Let’s Talk about Tools

Tools to start out with

Last summer I took the plunge and started using a power drill and skillsaw. I wanted to start making simple home projects out of wood. So even though I felt intimidated, I was ready for the challenge. I guess the real push came when Trey bought me a power drill and skillsaw set, so I had no excuses. The first project I made was this table (with a little help from my dad). Power tools seemed so intimidating for some reason. But once I started, I immediately found a groove.

Now, a year later, I’ve made all different kinds of projects. And here at ABM we get to show off projects from other super talented makers like Rachel, Ruby and Josh. I wanted to share some simple beginner’s advice and encouragement for anyone out there, like me, who wants to get into wood projects but feels intimidated.

Just getting started? This may be all you need: 1/2/3/4/5

My main piece of advice is this: You don’t have to get a saw out of the gate. You don’t need to be some master carpenter to make some really fun and cool projects. There are SO many things you can make with just a drill and a drill bits! And if you need some custom-length boards cut, many home improvement stores (like Lowe’s and Home Depot) will do this for you for a very affordable rate. Here are some of our favorite projects that can be made with just the tools listed above (or less in most cases).


You could build this light up headboard with no other power tools but a drill! If you want a different size frame you can get your boards cut to a custom size. We added the word “Sleepover”, but you could add any word or phrase you like.

A frame tent

Make this A-Frame tent with just a drill a few special bits. You could drape and tie on a big blanket or sheet, or get your sewing machine out and follow along with Ruby to make this adorable cover.

PegboardMake your own kitchen peg boardRecord cartWe love this cute record storage cart. Too cute! Dining room tableWe made Elsie’s eight person dining room table. This is another project where you may want to change the size, so get your boards cut to the size you need.Magazine rackWe love this cute, minimal magazine rack.Pallet wallGetting ready to start your outdoor gardening plans this season? Check out this pretty pallet vertical garden.SwingAnd we are dying to add a cute swing to our backyards. Just like Rachel’s DIY tree swing.

If you’ve been on the fence to trying something new lately, here’s a friendly nudge: GO FOR IT! While it’s possible to spend a fortune on power tools, I’ve been using that $50 power drill pictured above, and it works great for my needs and skill level. I’m so glad I took the plunge and feel so proud of what I’ve made this year and inspired by what others are up to. xo. Emma

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