How to Make Your Own Wood Mallet for Paint

Wooden mallets come in handy for projects in which using metal hammers would be too heavy and harsh. They're recommended for use when closing paint cans because metal hammers can dent and bend the lip of the cans. Mallets can also be used to distress furniture after painting it to create a rustic, aged look. Building your own mallet is easy enough that you can make a variety of options, with varying head sizes or different types of wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood for the head, at least 8 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches
  • 2-by-4, about 2 feet long
  • Power or rotary sander
  • Power drill
  • Hand chisel
  • Saw
  • Wood glue


    • 1

      Cut the head to the size you want, at least 8 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches, but it can be bigger. Use a hand saw or a miter or table saw for faster cutting. Finding a piece of wood this thick can be tricky at your local hardware store. You may consider buying it a lumberyard. You can also use a log but you need to trim it to size.

    • 2

      Find the center of your mallet head and drill a 1/2-inch hole through the middle, from top to bottom or bottom to top. Widen the hole with a hand chisel until it's 1-inch by 1-inch square.

    • 3

      Trim the 2-by-4 down to a 1 1/2-inch by 1 1/2-inch by 2-foot piece. This is your handle.

    • 4

      Measure the height of the mallet head at 4 inches and mark the height on the handle.

    • 5

      Cut a 1-inch square tenon on the end of the handle from the mark you just made to the end. Use a hand saw or chisel or a table saw. You should end up with a 1 1/2-inch square handle, with a narrower 1-inch square tenon for a few inches on the end. This is the top of the handle.

    • 6

      Drill a small hole, about 1/8 inch, through the tenon where it meets the rest of the handle. Then saw down the middle of the tenon from the top of the handle to the hole you just drilled.

    • 7

      Put a little wood glue on the sides of the tenon and push it through the hole you chiseled in the mallet head. It should fit snugly. Wipe off any excess glue.

    • 8

      Use a scrap piece of wood to cut a thin wedge, about 1/8-inch wide and as long as your tenon, to fit in the gap at the top of the tenon which shows through the mallet head.

    • 9

      Put some glue on the sides of the wedge and hammer it into the gap to spread the tenon and hold the mallet head in place.

    • 10

      Sand down the corners of the handle to make it more comfortable to hold.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't want to deal with cutting a tenon and wedge, you can drill a hole just halfway through the mallet head, push a handle inside, cut a slot in the handle just below the head, and push a wedge through it to keep the head from sliding back down.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

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