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Inspiration Hub

Top 5 plywood DIY project ideas

Plywood is the perfect go-to material for a DIY project. The beautiful birch finish of plywood lends itself to rustic and scandi-style projects, and the durability and versatility of plywood make it a no-brainer for many crafters, and DIYers to use in their at-home creations. 

If you've just had your dream bespoke kitchen or unique sliding cabinet doors installed, and now you are left with a single sheet (or three) of plywood, why not let your creative juices flow? We've put together the perfect inspiration guide for common uses - and some non-so-common uses - of plywood in your home.

Of course, it's not only scrap plywood that sparks inspiration of a DIY project. Timber catapults the DIY mind into the world of interior decor, storage furniture, and family organisation solutions. It's often a good idea to purchase your plywood sheets cut-to-size to ensure you have exactly the materials that you need to create your project (be it a coffee table, shelving unit or plywood bench!)

Whatever your woodworking ability, or the number of plywood sheets or scrap plywood you have, here are some DIY plywood project ideas that will inspire you to become a DIY woodworker!

Top Tips for your DIY project:

  • Invest in some high-strength wood glue for increased durability and high-end quality of your creations. No one wants to create the console table of their dreams for it to fall apart two minutes later. 
  • Measure twice (or thrice), cut once! Beginner DIYers are usually gung-ho in their approach to a new plywood project with scrap plywood, but remember to plan out your project thoroughly before going ahead. 
  • Purchase sanding blocks for finishing your plywood edges and corners. 

Afternoon DIY

Minimalist desk organiser

For non-structural scrap plywood, like flexible plywood, you may be at a loss as to what purpose to put these leftovers too. Thin sheets of plywood, like 3 ply plywood scraps (a piece of wood composed of 3 veneers) would be perfect for a small-scale project like a desk organiser. 

Plywood can be a beautiful space-saving storage addition to your workspace. Using wood glue for a seamless edge adhesion, you can create modern, minimalistic designs to place on your sideboard, with minimal use of screws and drills. It's the perfect afternoon DIY craft that can be as complex or simplistic as you desire. 

Top tip: for a sleek, made to last finish, varnish your ply creation with boiled linseed oil, to penetrate the wood and bring out a richer grain pattern. 

Afternoon DIY

Rustic children's toys

Maybe you don't need storage solutions in your life. Plywood is the perfect material to design eco-friendly and plastic-free children's toys that are budget-friendly. Recycling scrap plywood can be a perfect way to keep your children's playroom minimal whilst challenging their developing brains. 

Jigsaw boards are a great way to engage your child in early problem solving and creative thinking, and they are as fun to make for you as it is for them to play with. Having two pieces of plywood of the same size, you can easily cut one flat sheet into different shapes and sizes, which effortlessly fit back together in a jigsaw. 

In the spirit of DIY, ready to paint plywood makes it even easier to design your jigsaw board with your child's favourite colours!

Top Tip: Use differing gradients of sandpaper to ensure that all edges are perfectly rounded and smoothed for your children's hands (and mouths).

DIY day

Plywood vertical garden

Beginner new plant-parents, here is a DIY design that is going to give a new life to your beloved greens. 

This DIY project's versatility is really something as the backing to your vertical garden works well with moisture-resistant MDF and most plywood types, particularly marine plywood. 

A vertical garden requires any old picture frame which takes your fancy for a facing, and a ply offcut flat sheet which matches those dimensions. Perfect for moisture resistance, plywood creates the perfect backing to contain your miniature garden.

Top Tip: Got a circular picture frame you want to repurpose? Draw around its edge onto your plywood backing to create a perfect sphere matching the frame.

Weekend DIY

Montessori shelves

Dr Maria Montessori was a scientist who believed that when children learn best when they can be independent. Montessori shelves are great DIY projects for the adventurous beginner or the experienced woodworker, depending on how complex you want to make them! You should make plans for this project to take a day or two. 

A sheet of ply which is at least 5 veneers thick is perfect for this plywood project for creating DIY furniture for your children. Custom timbers or 5-ply leftovers provide enough structural integrity to create a child-sized storage rack, shelf or bookcase, perfect for promoting independence.

Why not make a storage bench or plywood stool overbuilding furniture for your young children? Ply offers durability during every stage of your child's life. Your leftover plywood's water-resistant properties make it the perfect wood to have around growing, learning and clumsy toddlers. This structure can also double up as a shoe rack once your kids get older too!

Top Tip: go the extra mile with panel edge-banding and spray paint your build for a high-quality finish to your plywood project.

(Bank Holiday) weekend DIY

Coffee table

Okay, you have reached one of the most adventurous plywood project ideas; the side table. Okay, we know, coffee tables aren't anything groundbreaking when it comes to DIY - but that doesn't mean it can't be personal to you.

Whether you have a minimalist aesthetic or are in love with the mid-century style of exposed wood, it is likely that there is always space in your home for an additional side table. The beauty of this simplistic design is that you can shape your side table to meet your needs, in size and purpose.

For this DIY plywood project, you'll need more than a single piece of hardwood plywood. Creating a plywood table, no matter the size requires structural integrity which supports load-bearing. Structural plywood (Birch plywood or hardwood plywood) will be your go-to timber for this project. 

With a minimal need for advanced tools, a coffee table or side table is a perfect woodworking project for those DIYers looking to build plywood furniture. 

Top Tips: You can have your plywood to your bespoke measurements, as whole sheets are difficult to handle and require advanced tools. 

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Get inspired

DIY can feel daunting, especially a project which involves wood. The fear of getting creative with plywood need not be off-putting. Rather, whatever your budget, timescale, or experience, woodworking can be an exciting skill to learn.

With plans to build beautiful furniture or smaller storage solutions from your single sheet of plywood, your scrap ply can be given a new life with a little creativity and inspiration. 

For more information about understanding what the different types of plywood are used for, see the Ultimate Plywood Buying Guide.