Are you crazy about woodworking? We are, too! It’s such a fun and useful hobby that anyone can enjoy! But making fun DIY crafts is all about getting the right materials. Whether you’ve been woodworking for years or you’re just dipping your toes into the DIY pool for the first time, you should learn about the benefits of craft plywood.
Wait, plywood? Isn’t that just low-quality wood? Nope! If you get good plywood for crafting, you can rest assured that you´ll be able to make tons of fun, beautiful, and durable creations.
But what is craft plywood really? What is the best plywood for crafts? How is plywood even made? What are some easy, DIY plywood craft projects? Finally, where can you buy high-quality craft plywood sheets? Keep reading to find out!
What is craft plywood?
Craft plywood is a variation of standard plywood typically made of super-thin birch veneers. These veneers, also known as “plies,” are glued together to create strong, durable, yet lightweight craft wood sheets. In its finished form, craft plywood is often somewhere between ⅛ and ¼ of an inch thick. This makes it easy to cut, shape, and work with many of the standard hand tools you have around the house.
During the manufacturing process, the birch veneers are often arranged in alternating directions, making the final product even stronger. Using strong hardwoods for the exterior layers also ensures that you get a smooth, attractive surface. This is part of what makes good plywood ideal for woodworking. The surface is great for staining, painting, and finishing!
Since craft plywood is strong enough to support heavy objects, it is often a key ingredient in DIY projects. With high-quality plywood, you can truly let your imagination run wild! Some common uses include furniture, cabinets, and shelves. If you want to explore your artsy, creative side, you can even make model airplanes, boats, train sets, signs, home decor, and fun decorations! And don’t worry if you’re not an experienced artist; plywood is a great material for novice and professional woodworkers alike!
The advantage of Baltic birch plywood for crafting
So what makes Baltic birch plywood so special? Birch is a type of hardwood that is easy to cut with tools, but still durable enough to hold up heavy objects and work as a support in construction projects. Baltic birch is particularly well-known for its thick face and back veneers, as well as its ability to hold screws well.
Most experienced woodworkers agree that Baltic birch plywood is one of the best, multi-ply hardwood materials for art and DIY projects. Here are just a few of the advantages of choosing Baltic birch over the alternatives:
- Durability - As a hardwood, Baltic birch is highly durable and sturdy. It holds up well over time, making it a great choice for furniture, shelves, and other pieces that you plan to use on a daily basis. Baltic birch is also very resistant to warping compared to other plywood materials.
- Smooth surface - Baltic birch plywood is silky smooth and the best quality for woodworking and laser cutting.
- Workable - When you’re crafting, the last thing you want is a material that doesn’t work with you! Fortunately, Baltic birch plywood is really easy to work with, regardless of how you need to shape or sand it.
- Affordable - Don’t let the low prices fool you! It’s true that Baltic birch plywood is inexpensive and widely available, but it’s still made using high-quality hardwood. This means Baltic birch is a win-win for you and your bank account.
Shopping for thin craft plywood
Even if you know exactly what you want to make, you may not know what size plywood you need. Thin plywood is easier to cut and shape, but how “thin” does it need to be? The answer will vary based on your specific needs, but 1/8” craft plywood (3mm) and 1/4” craft plywood (6mm) are the two standard sizes. These work for the vast majority of creatives, though you could still branch out to thinner or thicker cuts as needed. In any case, both of these sizes are thin enough to cut with a wide variety of tools but still strong enough to hold up under pressure.
How to cut craft plywood
Part of the appeal of craft plywood is that it is easy to cut. If you’re like most beginner DIYers, you may just want to get started with the tools you have on hand. Take a look at the steps below so that you can cut your plywood with confidence!
- Get your tools - Most people will have something around the house that is strong enough to cut plywood. A standard hand saw is a great option, but an electric jigsaw is even better if you want to ensure a really clean, straight cut. Either way, make sure you have a cutting tool on hand, as well as a ruler, pencil, and a flat surface (table or workbench).
- Mark your plywood - Cutting plywood isn’t all about using the right amount of elbow grease. More than anything else, you need to make sure you’re cutting in the right place! So, measure and mark your plywood exactly where you want to cut before you ever touch your cutting tool.
- Make your cut - It may seem a little nerve-wracking to start cutting into a fresh sheet of plywood, but don’t worry! As long as you’ve marked your plywood correctly and you cut very slowly, you can make clean, beautiful cuts!
- Sand the edges - Even when you make a really clean cut, there are bound to be a few rough edges or splinters sticking out. You can sand these down with sandpaper or an electric sander in a matter of minutes.
Plywood craft ideas
Now that you know a little more about craft plywood, let’s discuss what you can actually make with it! Honestly, there are no limits to what you can create, but here are a few projects that are especially popular among DIY crafters:
- Storage bin with dividers - Who doesn’t need a bit more organization in their life? If you want somewhere to store toys, tools, or even ingredients, you can make a beautiful, multipurpose storage bin with just a few plywood sheets for crafts!
- Desk organizer - A cluttered desk is an easy fix when you have a desk organizer. But why buy something generic from the store when you can make your very own? You’ll be much more inclined to use a desk organizer if you put in the work to make it!
- Wall art - From rustic plywood clocks to abstract carvings, there are thousands of ways to get creative with plywood wall art!
- Coffee table - Since plywood is so durable, it can even be used for light-use coffee tables. However, you should keep in mind that even ½” plywood will need to be doubled up when making small tables, as a single sheet of plywood is not strong enough to reliably support things like drinks, lamps, or books.
- Dog house - Does your dog need a nice place to lie down in the shade every once in a while? Then break out the plywood and make Fido a nice little house of his own! Just remember that any outside projects using plywood should be properly weather-treated.
Did you enjoy our craft plywood guide? Be sure to let us know in the comments and check out our selection of craft plywood to find the perfect materials for your next DIY project!