25 Wood Turning Project Ideas To Make With a Wood Lathe

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Whether you are new to wood turning or just looking for some inspiration for something new to make, these 25 wood turning projects to make with a wood lathe are sure to give you some great ideas!

Many of these projects are very beginner friendly and can be done on a basic wood lathe. If you’re looking for some creative things you can make wood turning, no doubt you will find something inspiring here!

wood turning lathe project ideas

1. Rolling Pins

rolling pin

Rolling pins are a useful kitchen tool for rolling out dough for pies, pastries and more. Most commonly made from maple, beechwood or cherry, you can custom make your own rolling pin using a wood lathe.

2. Salt and Pepper Shakers

wooden salt shaker and pepper mills

Making your own salt and pepper shakers can be a fun small wood lathe project to work on. You can decide to keep it super simple or even make salt and pepper mills easily with the use of Salt Shaker & Pepper Mill Hardware kits.

3. Wooden Bowls

wooden bowls

A great beginner wood turning project is to learn how to make a wooden bowl. Bowls can be made in different styles and shapes and with a wide variety of materials, depending on whether you want it to be food safe or simply for decoration or holding trinkets.

Once you master making wooden bowls, you can also expand in making other decorative types of bowls out of interesting items mixed with resin.

4. Wood Lathe Plates

wooden plate

Like bowls, you can also make plates relatively easily with your wood lathe. Plates may even be a bit easier for some to make than bowls because you don’t necessarily need to start out with as large of a wood block blank.

5. Wooden Wine Glass / Goblet

wooden wine glasses

I never thought about making wooden wine glasses and goblets until my Dad told me about the wooden wine glasses his friend makes on his wood lathe. Wine goblets and glasses can make for a beautiful gift or even an item to sell!

6. Kitchen Utensil & Gadget Handles

bottle opener

There’s a reason why vintage kitchen utensils and gadgets are often highly sought after – those wooden handles make them quite sturdy, not to mention a beautiful finish in the kitchen compared to plastic.

You could make corkscrews, ice cream scoops, spoon and knife handles, bottle openers, can openers and more!

7. Wooden Spoons and Spatulas

wooden spoon

Another great project idea for things to make on a wood lathe are wooden spoons and spatulas. I have seen a couple of different methods for how to make wooden spoons, from starting with a large block of wood to using a piece of wood that begins roughly shaped as a spatula.

You can also make all sorts of shapes and sizes of spoons – such as coffee spoons, teaspoons, tablespoons and more!

8. Honey Dipper

honey dipper

If you’ve never used a honey dipper before, you are missing out! A honey dipper makes it possible to easily drizzle and add honey to anything without the same kind of mess you might get with a regular spoon.

These are easy to make – start with a wood blank and simply notch out the grooves and turn the handle base to your desired design. You can also make them in various sizes.

9. Chopsticks

wooden chopsticks with sushi

Chopsticks are a great beginner project for many people simply because they have a very simple shape. Of course, as you get more familiar with your lathe, you can always add more decorative touches, such as grooved edges.

10. Bottle Stopper

bottle stopper

Bottle stoppers have a number of uses, whether it is used on a bottle of wine or even on a bottle of homemade salad dressing or vinaigrette.

Making the bottle stopper top on the lathe can be any design or shape you like. With the help of Bottle Stopper Turning Kits you can quickly make these in no time!

11. Mortar & Pestle

mortar and pestle

Those who grow their own herbs know the value of a quality mortar and pestle! This is a nice wood turning project idea that is much like making a bowl, with the added part of the pestle which can be made on a lathe relatively easily.

12. Wooden Vase

wood vase

The above wooden vase made from mesquite wood is a beautiful example of how a wood vase can be a piece of art all on its own!

Many people have wondered how to make a wooden vase waterproof. While you could certainly experiment with coating the inside of the vase with wax or marine grade sealant, one of the easiest methods is simply make the inside of the vase large enough to hold a straight glass or plastic vase liner inside that can be easily lifted in and out for water changes.

13. Round Wooden Boxes / Containers With Lids

round boxes

If you love wood turning bowls, plates, and vases, chances are you’ll also really enjoy making beautiful round wooden boxes with lids!

I have a hard time calling these boxes, as they certainly don’t look like boxes – but most wood turners do call them boxes. I think containers makes better sense.

These are made in the same similar fashion as a basic bowl, with the main difference being that you will also need to carve out a bit of a lip either on the inside or outside for the lid to fit, depending on whether the lid fits on the inside or the outside of the container.

14. Wooden Pens

wooden pen

Wooden pens make for popular gifts and a great project to make if you have a smaller lathe. If you haven’t made pens before, starting with a wood pen turning kit like this one is a great way to try it and make some nice projects and gifts.

15. Wooden Chair Legs & Spindles

wooden chair

Solid wood furniture is not cheap. With a lathe, you can easily turn your own decorative chair legs and spindles for the back of the chair.

The best part about a project like this is you will get a LOT of practice of learning how to make uniform pieces for your creative projects!

16. Wooden Beads

wooden beads

Wooden beads are another beautiful thing you can make on a lathe, especially because you can use many different kinds of woods – even exotic woods! You can use the beads you create to make necklaces, jewelry, beaded curtains or even sell sets of the beads themselves to crafters.

If you have a small wood shop and have been wanting a mini-lathe, wooden beads might just be the excuse you’ve been waiting for to get one!

17. Wooden Thread Spools and Bobbins

wooden spools

Wooden spools are surprisingly expensive and people LOVE to use them for different crafts. You can make the smaller wood thread spools or even carve yourself a niche by making wooden bobbins for spinners.

18. Baseball Bat

baseball bat

While a baseball bat is relatively a large project {regulation length bats are 34 inches in length} – they are actually quite simple to make.

One thing to consider when making baseball bats is the type of wood you choose. Different woods will yield different weights, not to mention some may be stronger than others.

19. Drum Sticks

drumsticks

If you’ve ever met a drummer, you know they go through drum sticks quite often and every drummer has their preference for what kind of drum sticks they like to use.

Drum sticks are a relatively simple wood turning project that can be a good project to make for gifts or even to sell.

20. Wood Turning Lamps

spiral floor lamp

There are tons of different lamp base designs you can make on your wood lathe, from modern and sleek designs to more traditional and even antique reproduction designs.

The floor lamp above shows a spiral wood turning technique which can take some practice to master but can give stunning results. Table lamps are probably the easiest thing to make because of size limitations of most lathes, but of course one could mill the different sections of a floor lamp separately and then assemble them together.

21. Candlesticks

candlestick

Wooden candlesticks can be beautiful and are an easy way to add to decor. There are many different kinds of designs you can experiment with – just be sure that you affix the finished candlestick to a weighted base so it is not prone to tipping over.

22. Chess Pieces

chess pieces

Chess is making a big comeback thanks to the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, and no doubt chess players today more than ever appreciate a finely handmade wood chess set.

One advantage to making chess pieces is they are relatively small, so you do not necessarily need a heavy duty wood lathe to make them.

23. Wood Lathe Christmas Trees

wood turning christmas trees

These little Christmas trees are too cute and would make for great Christmas decorations! These are a simple enough project to make that many beginners could advance to. You could make multiple trees in different sizes to create a whole set!

24. Justice Mallet

justice mallet

While we can’t think of too many everyday uses for a justice mallet {unless of course you are a judge!} – this is a pretty neat wood turning project you could make on your wood lathe.

25. DIY Hourglass

hourglass

An hourglass is one of those things that maybe doesn’t have much practical use, but they definitely make for nice home decor accent items.

You can make an hour glass by making three spindles, a base and a top on your lathe. Then grab a blank hourglass pre-filled with sand and you will have your own one of a kind unique hourglass. They come in all sorts of different colors so you can definitely play around with different ideas and designs!


I hope this list of woodturning project ideas to make with a wood lathe inspires you to create something one of a kind unique whether it’s for your own personal use, for handmade gifts or even as something to sell as part of your woodworking business.

What wood lathe projects on this list have you made? Which ones are you most excited to try next? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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