When you get your hands on a beautiful piece of exotic wood, it’s important to find just the right project to showcase the piece’s uniqueness. If you have a small amount of wood and want to use it wisely, these projects are the perfect way to highlight the unique colors and textures of your piece.

Game Board (and Pieces)

If you’re into classic board games, making your own game board is a fantastic way to show off your exotic wood. Boards for chess/checkers or backgammon are great if you have a couple of contrasting shades to work with. Chinese checkers or mancala would work well if you have a large enough piece of just one type of wood. Take it a step further and carve your own game pieces!

Wall Mosaic

This is another great way to show off woods when you have different colors and shades to work with. You can make a beautiful wall mosaic of any size, so they’re a great way to use up scraps from other projects. You can do abstract geometric designs, get your inspiration from nature, or go for something that feels sleek and modern. Your friends and family would most likely love to get a handmade item like this as a gift.

Wooden Puzzles

This is a really fun way to use up small pieces of exotic woods and is especially great if there are kids (or kids at heart) in your life who will enjoy playing with them. You can find all sorts of tutorials online, from 2D puzzles that fit nicely into their own box to 3D brain-bending puzzles designed to seem impossible.

Picture Frame

An ideal way to use a single type of wood. It might be a good idea to select the photo or art piece you want to use and design the frame to fit it perfectly.


Handmade wood pens are a great way to show off marbled or uniquely colored woods, especially if you only have a small piece. These are also another great gift idea if you don’t need a bunch of pens yourself. You’ll need a pen kit and can find plenty of tutorials on YouTube to walk you through the process.


Make a matching set out of the same type of wood or create a set of totally unique ones. Keep them simple or use scraps to create complex mosaic designs. Coasters are small enough that you can probably just save up all your scraps till you have enough to put a coaster set together.

Cutting Board

A great project for hardwoods, and one that works very well if you have a large supply of scraps. You can make an edge grain or an end grain board, and the design possibilities are endless.


You may not know what a trivet is, but there’s a cook in your life who would love to have one! (Hint: it’s a glorified wood hot pad for the kitchen). These can be made from scraps to show off contrasting wood colors or intricately carved out of a single piece. Like most of the things on this list, a personalized trivet is another great gift!

We hope these ideas help you decide what to do with exotic woods you come across. We’d love to hear from you. What are other small projects you’ve done to showcase exotic woods? Share in the comments!