I love charcuterie boards. I think they are beautiful, a great way to pack a “wow” for a special event or just for a family night. It’s been a fun way to turn finger foods into dinner and my kids love the hands on aspect – it’s helped them reach for new foods they haven’t tried before. And you’d better believe this board will showing up at so many events.
I spent a good month researching boards. With a large family I wanted to buy one that was over-sized to be able to do meals with it. However, the only one I found that that had a lip around the edge (to keep the food on!) and over 20 inches was this one from Pier 1. It’s beautiful, but I can’t spend $129 on one.
The wheels started turning and I thought, “Maybe I can make one?!”
Now, if you knew me, you’d laugh at that – there are ZERO woodworkng skills in me and I don’t always have a ton of patience with home projects. But that what makes this helpful for you – you don’t have to be a DIY pro, you can do this. You will need to have connection to some tools – my husband has a saw that could cut the wood into pieces and then we borrowed a friend’s jigsaw to cut the circles.
Disclaimer: this is a blog post on how a regular person made a large imperfectly perfect charcuterie board. These are not expert level steps, but how it worked for us.
Step 1: Figure out what size you want the board and buy enough wood to build it
I wanted to keep this affordable, so I didn’t do any oak or nicer woods. Just plain old pine worked enough for me. The bottom of the board I wanted 1 inch thick and to make a 28″ board. So I bought 2 1x4x10 whitewood boards (found in the project board section) that I cut into fourths for a total of 8 30″ long boards. I wanted the edge or lip of the board to be tall, so I bought 3 2x4x8 that were two inches thick and cut into thirds to get 9 32″ long boards (I only needed 8, there was 1 extra). *I wouldn’t have gotten 2″ wood if I were to do this over, it was a little hard to handle. I would recommend 1-1.5″ instead.
Try to make sure the boards you buy are as straight/flat as possible, you’d be surprised how crooked some of these boards can be that you get from the store. The total cost for my wood was $22.79. I already had lots of wood glue, but if you don’t, buy a 8oz bottle of that, in my area that’s around $4.
Step 2: Cut and glue your wood
I shared above the sizes I cut the boards into. I then glued 8 boards together, long edges together. Just a strip of wood glue between each board. Ideally you clamp these together laying flat with long wood clamps. We had no such things, so we got creative to put that pressure on it, that’s all I have to say about that – ha! The wood glue needs to dry for 24 hours. You should have two sets of boards glued into squares like this:
Step 3: Draw and cut 2 circles
You will need to find the center point of both boards and then draw a circle on each square board the size you want your charcuterie board. There are probably better ways to do this, but I got a pencil, string and a push pin. I put the push pin in the center and then measured out and attached the string to the pencil at 14″, half of my 28″ desired result. I used that like a geometric compass to draw a circle on each board. Double check it turned out even and adjust as needed. You can see my circle drawn on the board above. Repeat on the second board. The two cut circles should be identical 28″ circles.
Then you need to draw a 26″ centered on the thicker of the two boards (for me the 2″ thick board, but again, I wouldn’t recommend that thick). You will cut out the 26″ circle to create a ring that will sit on top and be the edge or lip of the board. You can see what that looks like on the ground in the bottom right of the below photo. This part was challenging for us, as the 2″ wood was tough to tackle with the little handheld jigsaw. Our top circle ring is definitely not perfectly straight but I was ok with it. You will not need the 26″ circle you cut out for this project…we are turning ours into the top of an outdoor table.
Step 4: So much sanding and more gluing
We had a little hand sander already to make the sanding easier. I just used 80 grit sandpaper to sand both pieces and just did it until it was smooth to touch. Again, nothing official here, ha! I had some uneven boards on my bottom solid tray circle I’m sanding in the photo above because I didn’t get totally straight wood. Don’t be like me. Once done sanding, I wiped off the boards with a dry rag to get off extra sawdust.
Then, I glued the top circle ring onto the bottom sold circle board, matching the top and bottom wood vertical lines. Again, put pressure on it while it dries either with wood clamps or I just put a folded folding table and then heavy weight plates (like the ones I put on my barbell) on top to weigh it down. Have you gotten how I roll yet? Wait 24 hours for glue to dry again.
Step 5: Once dry, stain and seal the board.
I knew nothing about wood stain, but I knew I wanted to finish it with a stain instead of paint so the wood grain would show through. I literally went to Lowes and picked out one that looked good on the sample. I liked this Valspar Pinebark one because it was a darker wood, but there’s so many options. You won’t need a lot, just the $3.50 smallest sample (half pint) can was good enough for me.
Paint 1-2 thin coats of stain. I say thin because we did NOT follow that sage advice and accidentally put it on too thick. This ended up leading to more sanding to lighten it up. To seal, use a food-safe finish like this one, following the instructions on the can.
Step 6: Add handles
The Pier 1 board above had handles cut into the edge/lip of the board. I didn’t think I was capable of that, so I just screwed on two bronzed cabinet pulls from Lowes on each side. Those were $3 each. We did have to use other longer screws to put the handles on and drill holes for the screws first.
And voila! This imperfectly perfect board ended up beautiful and cost me around $40 – a THIRD of the cost and I find it so empowering to create.
Let me know if you have questions and I’d love to see your board if you make one!