Maker-friendly wood surfaces and project kits designed to inspire simple acts of creativity.
Wood components finished enough to inspire yet raw enough to personalize. Empowering makers to explore new experiences and build confidence in creativity.
What is plywood?Plywood is made by gluing multiple thin layers of wood together in a very tight stack, creating a strong, attractive real-wood panel.
Is Handprint hardwood plywood the same as Baltic Birch plywood?In short, no. Baltic Birch is a specialty plywood originally created for cabinet makers. It’s plies are thicker and all made from 100% birch. Birch plywood has thinner plies which are different species- anything from pine to poplar. We find Birch plywood offers the same great look and benefits as Baltic Birch, but can be more cost effective for a maker’s budget.
How many plies are in each thickness of plywood?In general, the more plies, the stronger the panel. So while the precise number of plies varies depending on the tree, typically, ¼” plywood has 3-5 plies, ½” has 5-7, and ¾” has 7-9.
Can these boards be used outside?Any board that isn't pressure treated isn't going to last long outside without a weather-resistant protectant sealer. For best results outdoors, use polyurethane or polycrylic. Both increase durability and are moisture- and heat-resistant.
What is the difference between nominal and actual dimensions?
Nominal dimensions are the sizes wood products are commonly called, as well as the size the wood was before it was cut, sanded, planed, surfaced, etc. The actual measurements are the final size you purchase and the size you have to work with.
For example, a 1" x 4" - 2' Sanded Board has nominal dimensions of 1" x 4" – 24" and actual dimensions of 0.75" x 3.5" – 24".
You can find our nominal and actual dimenions on each product's page, just below its name:
1" x 4" - 2' Sanded Boards 4-pack
Actual: 0.75" x 3.5" – 24"
Nominal: 1" x 4" – 24"
Will climate affect my boards?Our boards are kiln-dried during manufacturing which adds stability and works to minimize warp and shrinkage. However, if your climate or home environment is quite hot and humid or cold and dry, we recommend giving your boards a few days to acclimate before starting your project.
Why choose MDF?MDF performs as well or better than solid wood for a wide variety of home decor projects. Featuring uniform thickness and density, MDF cuts more easily than other wood products. And maybe best of all, no sanding! It's project-ready!
Is MDF easy to finish?MDF's clean, smooth, unfinished faces and edges are easy to work and ready to customize with the finishes of your choice. These include paint, vinyl decals, and sealant. Stain is not recommended, however.
What is MDF?MDF translates to Medium Density Fiberboard which is a high-grade, composite material made from wood fiber and resin. It is similar to particle board, but much denser and stronger.
Can I paint MDF?The surface of MDF is smooth and dense which is great for painting! You can use both oil-based and water-based paint on your project.
Can I display my MDF project outside?
- For the cleanest results, paint each piece of wood after cutting, drilling, sanding, and wiping down, but before assembling your project
- A base coat/primer will allow for better paint coverage and less spots where the grain shows through
- A clear topcoat of any water-based polycrylic adds a protective finish and/or your desired level of glossiness
- Our decor kits each come with your choice of three 4-color paint palettes -- lots of opportunity for practice!
Finished plywood edges
- Wood filler or wood putty is perfect for the occasional void commonly found in any plywood. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use
- If you want to hide the plies on the edges of your plywood, apply edge banding (available in a variety of widths and colors/species), or cover with a thin strip of natural, solid wood
- For more even coverage, use a prestain
- Apply stain using old rags or towels, or choose a brush made specifically for stain
- End-grains (areas where the wood has been cut against the grain) tend to soak up more stain than other areas. Give them an extra sanding to tighten the pores and lessen the overabsorption
- The finer the grit of the final sandpaper you use, the lighter the stain color will be; the coarser the sandpaper, the darker the color will be
- Don’t stain wood fiber panels (MDF, particle board, hardboard). These panels are susceptible to moisture and expand when wet. Additionally, without a natural woodgrain, they fail to absorb stain evenly
- Stain looks great on our precut shapes!
- Predrilling screw holes is always recommended. It helps prevent splitting, gaps, and fastening at an off angle
- For the strongest, longest-lasting hold, predrill holes slightly smaller than the screws you’re using
- When you need to avoid drilling all the way through a piece of wood, wrap a piece of tape around the drill bit to mark the depth you want to stop and reverse out
- Drills are commonly used with wood craft boards and planks
- Read more about tool safety....
- Use wood glue – also called polyurethane glue - to bond wood to wood; not white school glue or a glue gun.
- Before applying glue, wipe wood with a damp cloth to remove any dust or particles that could prevent a tight bond.
- After applying glue, clamp pieces together and allow to dry for at least 30-60 minutes. Dry for 24 hours if there will be any stress on the joint.
- Our kits include one of our favorite glue brands!
- To lessen the chance of accidentally splitting your wood, choose the thinnest nails possible that will still provide adequate holding power
- Avoid nailing into the end grain, especially with oversized nails
- Predrilling is usually unnecessary when nailing unless you’re using hardwood, very thin material, or you need to nail close to the end grain
- Nails come in handy when hanging decor projects for display
- Read more about tool safety....
- To avoid slipping off, stripping the screw, etc., hold both the screw and the drill as vertically straight as possible and pull the trigger with slow, even pressure
- Use flathead wood screws if you want the head flush with the surface of the wood; avoid fastening into knots
- Our Squared-Arch Bookend Kits are a fun and easy way to practice your skills with a screwdriver, electric screwdriver, or power drill driver
- Read more about tool safety....
Getting the cleanest saw cuts
- Use a new, fine-tooth, 80-tooth or more, carbide, combination sawblade
- Score your cutline first using a straight edge and a sharp blade, like a utility knife or razor blade (the cutline is the line the sawblade will travel); when measuring, add the width of the sawblade to your mark
- Give extra support to the wood fibers along the cutline by running a piece of painters’ tape over it
- If an extra-clean cut is important, securely clamp a second, thin piece of scrap wood to the bottom of the piece you’re cutting
- Frayed edges can be easily cleaned up with some quick sanding; a badly chewed edge can be repaired with wood filler or woody putty as needed
Achieving the smoothest results from sanding
- A smooth, ready-to-finish surface is accomplished using a series of increasingly finer grit sandpapers. Start with medium-fine grit like #120, progress to #150, and end with #180. Note that skipping a grit can leave scratches too deep for the next grit to remove.
- Sand evenly and in the direction of the grain.
- Don’t oversand – you could potentially seal the wood so tightly it won’t absorb finish.
- Be careful if using an electric sander (palm or orbital) on veneer faces. They’re easy to accidentally sand through with too much power.
- Wipe wood with a damp cloth to remove dust after sanding.
- Don’t sand wood fiber panels (MDF, particleboard, hardboard). These wood products already have smooth surfaces, but when sanded, they also create a tremendous amount of very fine saw-dust that can irritate eyes and lungs.
Creating a space to find and share inspiration, build and nurture creative connections, and grow your confidence alongside your skillset.
Team member favorites
1/4" 12" x 12" Birch Plywood
Hardwood plywood as versatile as it is great-looking. With clean, smooth, natural birch on both the front and back, it's perfect for a wide variety of home DIY and decor projects. Anywhere a beautiful, real-wood look is a top priority. Or customize with the finishes of your choice.
3/8" x 1-1/2" - 18" White Wood 10-pack
Cut for creativity, these sanded white wood boards are so multipurpose, do we dare call them indispensable? With clean, smooth surfaces, this handy 10-pack is perfect for a wide range of home decor and craft projects. Ideal for custom finishes like paint and stain too.