5 Holiday Decorations to Craft From Scrap Wood

If you are a woodworker, before you gather your scrap wood as kindling with this year’s yule log or turn it into “coal” to stuff stockings, then consider making festive decoration and gifts rather. Here are five jobs you can do in less time than it takes to wash ahead of the in-laws arrive at the holidays.

Notice: These jobs take a fantastic knowledge of safety measures for power tools. You get only one set of eyes, hands and ears; always wear eye and ear protection and avoid loose clothing. I avoid gloves when using power tools, as they can potentially become captured in saw blades and drill bits.

R. Olson Design

Materials and tools:
Wood scraps
Table saw
Drill press (or handheld drill)
1.5-inch Forstner piece
Router (optional)
Band saw or jigsaw
Pull saw

1. Candleholders. Thick stock (2 by 2 inches and upward) is hard to eliminate, no matter how small a chunk it may be. Thankfully, tea lights are a fixture on most holiday dinner tables, and inventory this size could certainly host a candle. Preferably, you’ve suitably sized cubes already lying around, but if not you may have to cut to size using a table saw and crosscut sled, or a chop saw as an alternative.

Other than that, the only instrument that is really necessary is that a big enough drill bit to bore a hole big enough for a tea light. A drill press is preferred, but if that is not available, a hand drill will probably work. With the grain running vertically for aesthetics, then locate the center point and drill the hole to the desired thickness. Like vacation magic, you made a candleholder.

Notice: For these photographs, I used a laminated block of various wood species and cut the contours using a table saw. This is merely preference and not mandatory; it takes more work than using solid inventory timber.

Another cool alternative for bits is to drill holes along the length of this item. Pair either production with some wood place card holders, and you’re going to have a well-matched table set.

R. Olson Design

2. Put card holders. Small conclusion cuts can appear of little use, thus they are frequently destined for the kindling box. The holiday dinner table, however, is an opportunity to prove their worth.

This endeavor takes only minutes, but the results can remain fixtures for ages. Simply set your table saw to some 15-degree angle in a thickness of 1/4 inch and operate every block through.

The angled kerf (slot) provides a resting position for name cards to present themselves in a nice angle — nobody should bend over to see the cards.

R. Olson Design

3. Gift tags. Oftentimes shaving a quarter inch off using a miter saw or squeezing a plank to square will render thin scrap bits that can make handsome present tags.

All this project requires is drilling a hole in a corner, threading a series through and composing on the label. Lighter woods (maple, oak, ash) show pencil and pencil better, but chalk on dark wood makes for a fantastic combination.

R. Olson Design

4. Ornaments. Perhaps it is your first vacation with a brand new relative (furry or not), or there’s a certain ornament you feel is missing out of the tree you can’t find in a store.

For those who are aware of how to use a bandsaw or jigsaw, cut out shapes with quarter-inch plywood scraps (thick, strong wood will place a load on branches and could easily cause them to divide).

Handmade ornaments are fun and easy to make, and they bear more importance than any store-bought decoration. Create a bunch of them and hang them in the homes of friends and family for a touch of DIY this vacation season.

R. Olson Design

5. Holiday light organizer. This is the least glamorous of these DIY holiday jobs but maybe the most useful. Using your most dilapidated piece of 1/4-inch plywood, drill two 1/8-inch holes around 1.5 inches from the border on diagonal corners out of each other as your start and end things.

Employing a hand saw (my taste is a pull saw), cut a straight line wide enough for the electric cord to slide from hole to hole. Next, mark “V”s on switching sides, which will retain the coiled cord from slipping.

As for deciding the number of cuts you’ll need, the easiest technique is to cut your board into a diameter of 1 foot, so if you’ve got a 10-foot strand of lights, you’ll need to make eight cuts along with both designated as your two end points. For the time it takes to produce this jig, you’ll save at least two times as much time next year if you are pulling untangled lights out of your attic.

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