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Cutting Board DIY

I love homemade projects but sometimes they feel a little too…homemade. I wanted to do some posts on gifts that are totally doable and that I would have bought from a store let alone be excited to receive it as a homemade gift from a friend. The first is this gorgeous geometric cutting board. I asked my friend and woodworker Jared Rusten to break it down into simple easy steps. You’ll definitely need some basic jigsaw skills but it isn’t anything too tricky. These would make great neighbor gifts or even for a friend that loves to entertain. If you have access to the tools and can find the scraps of wood the whole project is very affordable.

Click through for the easy step by step instructions.

Materials Needed: Scrap Pieces of Hardwood like Walnut, Maple or Cherry in 1.75″ thick, A jigsaw with a long blade, sandpaper in three grits: 80, 120, 220, pencil, paper, Mineral Oil or Linseed Oil.

The key to a great cutting board is starting with a good piece of wood. Soft woods won’t work for a cutting board because they absorb everything like a sponge. Hardwoods are perfect but you can’t find them at a Home Depot. Try contacting a furniture maker or checking the scrap bin at a supplier like Rockler or a local hardwood dealer to get great deals on small pieces of hardwood.

Step 1: Draw on a piece of paper what shape you want your cutting board. (See the photo at the bottom, we also made a heart!) Cut it out and lay it on the wood to trace it.
Step 2: Take the jigsaw and cut along the pencil lines.
Step 3: Take the  80 grit sandpaper and wrap it around a piece of wood and begin sanding. Take off the corners and the edges to look a little rounded. When you are sanding you are sanding for “feel” or how smooth it is, and also for “clarity” so you can see the beauty of the wood. Continue with the other two grits 120, then 220 until the board feels smooth and the wood looks beautiful.
Step 4: Take some oil like Mineral Oil and thoroughly wipe the board down. That’s it! Gift the board with a beautiful knife or some delicious cheeses.

Credits + Contributors:
All photography by Heather Zweig for Oh Happy Day
Art Directed by Jordan Ferney
Crafting by Jared Rusten
Styling by Stacy Wichelhaus

  1. teresa

    November 28, 2012

    Love it….this is going to be my next project.

  2. Tamara's Blend

    November 28, 2012

    What a cool idea, this cutting board is beautiful (so cool that I wouldn’t want to use it so it wouldn’t get damages, haha). And amazing photos.

  3. chiara

    November 28, 2012

    this looks fantastic. i want to eat that lovely cheese!

  4. Chloe Moon

    November 28, 2012

    Ooo I love the heart board!!! I have a custom furniture designer in my town and they are ALWAYS throwing away scraps of wood…I might have to do some searching in their backlot or ask…This would be such a great personal holiday gift! Thanks for the inspiration! =)

    Ergo – Blog

  5. loulou

    November 28, 2012

    That is a beautiful cutting board! I love the shape. Wish I had a jigsaw.


  6. melissa

    November 28, 2012

    absolutely love it! & its in the perfect shade

  7. Silvia

    November 28, 2012

    Lovely gift idea. And I wouldn’t mine gifting one to myself either 😉

  8. priscilla kwak

    November 28, 2012

    love this gifting idea!

  9. Jessi

    November 28, 2012

    That would be perfect for a picnic in the park!

  10. little kitchie

    November 28, 2012

    SUCH a great gift idea! i would love to give/receive this 🙂

  11. BeHappy

    November 28, 2012

    Lovely! It would be a great Christmas gift!

  12. LARY@ Inspiration Nook

    November 28, 2012

    Too cute! Love the heart board 🙂

  13. Annonny

    November 28, 2012

    This is a great project for those with handy woodworking skills 🙂

    Another idea would be to buy a glass baking dish (Pyrex is the standard) and use glass etching potion to etch something personal on the side; such as a last name or monogram.

    And I must admit… the shape of the cutting board instantly made me think of a coffin. Just a consideration; you wouldn’t want to weird out your gift recipients.

  14. m e l

    November 28, 2012


  15. Cerise

    November 28, 2012

    Love this idea for Christmas gifts. We’ll have to look for a place to find scraps.
    Thanks for the tutorial.

  16. Tiffanie

    November 29, 2012

    These are fantastic. I love the shape you used here. Makes a lot of sense to have it bulge in the middle! Nicely done!

  17. Monica

    November 29, 2012

    These are so beautiful – I was wondering if they require any special consideration for washing? Can they be put in the dishwasher? Would they need to be reconditioned after washing?

      • jordan
      • November 29, 2012

      I wouldn’t put a butcher block in the dish washer. I usually hand wash with a little soap and water and I use mineral oil every 3 weeks. (You can oil it less over time.)

  18. Monica

    November 29, 2012

    These are beautiful!

    I was just wondering – are there any special washing instructions? Would the board need to be reconditioned after washing? Can these survive the dishwasher?

  19. Emily

    November 30, 2012

    What a cool idea and how to!

  20. martina

    November 30, 2012

    Do you need to worried that the wood has been treated with anything weird? How do you know that it’s food-safe?

  21. Jared

    November 30, 2012

    Martina, naturally derived pure oils like Tung Oil, Linseed Oil, or Mineral Oil (sometimes ingested as a laxative!) are all food safe. Here’s a little article about food safe finishes:

    The three mentioned above are all readily available at your local hardware/paint store.

    For special projects, I use Tried & True (Linseed Oil) for furniture/wood pieces that need to be food safe:

    Good luck!

  22. Explore*Handmade

    December 3, 2012

    This is a beautiful DIY! I’d like to experiment with possibly personalizing through adding my last name or my initials to the bottom right or left corner.

  23. Natasja -

    December 3, 2012

    Wow, great DIY!

  24. Monica

    December 3, 2012

    Thank you!

  25. Bonnie Hughes

    December 5, 2012

    Hardwoods tend to be really expensive. How much on average should we expect to pay for these scrap but thick pieces? Thank you, and they look beautiful

  26. Jared

    December 7, 2012

    Hey Bonnie, it’s true that hardwoods can be expensive. The walnut cutting board featured is probably $15-20 worth of lumber, but it was scrap cut off a longer board. I know my local hardwood dealer (MacBeath here in San Francisco) has a big scrap bin in the office where they sell off-cuts like this. You *can* get “hardwoods” at Home Depot. They usually have oak, and sometimes birch, but it is only available there in 3/4″ thicknesses. And, you can always make a cutting board out of a softwood, like from pine shelving boards, but because of it’s softness you may find you’re “seasoning” your food with more cut fibers from your board. 🙂

  27. Anestazia

    December 11, 2012

    You’re on fire! I featured this post as well!

    Anestazia @ Eccentric Delirium

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