friendly version of this woodworking project and makes a great small storage compartment. You could store small jewelry items in this wooden box.

Wooden lathe box with lid

You can watch the video project tutorial here: youtube.com

If you want a more unique version of this lathe project, then this video includes a different design for the lidded box. You can’t go wrong with either choice, as they’re both going to end up being useful and a creative way to show off your new hobby.

You’re free to come up with a personal design and follow the tutorials as guidance, without being tied to copying them step-by-step. The creative aspect of all of these projects is completely up to you.

11. Wooden Mallet

If you’re someone who enjoys tools and is often called on for your handy work, then a wooden mallet could be a great project for you to partake in. You’ll end up with a useful tool that you can put to work in a variety of ways in your day-to-day life.

Wooden lathe mallet

Watch the tutorial here: youtube.com

In this tutorial, you’ll be able to follow along in using your lathe machine to create a wooden mallet. The mallet was made out of an old tree branch, so nothing overly fancy. You can likely find one of those in your backyard.

Rubber mallets can be purchased at the local home improvement store, but it’s much more impressive to create your own out of scrap wood. You’ll have bragging rights on your next handyman project when you whip out the tool you made from scratch.

12. Wooden Bottle Stopper

If you find yourself enjoying an evening glass of wine, you’ll likely find yourself using a bottle stopper to preserve the rest of the bottle. A beginner-friendly wood lathe project is a simple bottle stopper. This video walks you through creating one and you’ll be able to follow along with the directions provided.

Wooden lathe bottle stopper

You can view the video tutorial here: youtube.com

You begin with a small wooden block and you form your stopper from spinning the lathe and working the wood. You can choose whichever type of wood that you prefer. This bottle stopper would make the perfect small present for your loved ones.

If you want to create a variety of different bottle stoppers, this video shows you some more examples. You can make each one different, so they’re unique in their own way.

Additionally, you can also check here if you are looking for DIY wine cork projects.

13. Wooden Honey Dipper

Everybody enjoys a bit of honey with their tea sometimes. A honey dipper is a perfect tool to place the perfect amount of honey into your drink. This is a great project for beginners who are looking to enhance their detail work and carve small divots into the wood for the honey to seep into.

Wooden lathe honey dipper

View the full video tutorial here: youtube.com

If you’re looking for a video tutorial, then this one is a great place to start. You may find yourself inundated with requests from your family to make them a honey dipper as well. This is a simple but useful tool that you won’t know how you lived without one before.

14. Wooden Cup

If you’ve already made yourself a bowl on your lathe machine, you may find yourself wanting to add a cup to your set. While less fancy than the goblet, a simple cup can be useful every day. You’ll want to ensure you properly sand the wood down at the end so that the edge is safe to drink from.

Wooden lathe cup

You can watch the tutorial here: youtube.com

This tutorial shows you how to spin the wooden block to create a finished cup. If you’re looking for a slightly different design, this video shows an alternative cup that you can create. You can even make some of both and see which one you prefer.

Now It’s Your Turn to Turn Some Wood!

Now that you have plenty of choices to pick from, it’s up to you to get started on your new hobby. You can either follow the provided tutorials step by step or simply use them as inspiration. You’re always free to put your own creative twist on your lathe projects.

Using a lathe is delicate work and takes some practice to master the skill. However, soon enough you’ll be creating all kinds of wooden items for your friends and family. Who knows, you may even be able to sell them once you put in some hours at the lathe machine.

Allen runs a popular home website, and understands what it takes to educate audiences through online content. Through his focus at home, Allen developed an insatiable appetite for home improvement projects that he could do for cheap on weekends. Over the years, he has gained valuable experience, which he shares in detail in articles like How to Build A DIY Dining Room Table. His ability to clearly share these DIY ideas is a huge asset, and he is a valuable resource to the home improvement community.