All that scrap wood leftover from your other wood projects can take up a lot of space, but just tossing them away is wasteful.
In fact, there are practical ways to repurpose and recycle scrap wood, transforming it into new and functional creations. I’d like to share a few compelling ideas for scrap wood projects that might inspire you to put your leftover materials to good use.
13 Clever Ways to Recycle Scrap Wood
1. Wooden Coasters
The long slabs of wood scraps you have sitting in your workshop can come in handy for a smaller DIY project: the coaster.
Coasters are some of the most versatile and easy to make projects for newbies and can be done using scrap wood, pallet wood, or any other kind of leftover pieces. A coaster is pretty much just a cutting board scaled down, so with larger pieces, you can make a cutting board as well.
2. Candle Holder
Creating a project like this doesn’t have to be as intricate as the geometric candle holder showcased in the photo. I prefer a simpler approach, crafting a single candle holder from a hollowed-out piece of scrap wood. It’s quite adaptable; you can adjust the dimensions to accommodate candles of varying sizes, ensuring it suits your specific needs.
Fun DIY wood projects like this can actually add a rustic feel to your interior. More importantly, they can take care of all the leftover pieces you have in your shop so you can create new space for your next big project. Of course, knowing where to sell your woodworking projects like this makes a considerable amount of profit.
3. Bottle Opener
When you come across those leftover small wood blocks or pieces that don’t quite fit the bill for the previous projects I mentioned, there’s a neat solution. Crafting a handheld bottle opener can be both practical and enjoyable, offering a clever way to utilize those smaller wood scraps effectively.
A bottle opener or a can opener may come in handy in the kitchen or in cookouts, so building one yourself makes sense so you have it when you need to use it. This is also a great way to reuse pieces of scrap wood from your previous wood projects, proving that you can build and customize new and practical tools even from small scraps.
4. Floating Shelves
If you thought coasters were easy to make, you’ll also love making your own floating shelf. You can build this rustic wood shelf by using pieces of scrap wood. All it takes to make is a few simple hand tools and scraps that are long or big enough for your desired shelf.
Floating shelves can be placed on any wall anywhere in the house, making them great woodwork projects to take on. It can complement your living room or work space especially when you decorating it with colorful sola wood flowers. Plus, you can use one or more of these shelf projects to declutter your house and decorate your bare walls.
5. Dog Bowl Stand
For those with beloved pets at home, a dog bowl stand is an excellent DIY project that your pets will love to make with scraps of wood. Food bowls are typically low, making your dog bend down constantly when eating. This does nothing to help his digestion.
A dog bowl stand that’s made of scrap wood is a simple project that can alleviate the problem for your pooch. It’s a way to make his food easy to reach and give him an easier time during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are a ton of plans you can follow online, so you can create the style you prefer for this scrap wood project. You can also paint it to complement with the interior of your home using top rated HVLP spray guns for easy and fast painting.
6. DIY Lap Desk
Similar to a bathtub caddy, which is also a simple piece you can craft out of scrap wood, a lap desk is a great wood turning project for your bedroom. You want to curl up on your couch with a good book or your laptop. You can even place food on it so you never have to get up for a snack.
With a few tweaks here and there, your lap desk can also make a good serving tray or anything else you can use to transport items on a flat surface. It is a good pallet project, as well. Using pallet or scrap board, a lap table is fun to make and it’s also one of the useful ideas on our list.
7. Spice Rack
What we like about this easy project is that if it’s scaled up, it can make a great wine bottle rack or organizer. If you don’t have the space for that, a smaller one makes for a great spice rack or decorative shelf for little knick-knacks. Regardless of size, you can even build this project to sell.
You’ll likely find the necessary wood for crafting one of these charming shelves within your scrap woodpile. When it comes to constructing them, basic hand tools should suffice.
However, I’d recommend using a power saw to ensure precise wood cuts, making the process more efficient. The beauty of this project is its flexibility—you can customize the size of the racks to suit your wall space and personal preferences for placement.
8. DIY Storage Bins
Easy projects made with simple scrap wood are usually relatively small like this one (unless you have lots of large slabs). Our team recommends this wooden project for high school students because they no longer need to purchase new materials and could just pick up whatever wooden scraps that are lying around in their house. Think of all the areas that can use tidying up around your home. There may be clutter-prone areas that can use a storage bin or two.
This one can be placed on your kitchen counter to organize fruits and veggies that don’t need to be refrigerated. They can also house cutlery or even toys if you want. Either way, storage bins are some of the most versatile and easy wooden DIY projects.
Though they are highly customizable, they’re actually one of the simple projects you can make that’s also handy to have around at home. Likewise, they are also sellable which can help you profit or make money in the long run.
9. Pencil Holder
Similar to a storage box but smaller, a pencil holder always has a place on a coffee table or desk. Using this piece will keep writing utensils from rolling off the table, so you don’t have to bend down constantly and get your pens and pencils.
This is also one of the best scrap wood projects that can save you money because you don’t have to buy one from a stationery store. Instead, you can just create your own and even enjoy the activity with your children as a simple wood project for kids.
You can also easily personalize this by stamping your name or painting it with a fun color to make it pop. And while you can follow online ideas, you’re free to go with what you like.
10. Scrap Wood Wall Art
What do you do when you have a board but nothing is shaped or sized right for the projects you want to make? Geometric or abstract wall art, of course! You can take the miscellaneous scraps and build your very own unique artwork for your wall. Just like printing high-quality images on wood by Woodsnaps.
These are guaranteed to be 100% unique and can even sell for some cash. The best part we like about scrap wood wall art is there are no guidelines and your imagination is the limit. Plus, you can get rid of the scraps all at once with just one project.
If you like, you can also sell these along with other woodworking projects you can DIY.
11. DIY Bookends
Working with scrap wood doesn’t limit your creativity. With bookends like this, you can choose which animal you can create, what items you can model them after, or what shapes and sizes you want.
Bookends are quite easy to make and you’d only need some glue, best performing sandpaper for wood, a saw (power or handheld), and any finishing touches you may want to add. If you need ideas, you can choose from a wide array of templates online.
Plus, bookends are pretty durable and they’re made to last, so you won’t be putting those wood scraps to waste.
12. DIY Wooden Signs
Making DIY wooden signs are also one of the best projects you can make. You can write fun or inspirational phrases you’d like on the sign, just make sure you stain the board with weatherproof paint and finish them off with a protective coating .
Like some of our previous options, this wooden sign is also another project where your imagination is the limit. You can even use smaller scrap wood to build fun letters or just paint on them with acrylic paint. It is easy to create which can pass as one of the activities during a kid summer camp workshop.
13. DIY Place Cards
These projects are cute “extra-mile” gifts you can create if your kid has a birthday party. They make great party favors and great decorations for any event. If you don’t really like the bunny, you can create other images that fit the occasion as well.
For instance, images of babies or storks are great for baby showers, while flowers or bow-ties are great for weddings. What’s more, you can even have fun woodworking with your child and have them contribute ideas for interesting shapes.
What can I make out of leftover wood?
You can make coasters, cutting boards, candle holders, spice racks, and place cards from leftover wood. If you have bigger pieces of scrap wood, you can also create floating shelves, wall art, organizers, stools, or wine racks. To make these pieces durable and last longer, you can touch them up with excellent semi-transparent deck stain.
With the scrap wood projects we’ve listed above, you’ll never look at your scrap pile as a waste of space again. It’s also a much more economical and environmental option, since you can now use every bit of the tree with nothing wasted. Plus, you get to add amazing and unique works of art to your home.
You’re free to customize, personalize, and tweak any of the projects we suggested to suit your needs and preferences. Even if they’re made of scrap wood, they’re durable and built to last. Who knows, maybe creating these little projects will become a successful side business!
Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.
Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.