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Beginners Guide to Lumber: 2×4 Dimensions

Have you ever walked around the home improvement store trying to figure out what the true 2×4 dimensions are? When we first started with woodworking projects, we were confused on what the actual sizing of lumber was.

Now that we have taken on several diy wood projects, we have accumulated a lot of scrap wood. So, we came up with easy 2×4 projects to use up some of this extra wood. Read on to find out how you can use scrap 2×4 wood!

2×4 Dimensions Guide

It was intimidating being in the home improvement store with huge pieces of lumber and barely any woodworking experience.

As I started to take on more home diy projects and other woodworking projects, I learned the actual size of lumber.

Save yourself a ton of time with our easy to understand 2×4 dimensions guide, so you don’t feel clueless walking around the lumber isle.

2x4 dimensions

Actual 2×4 Dimensions

A 2×4 does not actually measure to a 2×4. The wood is roughly cut to 2×4 inches, but after drying they no longer measure to 2×4 inches.

After drying the wood now measures 1½ x 3½ inches, and no longer has the 2×4 dimensions.

Instead of calling a 2×4 the actual measurements of 1½ x 3½ inches, the measurement was standardized to a nominal 2×4.

2x4 dimensions

Easy DIY 2×4 Projects

If you have extra scrap wood on hand than here are easy 2×4 projects. These projects can be made for free with scrap wood or under $40 in lumber.

We provide clear instructions on how to make a scrap wood desk, DIY coffee table, farmhouse console table, and craft 2×4 projects.

So, no woodworking skills are needed to build any of these 2×4 projects because our step by step guide will walk you through the entire project.

2×4 Scrap Wood Desk

I made this easy scrap wood desk using 2x4s, plywood, and corner modeling. This desk is small but perfect for a corner in a bedroom, if you don’t have enough space for a home office.

2×4 DIY Coffee Table

I had extra 4x4s on hand, so I went a little overboard with the legs on this table. This diy coffee table can be made with 2×4 legs instead of 4x4s and the skirt can also be made with 4x4s.

We made this small coffee table to fit perfectly in between our sectional sofa.

2×4 Craft Projects

I am always looking for fun ways to use up scrap wood, so I came up with this 2×4 project for the winter.

These snowmen are made from 2×4 and scrap fabric that I had on hand. The great thing about these snowmen is that they stand on their own because the 2x4s are solid pieces of wood.

I saw something similar selling for $20 or more a piece. Why spend the money if you have wood laying around your garage anyway!

Farmhouse Console Table

Our friends made us this DIY farmhouse console table with 2×4 legs. This diy project is beginner friendly and can be made from scrap wood as well.

Scrap Wood Lumber Projects

For even more scrap wood projects take a look at Anika’s beginner friendly ideas! She provides easy to follow directions on how to build a scrap wood bench, jewelry display, shelves and much more.


We hope you found this post helpful and you now feel confident going to the home improvement store. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help if you are unsure.

Most home improvement stores will also cut lumber for free, so if you are intimidated by a saw you can have your cuts done at the store.

You will become more comfortable and knowledgeable with each diy project that you take on.

Before you know it, you will be one of those people zipping around the home improvement store like you own the place!

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