Many successful ecommerce success stories started with a hobby. You can make some money from your creative pursuits, and you just might even have a serious business idea.
One hobby you can turn into an online business idea is woodworking. And you don’t need to be a skilled artisan to turn some woodworking projects into products. There are projects suitable for all skill levels—it’s just a matter of figuring out which project is right for you.
12 handmade woodworking projects that sell
Selling handmade products is a great way to turn your creative passions into a real online business. Each of these woodworking project ideas requires different materials, tools, and expertise.
1. Wooden signs
Handmade wooden signs come in all shapes and sizes, and people use them in lots of different ways, indoors and out. You might see wooden signs in and around people’s homes as decoration—consider offering personalized signs featuring a family’s last name, for example—and also at events like weddings and parties as welcome and directional signage.
Use your creativity when figuring out how to make wooden signs to sell. You can create wooden signs in a number of ways, depending on your skill set, resources, and creative aspirations. Maybe you hand paint designs onto wood pieces or you cut out letters and shapes from pieces of wood themselves.
2. Wood pallets
Shippers and ecommerce companies use wood pallets to move large amounts of product. The problem is, these wooden pallets are wasteful—but they’re ideal material for a variety of woodworking projects you can turn into cash flow.
So when it comes to wooden pallet projects that sell, you can consider a lot of the ideas on this list. The following all make great pallet projects:
- Planter box
- Decorative sign
- Side or coffee table
- Chair or small bench
- Mail sorter/key holder
- Bed platform
Infinite Abyss has a collection of woodworking projects in its DIY guide Wood Pallet Wonders, available on its Shopify store. It also sells beautiful handmade wooden serving trays and shelves—many of which are repurposed from wooden pallets.
Just remember, if you plan to sell these products online you need to account for shipping and handling—both in terms of protecting the product from damage while in transit and in terms of keeping shipping costs down, especially for larger and heavier items.
3. Kitchen products
The possibilities are quite frankly endless when it comes to wooden kitchen products. You can keep it simple with cutting boards and coasters or go for something more specialized like detailed wooden utensils.
Canada-based artisan le Père Vic creates a variety of handmade wooden kitchen products to sell on his Shopify store. You’ll find napkin holders, coasters, cutting boards, serving utensils, and more among his collection.
Old World Kitchen is another fantastic example of a skilled woodworker who built a business around those projects. The merchant started selling wares on Etsy and eventually moved over to Shopify to scale the business.
Furniture stores have been among the hardest hit when it comes to closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. And while this may seem like a negative sign at first glance, it actually creates a lot of opportunity for selling furniture online. As consumers have fewer in-person options, they’ll have to turn to online shopping to fulfill their needs.
Environmentally conscious brand Fyrn sells beautifully crafted wooden furniture on its website, including its staple collection of chairs.
Contrary to what you might think, surfing is a year-round sport, so there’s a pretty consistent demand. However, many surfboards are made of foam, fiber, plastic, and other materials that aren’t exactly environmentally friendly.
Using wood is one way to make surfboard manufacturing a bit more sustainable—at least that’s what David Dennis of Ventana Surfboards and Supplies has figured out. Plus, it’s a lot more affordable, leaving room for lower prices and/or greater profit margins.
Another flexible idea, wooden boxes make great woodworking projects that sell. And it’s a suitable idea for skilled artisans and newbies alike. You can go straightforward with basic crates and storage boxes or get creative with decorative shelving and jewelry boxes.
7. Picture frames
Shopify merchant Timber + Gray uses wood to create frames for signs with inspirational quotes.
8. Children’s blocks
Children’s wooden blocks are fun toys that promote fine motor skill development. And they’re old school, so parents get a sense of nostalgia when they see them. This idea is great because you can use wood scraps to create blocks of different shapes and sizes. You can also paint them different colors or add burnt iron designs.
Birdhouses are a lovely indoor or outdoor decoration. Some are more functional while others serve purely decorative purposes. Plus, birdhouses are a common item for people to collect, so it’s an excellent niche to get into.
Many Shopify merchants sell wooden birdhouses online. K Squared artisan boutique has one for sale on its ecommerce website.
Stone Bridge Collections has an entire category dedicated to its wooden birdhouses. Stone Bridge’s birdhouses are species-specific—it also has a bat house for sale.
Wood is a great material for making planters and pots for all kinds of plants—everything from planter boxes for small home vegetable gardens to tiny succulent holders to be used as desk accessories. Woodchuck sells desktop planters and also promises to plant a tree for every product sold.
You can also create complementary items for the home gardener. To accompany an outdoor planter box, consider items like potting tables and benches, like this one from Lee Display:
Selling art online is a great way to turn your creative projects into income. Wood is an excellent material to craft with, and you can make a variety of items. It really depends on your creativity and skill set—and what customers are willing to buy. Feel free to experiment with your creations.
You might also choose to pursue a specific niche. Track Sculptures is a perfect example of this. The Shopify merchant makes wooden sculptures of the maps of racetracks all over the world—a unique and special item for racing fans in particular.
12. Wood turning
Wood turning is a more advanced woodworking skill set. If you’ve mastered it, you’ve open the door to a lot more opportunities when it comes to handcrafted wooden products. You can make many of the items on this list with wood turning.
But first, let’s define what wood turning is: wood turning is when you put a piece of wood on a rotating axle and then use handheld tools, like a lathe, to carve a shape in the wood, which is symmetrical all around the axis.
A&D Woodturning specializes in stair posts, newels, spindles, and similar items. They sell their products online, and they also show behind-the-scenes action on Instagram. This is a great tactic to show people how the product is made and reiterate the value of purchasing a carefully handcrafted item.
How to sell woodworking projects
Creating your woodworking projects is only half the battle. Once your projects are ready for new homes, it’s up to you to find them.
Choose your product
You might already have some woodworking projects and ideas under your belt. But you might also be starting from scratch with no idea which product you want to make and sell. You can use the list above as a starting point to give you ideas. Once you’ve chosen your product, you’ll want to start with a test project. Make sure you can execute your creation so you’re not only happy with it yourself, but paying customers are as well.
Here are some more resources to help:
- 12 Trending Products to Sell in 2021 (and Ideas for How to Market Them)
- The 17 Best Places Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Go to Find Product Ideas
- Find a Product to Sell: 12 Strategies for Finding Your First Profitable Product
- Product Research: The 15-Step Checklist for Finding Profitable, In-Demand Product Ideas
Identify your market
After you know what you want to make and sell, it’s time to figure out who is willing to buy it. This market research should consist of a competitive analysis, social listening, and industry analyses. These resources can get you started:
- Calculating Market Demand: How to Find Product Ideas Your Customers Want
- The Complete Guide to Market Research for Your Retail Business
- Defining Your Audience: Strengthen Customer Messages With Target Marketing
Build a website
You need a place to sell your woodworking projects, and one of the smartest places to do that is through your own ecommerce site. The reason why is because you have complete control over your business—from pricing and promotion through to shipping and fulfillment. Third-party marketplaces come with more restrictions, and a physical space has more overhead. If you’re just starting out, you can DIY your website build with Shopify—no coding experience required. Start with these resources:
- Is It Possible To DIY My Ecommerce Store Design As A Beginner?
- How to Start an Online Store with Shopify: A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to Build a Website From Scratch: A 9-Step Quickstart Guide for Beginners
- Build Your Store With Ease: The 9 Best Ecommerce Website Builders for 2021
- Build on Solid Foundation: The 8 Best Website Builders for Small Businesses
List and price your products
Now it’s time to take product photos, write compelling descriptions, and list them online for the world to see—and purchase. You’ll definitely want to list the items on your website, and you might also consider third-party marketplaces. Etsy in particular is a great place to sell handcrafted goods, but there are Etsy alternatives worth checking out as well.
Pricing is another story. You want to price your products high enough to cover your time and expenses and still earn a profit on top of that, but not so high that no one will buy. Here are some resources to help you price your products:
- How to Price Your Product: What You Need to Know About Pricing Before You Launch
- The Price Is Right: 13 Strategies for Finding the Ideal Price for Your Products
- Product Pricing: How to Set Prices For Wholesale and Retail
Drive traffic to your website
Once your website is up and running and your product pages are live, you have to put in a bit of work to attract people to visit your online store. You can drive traffic through both organic and paid marketing strategies and tactics. Some resources to get you started are listed below:
- Driving Growth: 11 Best Marketing Strategies Any Small Business Can Execute
- How to Get Your First Sale in 30 Days: A Marketing Checklist for New Entrepreneurs
- How to Start Your Own Brand From Scratch in 7 Steps
Check analytics and improve
Over time, you’ll have more data that can help you better understand your business. Your Shopify analytics dashboard shows key sales, orders, and online store visitor data, among other information. Over time, you can analyze that information to uncover strengths and weaknesses and even potential new opportunities. Here are some resources to help you master your data:
- Google Analytics for Ecommerce: A Beginners Guide
- How to Find and Plug the Leaks in Your Conversion Funnels
- Make Better Fulfillment Decisions With Order Analytics
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Kick-start your woodworking business today
When you’re ready to start selling your woodworking projects, get yourself set up with a reliable online store builder like Shopify. Shopify has a whole suite of tools to manage every aspect of your business, with the features you need at launch and as you scale.
Illustration by Chris Gash
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Woodworking projects that sell FAQ
What are some good woodworking projects?
Some good woodworking projects include those listed in this post:
- Wooden signs
- Wooden pallets
- Kitchen products
- Candle holders
- Picture frames
- Children’s blocks
- Wood turning
Is a woodworking business profitable?
What handmade wood items sell best?
Some of the handmade wood items that sell best include those listed in this post:
- Wooden signs
- Wooden pallets
- Kitchen products
- Candle holders
- Picture frames
- Children’s blocks
- Wood turning