Tap into your creative juices to keep woodworking enjoyable.

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Steve Carmichael enjoys making fun woodworking projects records them all on video for your entertainment. Steve can be found at his website, TheCarmichaelWorkshop.com, and on his YouTube channel, The Carmichael Workshop.

Have you ever lost interest in the middle of a project? It happens to all of us, but I've found that injecting an additional helping of fun into my projects keeps me motivated for the long haul. The more you enjoy working on a project, the more likely you will be to finish it—and the happier you'll be with the results. Here are a few tips to keep your woodworking fun, and have fewer incomplete projects taking up shop space.

Try a wooden makeover

Every day we use household items that are made of plastic, metal, or other clearly inferior materials. They could look better (and sometimes last longer) if made from wood. Look around your home for lamps, clocks, picture frames, etc. to see if they could use a wooden makeover. Rebuild the item from wood, repurposing only the parts needed to make it functional. I once removed a motor and switch from a broken plastic fan and rebuilt the whole fan from wood [below]. Not only do I now have a working fan, it is much cooler too!

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Ordinary household items become works of art with a wooden makeover. Steve built this reimagined box fan with—of course— box joints.

Embrace your goofiness

Don't be afraid to incorporate humor and irony into a project. People connect with projects that make them smile or laugh. It felt a little silly making the sub sandwich shown [opening photo], but I didn't let that stop me from having fun during its creation. And I can assure you that while I was making it, I never thought for a second that it would win a 2×4 contest, as well as a second-place ribbon at The Woodworking Shows.

Combine your hobbies

Do you have other hobbies and interests outside of the woodshop? As a musician and a woodworker, I enjoy making music-related projects. Look for opportunities to build a crossover project that incorporates your multiple interests. Make a display case for your golf-ball collection, build a wooden stand for your guitar, or create a shadow box for your sci-fi memorabilia. Such custom projects cannot be bought in stores, plus you get to spend time on two of your interests for double the fun.

Experiment with color

Stains, dyes, and paints can add fun to an otherwise mundane project. Pine and poplar make good choices for painted projects because they are inexpensive, easy to work with, and take paint well. Also you'll feel less guilty painting these than you would walnut, cherry, or zebrawood. If you've avoided the spray-paint aisle, take a fresh look; you may be surprised at the wide array of trendy colors. Always play around on a test piece to make sure the product you choose provides the desired results before applying it to your ready-to-finish project.

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This working acoustic guitar combines two of Steve's hobbies—music and woodworking. Surprisingly, it was made from a single 8' 2×4.

Defy convention

When pocket-hole jigs began to become ubiquitous, woodworkers went to great lengths to hide their pocket-hole joinery. But the hidden patterns that the pocket holes make looked like artwork to me. Wouldn't it be fun to take the opposite approach and feature the pocket holes as a design element? That piece turned out to be the Pocket-Hole Lamp shown below. Dare to be different, defy convention, approach things from your own quirky angle, and expect fun to follow.

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Normally hidden, pocket holes are celebrated in this off-the-wall lamp that transforms the lowly joinery method into art.