Wood Projects Gifts

Wood Projects Gifts

33 DIY Gifts for Men 

Buying any of the items from our holiday gift guides will surely make some man’s (or gals’s) Christmas. But in my experience, the gifts that mean the most are the ones people make for you. Anyone can open their wallet and plop down cash for a nice present. But knowing someone spent their time crafting something just for you is truly special.

Plus, in a very consumeristic culture, many homemade gifts can be made on the cheap and help you cross numerous people off your list without going into debt.

Over the years we’ve published many guides on how to make various items that are not only fun to use yourself, but would also be great Christmas presents. Below, we’ve gathered the best ones into one big list. These DIY gifts are things that men will enjoy both making and receiving. Some of these homemade gifts are really easy and inexpensive to make, while others require a bit more skill, time, and investment in materials. We’ve made sure to indicate the difficulty level, time required, and cost on each one so you can gauge whether a project will fit in your wheelhouse, schedule, and budget. (Numbers are rough estimates and will depend on what materials and tools you already have on hand and your skill level.)

There are many more DIY projects and crafts I hope to get to this coming year, and the years after that. So each holiday season we’ll update and republish this list with links to more ideas!

Char Cloth

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Time: ~1 hour 
  • Cost: ~$5, you likely have all supplies on hand

Char cloth has been used to make fires for centuries, and for good reason — it’s lightweight, compact, easy to make, and highly effective in igniting tinder. Just a single spark or point of heat can start it burning. Char cloth can thus be a life-saver in survival situations and makes an excellent addition to one’s camping supplies or bug out bag. And outside its fire-making benefits, making some is actually a pretty fun little science experiment! This project makes for a great stocking stuffer for the camping/outdoors aficionado in your life.

DIY Spice Blends

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Time: ~1 hour 
  • Cost: $10, you may have some of the raw supplies handy

Cooking outside is one of the great pleasures in life — especially when your grub turns out savory and delicious. While salt and pepper are often all you need to grill a great meat, you can enhance the outdoor cooking experience by using personally created spice blends that will become signature flavor profiles in your home. If your friends have praised your dishes before, and wanted to know your secret recipe, gift it to them for Christmas.

Pocket Notebooks

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Time: ~1 hour 
  • Cost: the price of a six-pack

The benefits of a pocket notebook are numerous, as are the number of great men who’ve utilized them. This project is cost-effective, only takes about 20 minutes, and allows for ample personalization for the fellow you’re making these for. Pick his favorite brew or craft soda, and turn it into a handy-dandy notebook he can take with him anywhere.

Pyrography Project

woodburning complete
  • Difficulty: Intermediate 
  • Time: 1-2 hours, depending on project 
  • Cost: $30

If you’d like to try your hand at a woodworking project for a loved one, pyrography — aka woodburning — is a great way to get introduced. You’re working with wood, but with minimal measuring and cutting; you’re simply using a hot pen to burn an artistic design into a piece of wood. It carries a distinct masculine vibe, and the possibilities for personalization are endless. Use a rustic cabin scene (as pictured above), go with a sports logo, or even burn a favorite manly quote. The tools are affordable, and once bought, will last years and years, meaning after your start-up costs, all you really need is scrap wood to make new gifts each Christmas.

Homemade Bacon

13-Cutting ends
  • Difficulty: Advanced 
  • Time: 6 hours active, weekend for whole process 
  • Cost: $50

Every man loves bacon. That’s just science. Before now, though, you were resigned to buying it in a store. Little did you know, bacon can be a homemade delicacy. Making your own bacon is fun while also a bit challenging; most of all it takes a bit of elbow grease and patience. In the end, however, you have a product that’s better than anything store-bought. It makes for an excellent gift, just don’t keep it under the tree for too long.

Plyometrics Box

  • Difficulty: Intermediate 
  • Time: 2-3 hours 
  • Cost: $30

Plyometric exercises are designed to increase speed, power, and explosiveness and are a great supplement to a regular strength training routine. Gym-goers likely have access to plyo boxes, but if working out in your garage, getting your hands on a box from one of the many fitness companies out there is going to cost a pretty penny. An unassembled box can cost you $125 plus $20 in shipping. And you still have to put the thing together when it gets to you! Sheesh. Thankfully, Jerred Moon from End of Three Fitness (who previously showed us how to make a DIY Prowler Sled) showed me how to make my very own plyo box for a fraction of that. For the fitness buff in your life, this gift is a must.

Pocket Square

diy pocket square with suit jacket hem tape
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Time: 1 hour 
  • Cost: $5; you may have all the supplies at home

Every suit needs a pocket square. It helps a gentleman stand out and actually have some personality with his style. They can get expensive, though, costing anywhere from $10-$30. Isn’t it just a piece of fabric? Indeed it is! Which is why you can make your own handsome pocket square for a fraction of that.

After first attempting multiple methods, I came to the conclusion that there would be just one I’d recommend: hem tape. With some cheap hem tape and an iron, turn any square of fabric into a pocket square for the dapper gent in your life.

Container Candle

  • Difficulty: Intermediate 
  • Time: 1-3 hours, a few more hours for wax to fully settle 
  • Cost: $40-$50, but that cost will get you up to 10 candles

Candles can add a masculine or romantic ambiance (depending on what you’re going for) to any room, and can truly be very meditative and thought-provoking. The downside, though, is that they’re dang expensive. A high-quality 6oz candle can run you $20-$30, and even more if it has a luxury brand name attached to it.

Turns out homemade candles cost just a few bucks each, smell and burn just as well as the expensive ones, and make for a fairly easy project that won’t take you more than a couple hours. They make for great additions to a workspace or den, and will fit nicely into any stocking!

Book Clock

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: ~1 hour
  • Cost: $10-$15

From pocket watches to grandfather clocks, men have long held a fascination with keeping time in stylish and classic ways. What better way to do so than turning a handsome hardcover book into a working clock? This project is similar to what Brett did a couple years back with turning a hardcover book into a secret safe. Instead of stashing this on a bookshelf and hoping it’s not seen, however, this project is meant to be proudly displayed in your home or workplace. Coming in at around $10 and a few hours of your time at the most, this makes for a great DIY Christmas gift for your fella to decorate an apartment or man room.

Bottle Drinking Glass


Difficulty: Easy 
Time: <1 hour 
Cost: Most people have all the supplies handy, otherwise ~$15

If you enjoy craft beer, what better way to imbibe than out of a drinking glass made from your favorite brew bottle? What’s great about this project is how versatile it is. Use 12oz bottles to create a set of tasting glasses, use 22oz bottles to make more of a standard tumbler, or even use mini bottles as shot glasses. It’s cheap, fast, and uses items that can be found in most households. And did I mention you get to play with fire?

Beard Oil


Difficulty: Easy 
Time: 30 minutes 
Cost: $20-$30 for starter supplies, which will make over a dozen bottles

Just as the hair on one’s head needs to be taken care of, so does the hair on one’s face. While beard oil is making a comeback in many men’s shops and retail websites, it’s spendy. You’re looking at paying between $10-$20 for a 1-2 oz. bottle (you only use a few drops at a time). While that amount will last awhile, you can make it on your own a little more cost effectively, and even concoct your own holiday-themed recipes.While the startup costs are similar to buying a bottle or two, you’ll get at least a dozen bottles from your DIY supplies, and get to easily cross off the names of all your bearded brethren from your shopping list.

Cigar Box Guitar


Difficulty: Advanced 
Time: 1-2 days 
Cost: $30 (just for parts; does not include tools required)

The cigar box guitar has a long history of providing rich entertainment to those who were musically inclined but didn’t have the funds to buy nice instruments. Recreate this old musical tradition for Christmas for your loved one. Sure, it’s a complex task for those with no woodworking experience, but it provides a fulfilling endeavor for those willing to give it a shot.

Flavored Toothpicks


Difficulty: Easy 
Time: 5 minutes to prep, ~48 hours to “marinate”
Cost: $15 (for toothpicks and a couple bottles of essential oils)

While chewing on toothpicks is enjoyable on its own, you can make it an even better experience by flavoring them. While flavored toothpicks have started to show up in retail environments, they’re going to be far more expensive than just making them at home. As a bonus, the cost estimate will yield at least a few batches, so you can make these for multiple fine gentlemen.

Wooden Bottle Opener

  • Difficultly: Intermediate
  • Time: About an hour
  • Cost: $5

These handsome and rustic handmade bottle openers make great gifts for the craft beer or soda connoisseur in your life. Not only do they open bottles, they even catch your bottle cap as you remove it and stick to your fridge for easy access. You could easily make one out of scrap wood that you have lying around the garage or shop — this is a truly frugal crowd-pleaser.

Beef Jerky

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 15 minutes plus 24 hours for marinating and up to 24 hours for drying and cooling
  • Cost: Varies

Beef jerky is a great manly stocking stuffer. Homemade beef jerky is even better. Check out this recipe from Tim Ferriss on how to make the best beef jerky in the world. Experiment with different spices to create a unique flavor perfect for your recipient’s palate.

Restore an Heirloom Axe

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: $10-$20

Heirloom axes are all the rage these days, but buying a new one can set you back more than 200 smackaroos. Yeesh. So why not restore an old one to be like new instead? With a bit of elbow grease and time, you can give someone a handsome and fully functional heirloom quality axe for less than $20. This is the perfect gift for a suburban man with an inner Paul Bunyan.

WWII Field Phone Bluetooth Receiver

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Time: 4 hours to several days, depending on skill level
  • Cost: $50-$150

Perfect for the World War II buff in your life. Pick up an old WWII surplus field phone on eBay and turn it into a bluetooth handset that can be used to make and receive calls. Your recipient will feel like Eisenhower commanding the troops on D-Day whenever he’s calling Terminix to reschedule his extermination service. This project requires moderate soldering skills and some rudimentary knowledge of electronics, hence the “Hard” difficulty rating.

Shoe Shine Box

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: About an hour
  • Cost: $10

Every man needs a shoe shine box. If you know a gent without one, make him this nifty shine box based off a design from a 1950s Popular Mechanics article. This shoe shine box is pretty simple. What makes it “nifty” is the two free-turning dowels placed inside the box. After you’ve given your shoes a good polishing, the dowels serve as rollers for your polish cloth for buffing your shoes to a mirror shine. This is a cheap and easy project to try. I’ve had several readers send me pics of their finished shoe shine boxes and they all look great. If you decide to do this project, send me a pic via Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see it. (That goes for these other projects too!)

Turn an Old-Time Radio Into an iPhone Speaker

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Time: Hours to weeks, depending on skill level
  • Cost: $30-$100

A few years ago, I inherited my Grandpa’s old 1940s Philco radio. It worked, but only played AM radio. I thought it was a shame that it didn’t get more use than it did, so I asked my electrical engineer brother-in-law to help me mod it so I could play tunes from my iPhone on it. With his help, I now have an audio device with 1940s charm and 21st century technology.

This project requires some soldering and basic electrical engineering know-how. If you lack the necessary soldering skills and electrical knowledge, expect to spend a few days or weeks as you wire things correctly through trial and error. The biggest expense will be the vintage radio. You can find them at your local antique stores for about $30 to $50 depending on their condition. My brother-in-law also created a pre-made amplifier just for this project that sells for $26, if you want to make things easier on yourself.


  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: About an hour
  • Cost: $5

A great gift for kids and big kids (i.e. grown men) alike. This sling shot cost me less than $5 to make and took just an hour of my time. You’ll get serious “Cool Uncle”points if you make this for your nephew or niece.

Wooden Sword

  • Difficult: Easy
  • Time: An hour
  • Cost: $15

Yeah, I made that crappy looking wooden sword, but my then 18-month-old (at that time) son loved it. This would make a great gift for your young nephew or son. It’s not hard and costs less than $15. And with the materials you buy for that $15, you can make multiple swords and cross off multiple kids on your list. You can get as elaborate as you want with your design. Unfortunately, I’m not that creative or crafty, so Gus had to settle for Dad’s dopey-looking sword made with love.

Dining Room Table

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Time: Two weeks
  • Cost: $125-$200

Want to really impress your wife this Christmas? Make her a dining room table with your own two hands!

A few years ago, AoM reader and fellow Okie, Tuck Oden showed us how to do just that. I have been surprised and delighted by the number of men who actually took action on that article and made this table. I still get emails from folks showing off the manly fruits of their labors. Tuck’s total cost for wood, hardware, and stain was less than $200, and that included the chairs he bought for it.

A Manly Bar of Soap

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: It takes about two hours to make a batch, but you’ll then need to let them “rest” for four weeks so saponification can occur
  • Cost: 75 cents a bar

Soaps created just for men are big right now. I seriously get a package in the mail every other week filled with manly smelling soaps from some new company hoping to cash in on this male grooming boom we’re currently experiencing. Instead of forking over $9 for a bar of artisan man-soap, make a big batch of your own for less than $.75 a bar. AoM contributor Bryan Schatz showed us how to create a manly bar of soap filled with coffee grounds and walnuts — it smells good and can easily clean off whatever gunk you get on your hands.

If you’ve seen the movie Fight Club, you’ll know that soap making is a dangerous and volatile process. So take your time and use adequate protection while making your manly, coffee-scented soap.

Leather Wallet

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Cost: Varies

Wallets have been popular Christmas gifts for men for a century. Instead of buying an expensive one from the wallet rack at some department store that will wear out in a few years, make someone a wallet that will last their whole lives. The fine gents at Bison Made gave us step-by-step instructions on how to make a handsome and incredibly durable wallet. They even provide a printable blueprint that you can use to measure and cut your leather.

Altoids Tin Kits

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: Varies
  • Cost: Varies

The draw of the transformed Altoids tin is hard to put your finger on. Part of it is the satisfying challenge of fitting as much as possible into a small space. Part of it is the delight of being able to carry something cool in your pocket. But any way you slice it, an Altoids tin that’s been converted into something new is a true crowd-pleaser; the post we did on 22 Manly Ways to Re-Use an Altoids Tin has become one of our most popular posts of all time. Any of the kits on that list would make an awesome gift or stocking stuffer. My favorite is the survival kit pictured above, but the games chest, s’mores kit, mini flashlight, first aid kit…well, yeah, truly any of them would make a super cool present for family and friends. And many only require assembly — no skill needed!

Secret Book Safe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 2.5 hours
  • Cost: $5-$10

Make somebody feel like a spy with a secret book safe. This is one of my favorite projects that we’ve done on AoM. I still use the book safe that I made a few years ago for the original post. Creating a secret book safe only costs a few bucks and takes a couple of hours. Select a book to use that reminds you of the recipient — this gift is bound to delight.

Corn Cob Pipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: If you use artificial ways to dry out the corn cob, it can take about a week for the cob to fully dry. After drying out the cob, expect to spend two hours fashioning together the other parts of the pipe.
  • Cost: $1

If you know a man who smokes an occasional pipe, help him get into the spirit of the season by fashioning him the same kind of pipe that old Frosty the Snowman used. All that’s needed to make a genuine corn cob pipe is an ear of corn, a branch, a pocket knife, and a drill. Shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to make.

Cribbage Board

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Time: 5-10 hours, depending on your skill level

Cribbage has a storied and manly history, and it’s the perfect game to play on a cold and snowy Christmas evening. Help another person carry on this manly tradition by making a handsome cribbage board for them. Ethan from One Project Closer showed us how in this step-by-step guide.

Tree Branch Coat Hook

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: An hour
  • Cost: Nil – just your tree branch!

This gift is rugged, manly, and as a bonus, costs nothing but a trip into your backyard! If you get a branch that’s 1-3″ in diameter, with the smaller “hook” branch being 1/2″ or so, it’ll have plenty of strength to hold hats, coats, and whatever else needs hanging. If you’re really feeling crazy, you can line up a few of these on a board and make a whole coat rack.

Roasted Coffee

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 15-20 min
  • Cost: $6-$10 per pound of coffee

I (Jeremy) may be biased, because I roast my coffee fresh each week, but this is one of the best gifts you can give. It’s cheap, fast, easy, and almost everyone drinks coffee. Buying some green beans from a local roastery (check out Kaladi Coffee Roasters if you’re in the Denver area) or online is the same price, if not cheaper, than buying coffee at the grocery store — unless you’re buying Folgers, which you shouldn’t be doing. I guarantee this is the best coffee you’ll ever drink, so take the plunge and fire up that grill.

Saw Blade Knife

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Time: A few hours, depending on skill level
  • Cost: Varies

Are you feeling ambitious? If so, this project is for you. First, you need to find an old saw blade. Start with the antique store, then try your elderly neighbors. Next, you’ll need some basic metalworking skills that Darren Bush thankfully outlines in the post. It may take you a while, but when you end up with a beautiful handmade knife, you’ll know it was well worth the effort.

Leather Sheath

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Cost: $10-$20

While this piece was written up with the saw blade knife (above) in mind, this leather sheath can be made for really any object. If you’re new to leatherworking, this is a great starter project, as it doesn’t require much in the way of a previously learned skillset. With a piece of leather, patience, and some basic stitching skills, you’ll have yourself a handsome sheath in no time.

Wooden Tool Carrier

  • Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Cost: $10

Do you often find random tools scattered about the yard, house, and garage? If so, this is the project for you. Most toolboxes/carriers these days are cheap, plastic, and molded for specific brands of tools. This sturdy and rugged tool carrier will last decades, and you can even jazz it up with a stain or a coat of paint.