If you’ve just started woodworking, the first few projects can be daunting. You may only have a small number of tools, and do not have much experience using them. Here are some ideas for beginner projects that need few tools or specialized knowledge, and are useful items to have around.

Boxes: Boxes don’t need to be complicated. There are a number of ways to connect the sides of a box to each other. These connections, called joints, require various levels of skill. Some, like dove joints, require a certain amount of skill. Box joints, which look similar to a row of piano keys, are less so, although they require a jig. There are a number of different ways to create the joints, including purchasing braces and hinges to connect the pieces by other means. While a box may seem to be a boring first project, realize that birdhouses, flower boxes, tool carriers, and jewelry chests all are types of boxes.

Table: Beginners often think that they should start with small projects. A table, however, can be one of the easiest projects to complete. There are a myriad of types and uses for tables including side tables, nightstands, basic desks, and picnic tables Cutting board: A cutting board is something that everyone uses. For those who want to focus on finishes, the initial board can be made from a single piece of wood. Those woodworkers who want to practice joins can create a board out of several smaller pieces. Cutting board projects are also a great way to use scraps left over from other pieces.

Shelves: A shelf can be as simple as a single board and two metal brackets, or as intricate as a freestanding multi-tiered bookshelf. A small case of two shelves can be used to store shoes, children’s books, extra cookware, or just about anything else of the proper size.

Upcycle existing pieces: Don’t discount the possibility of building on something that already exists. Wooden pallets, for example, can be modified to create shelving units, bed platforms, chairs or outdoor furniture. Wooden crates, like those used to transport wine, can be converted into shoeboxes for the mudroom, planters, or nightstands to name a few.

The Internet is full of websites, blogs and Pinterest pages geared toward the beginning woodworker. Browsing through various sites will give you inspiration and ideas to turn a simple project into a beautiful one.