How to Make a DIY Wood Charcuterie Board

If you’re moderately comfortable with plugging in a tool, a DIY charcuterie board makes a really great gift, especially for a hostess.  The meat and cheese serving board takes about 2 hours to make from beginning to end and looks like you picked it up at a Paris antique market. Honestly, it does! 

DIY charcuterie boards hang on wall.

SKIP right to the tutorial.
 

Do you remember a few years ago when no one used the word charcuterie board? We called them serving boards, cheese boards, or (shudder) platters. We were such peasants in the olden days, 4 years ago.

Today I’m going to show you how to make a genuine, imitation antique meat & cheese board with a hunk of wood from the lumberyard, a jigsaw and a palm sander. And yes. It’s the same thing as a wood charcuterie board.  I’m sure you’ve seen antique cheese and breadboards before. They’re all over the stores and Internet.  You’ve maybe even seen DIYs on how to do them, but I’m going to show you a few tricks that’ll make your “Antique” serving board look authentic.

EVEN if you don’t think you’re handy, you can do this.  EVEN if you’re afraid of power tools, you can do this.  EVEN if you have no artistic instincts whatsoever, you can do this.

The full printable tutorial is at the bottom of the post.

How Do You Make a Charcuterie Board

All there is to making a rustic looking charcuterie board is cutting a piece of wood into a shape you like with a jigsaw (or a band saw) and then finishing it.

Because you aren’t looking for a perfect shape or fine woodworking, even a beginner can make an authentic looking board.

Marking a piece of barn board with chalk to make serving board.
  1.  Grab your piece of 12″ wide barn board and draw your cheese board outline on it.  You can find scads of examples of antique serving boards on Pinterest that you can use as inspiration for your shape. Cheese boards tend to be round and bread boards tend to be square or rectangular.  Just do what you think looks good.

What kind of wood can you use?

Pine, spruce or fir:  If you’re new to things like using saws and cutting wood, pick a wood that’s a softwood and easy to cut. Keep in mind with these kinds of softwoods you won’t want to use the boards for any actual cutting, just as a serving tray.

Oak, beech or walnut: If you’re experienced and comfortable with saws you can pick harder woods like these. Oak, beech and walnut are a lot denser with a closed grain and because of that, they’re harder to cut. Those same properties  mean you can use them as cutting boards because they won’t dull your knives or scar easily.  

Cutting wood into a cheese serving board with a Bosch jigsaw.

2.  Clamp the wood to a sturdy surface like a table or workbench then cut the shape out with a jigsaw.

Drilling a hole into the end of a wood serving board to allow it to be hung.

3.  Drill a hole into the centre of the handle if you want a hole to hang it from.  The size of the hole is up to you.  You can do something just large enough to run a piece of twine through with a regular drill bit for hanging it, or something a little bigger using a hole saw.  Or, you can have no hole at all.

Festool palm sander, rounding out edges on newly made cheese board.

4. Using a palm sander, (a Festool 125 if you’re smart enough to ask for one for Christmas) sand the face and edges of the wood. You don’t want to have nice clean cut marks. That’s a dead giveaway that you’re faking something old.  If you’re using old barn board or even barn board that’s already a bit discoloured from the lumberyard, once you cut it, the edges will look bright and new.  Bleh.  So sand and round out the edges.

Decrease the grit of sandpaper you’re using.  Start with 80 grit, move to 120 brit and sand again, and finally sand with a 180  grit.

Wiping sawdust off of newly made cheese board with a tack cloth.

5.  Blow off the sawdust from the wood and then use a piece of tack cloth to remove the rest of it.

Using a stain made of vinegar and steel wool to discolour newly cut wood edges.

6.  Now the fun part of ageing your new wood, or ageing the newly cut edges of your old wood begins.  If you’re using old wood, brush the newly cut edges with your mixture of vinegar and steel wool.    If you’re using new wood, brush the whole board including the edges. Let dry. The reason I want you to use this technique to stain the wood and not a regular stain is because a) it perfectly replicates aged wood and b) it’s completely food safe.

Alternately, you can skip the vinegar and steel wool and just condition the wood with your food safe wood finish, which will darken the wood and give it a glow.  Don’t forget the newly cut edges!


TIP – By the way if you use cordless tools and have one that has a battery that won’t recharge, you should read this post on how to fix a battery that won’t charge.  If the battery is relatively new and not dead because it’s decades old you can fix it so the charger will charge it. 


5 wood DIY meat and cheese platters hanging on a white painted brick wall.

 
Intimidated?  Don’t be. This is how easy it’s going to be.

Various shapes and sizes of DIY charcuterie boards hanging on white brick wall.

I made cutting boards out of 3 different materials.  Genuinely old barn board, new pine and barn board with lots of scarring and knots from the lumberyard that already looked a tiny bit aged.

Glowing pine DIY serving board hanging on a brick wall by a leather tie.

There are plusses and minuses to working with both but my favourite was the lumberyard barn board that looked a bit aged. It’s the rectangular one you see above.  It had the most character, best colour after conditioning and you can actually use it for food, unlike genuine barn board which I would advise against.  Because ick. If you want to use an old genuine barn board for serving cut a layer of parchment or waxed paper to lay on top of the board.

I specifically chose a piece of barn board at the lumberyard that had a big crack and lots of character.

So.

Charcuterie board ideas.

This is always the big question.  If you have one or more of each of the following things, you’re good. 

  • Fresh fruit
  • A variety of cheeses
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Olives
  • Cured meats
  • Soft cheese
  • Crackers
  • Small pot(s) of jams or chutneys

Those are your staples for a charcuterie and anything beyond that is going to get you into the serving board superstar realm.

Handmade Wood cheese boards hanging on brick wall.

DIY Charcuterie Board

Yield: Cheese board.
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy(ish)
Estimated Cost: $10

Make this antique looking cheese/charcuterie board out of a piece of wide pine barn board that you can get from your local lumberyard. This is a GREAT hostess gift for Christmas. Just add cheese! :)

Materials

  • A piece of 12″ x 1″ soft wood, at least 12 inches long

Tools

  • Jigsaw
  • Clamps
  • Palm sander
  • Various grits of sandpaper for sander
  • Cotton rags
  • Tack cloth
  • Piece of chalk
  • Board butter (food grade wood conditioner)
  • Vinegar and Steel Wool stain

Instructions

    1. Grab your piece of 12″ wide barn board and draw your cheese board outline on it. Cheese boards tend to be round and bread boards tend to be square or rectangular.  Just do what you think looks good.
    2. Clamp the wood to a sturdy surface like a table or workbench then cut the shape out with a jigsaw.
    3. Drill a hole into the centre of the handle if you want a hole to hang it from.  The size of the hole is up to you.  You can do something just large enough to run a piece of twine through with a regular drill bit for hanging it, or something a little bigger using a hole saw.  Or, you can have no hole at all.
    4. Using a palm sander, sand the face and edges of the wood.  Start with 80 grit, move to 120 grit, and finally sand with 180  grit. You don’t want to have nice clean cut marks. That’s a dead giveaway that you’re faking something old.  If you’re using old barn board or even barn board that’s already a bit discoloured from the lumberyard, once you cut it, the edges will look bright and new.  So sand and round out the edges.
    5. Blow off the sawdust from the wood and then use a piece of tack cloth to remove the rest of it.
    6. Now the fun part of ageing your new wood, or ageing the newly cut edges of your old wood begins.  If you’re using old wood, brush the newly cut edges with your mixture of vinegar and steel wool.    If you’re using new wood, brush the whole board including the edges. Let dry. The reason I want you to use this technique to stain the wood and not a regular stain is because a) it perfectly replicates aged wood and b) it’s completely food safe. Alternately, you can skip the vinegar and steel wool stain and just condition the wood with your food safe wood finish, which will darken the wood and give it a glow.  Don’t forget the newly cut edges.

Notes

    • Here's my tutorial on making your own beeswax wood conditioner.
    • Here's my tutorial on making food safe stain out of steel wool and vinegar.
    • Knots are harder to cut through than regular wood, so when you get to them just be prepared.
    • Soft woods like pine, fir and spruce are much easier to work cut with a jigsaw and sand. Hard woods like oak, maple or walnut are much harder to cut BUT they can also be used as cutting boards then.
    • Take a good look at the wood.  It’ll tell you what to do with it.
    • Your chalk line will be thicker than your cut line.  Remember which side of your chalk to cut on to make your board the right size.
    • If you’re new and unsure of yourself with woodworking tools like a jigsaw, make a cutting board with only straight lines.  Curves are harder, so the straight lines will build up your confidence.
    • Don’t forget to round off any newly cut edges.
    • Don’t try to cut anything without clamping it down first.  Ever.
    • To make newer wood look like an older cutting/cheese board scar it using a knife or pizza cutter.

Just a reminder from the top of this post that this DIY charcuterie board would make a really nice hostess gift, either by itself or as the base for other fun stuff instead of a basket. 

How to turn this into a gift basket.

Lay out your cellophane and then lay the board on top of it.

Top the board with a good cheese, a box of unique crackers, some type of fig or cranberry jam that goes with the cheese and crackers, a bottle of wine or olive oil (for height) and some sprigs of pine and spruce.

Done! Just like that you have a thoughtful, inexpensive gift for someone.

Unlike this year’s new word – COVID – this is something you’ll be happy to give to someone.

How to Make a DIY Wood Charcuterie Board

106 Comments

  1. Kate says:

    Thank you so much for this as a client is asking me to come up with a charcuterie, cutting board or some sort of wooden tray with their logo on it which is kind of out of my element of making wooden signs using pine wood. Through this wonderful post, however, I’ve now discovered I cannot really use pine. I’ve also learnt that the size doesn’t really matter for a charcuterie board? Also, how do you make it without ageing it? Do you just skip the vinegar process? Can you use wax to make the charcuterie board edible-safe? I have so many questions, lol.
    Thanks again for the informative post!

  2. Bond Corp says:

    Thank you for sharing this informative blog! All the information provided by you is really very helpful for all. I agreed by using tack cloth you can keep your project dust-free. Everyone should follow the tips provided by you, it will make their work easier. Keep Posting! Keep Sharing!

  3. Rachel says:

    I just created 4 out of oak. Was hoping to let them be used as cutting boards as well but there seems to be some views that oak can be too porous for that. Darn I will just have to gift them just a a charcuterie board then.

    • Karen says:

      Flip it over and cut a couple of things on it to see how easily it cuts and if it self heals. But, yes, even though oak is very strong and heavy it will probably not be useable as an actual cutting board. :/ ~ karen!

  4. Cheverly says:

    I had to go into a certain “market” store this weekend for some overpriced touristy Christmas gifts, and I found some rustic bread boards for sale… ranging in price from $55 to $108! I saw someone else eyeballing them so I said “thank goodness for tutorials on The Art of Doing Stuff’s blog so I don’t have to pay these prices!” and haughtily walked away (without tripping!).

    Bonus points for the ability to make one to span the length of my table for an ultra impressive custom effect. Thanks, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      LOL, well now I feel a bit bad for the artisan making the boards. But at the same time, weirdly proud. ;) ~ karen!

      • Cheverly says:

        Nah, don’t feel bad. The “market” I’m talking about gets all of their stuff from China, mostly. They even have the exact same kitchen timer on their website as one at World Market… for double the price, lol (hint: I live in Waco, Tx).

  5. Vikki says:

    I love the board with the big gash/crack in it!! It is fit to serve gold crowns on.

  6. Valerie says:

    Beautiful Karen, I want a large one! I have several smaller ones but nothing like being able to serve everything one one board! I saw one one about 2.5’ long filled with meat and cheese done up to look like a tree with tomatoes and olives as the decorations, it was great.
    I have to admit I didn’t read every comment so someone may have asked this question…the board with the big split in it, is that food safe? What about cheese or meat crumbs etc that get into it, how well can you clean it to know you have no bacteria issues?
    ~ v

  7. Heather Tyrrell says:

    DO NOT USE SOFT WOOD!! IT RETAINS BACTERIA AND LEAVES A FUNNY TASTE ON YOUR FOOD!!!

  8. Donna says:

    Beautiful boards! I just made 3 for Christmas and needed to speed up the vinegar process…got the steel wool wet with vinegar then pulled it out and set on paper until it was nice and rusty…about an hour…then stuck it back in and let set for about 24 hours-perfect!

  9. RobertGow says:

    онлайн казино без вложений – онлайн казино с реальным выводом денег, самое честное онлайн казино

  10. Vanessa says:

    Can we start with, where do you get a barn board??? I love them and would make a bunch…but don’t love the idea of new wood. Any suggestions?

  11. Linda in illinois says:

    I absolutely love the boards. I will be making some myself. Thank you Karen.

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