How to Make a Wooden Fishing Lure (DIY Guide)

Thomas Krik

Written by

Thomas Krik

Marc Lowe


Marc Lowe

how to make a wooden fishing lure

If you’ve ever yearned for the challenge of creating your custom fishing gear or an angler looking for a unique edge, you have come to the right place!

Learning how to make a wooden fishing lure not only uncovers a satisfying new hobby. It also promises a personalized technique to attract your best catch.

Today, we will craft a fishing lure out of wood material. From selecting the perfect type of wood to carving out the desired shape, join us on this satisfying experience of lure-making.

Let’s dive in!

Step-by-step Guide to Make a Wooden Fishing Lure at Home

Handcrafted fishing lures are cost-effective and cheap alternatives to flashy store-bought plastic baits. They can also save you a great deal of money while being eco-friendly.

As such, why not create your DIY fishing lures? It might seem challenging at first. However, you can carve a compelling wooden bait with these simplified steps.

Step 1: Prepare supplies and tools


Before starting the process, you will need a complete making fishing lure kit or construction materials. These include:

  • A wood block (0.5-inch thick, 4-inch wide, and 8-inch long)

Depending on the lure type you plan to do, you may use balsa, cedar, or pine wood. Any will do, but we recommend lightweight, soft wood for easy cutting and shaping.

  • Treble or double hooks
  • Acrylic paint
  • Screw-in eyelets
  • Sealers
  • Sharp pocket/carving knife
  • Band or scroll saw (optional)
  • Pencil
  • Fine and coarse sandpaper
  • Small brushes
  • A drill with small bits

You can source these wooden lure-making supplies and tools from local hardware stores. Alternatively, some online shops like Amazon offer all-inclusive DIY fishing lure kits.

Step 2: Find bait patterns


For this step, you should prepare some bait patterns. As designing one yourself would take time, especially for beginners, you should research and download lure templates online.

Some resources even show helpful guidelines for shaping your lure or the correct place to install the hooks. These vary depending on the type of lure you wish to mimic.

Step 3: Sketching the lure design


There are two options to shape a lure pattern on wood:

  • If you dislike drawing, you can cut the model and attach it to the side of the wood.
  • Alternatively, you can draw or trace fishing lure patterns directly on the carving material using a pencil.

Step 4: Shaping the wood


Now, you should be ready to cut the wood according to the pattern to form a general shape. Again, you have two options here:

  • Utilizing a specialized band or scroll saw can quickly finish your job. You just need to run the blade along the outline.

When using a saw, be sure to put on your mask, glasses, and earplugs beforehand.

  • A pocket or carving knife can be a great substitute if you don’t have a saw. Cut the piece of wood according to the outline, while keeping the blade away from your body.

Don’t forget to wear carving gloves or thumb guards to safeguard your hands.

In either case, remember to make the bait ⅛-inch larger than the desired end product. This size gap will leave you with a little wiggle room for correcting errors.

Step 5: Perfecting the wood shape


Although a band/scroll saw is great for cutting irregular shapes, a knife would be better for cutting narrow grooves and curves.

  • Use the knife to continue whittling the excess wood to form the lure’s details.
  • Add patterns and customized designs to the wood. For example, you can carve fins and scales or add artistry to your design.

Step 6: Drill holes for the hooks


To do the sanding at once, it is best to drill the holes first. As a general rule, mark the areas where you want to drill the holes for hooks, eyelets, and leads. We suggest using a micro drill for working on a thin and fine piece of wood.

You may want these tips when drilling holes:

  • Refer to your lure template when marking for pilot hooks.
  • Add additional hooks if you intend to use weights or sinkers.
  • For longer lures, make another hole ⅓ from the back end. Average hooks have only two pilot holes, each on the back and front.

Watching this Screw Eye Tutorial might help make this step easier.

Step 7: Refine the lure with sandpaper


Sanding is an essential step to ensure a smooth end product. It also prepares your lure for painting while removing extra wood from the initial fishing lure outline or design.

  • To do it, carefully run an 80-grit sandpaper around the lure, focusing on rough edges. Ideally, all surfaces should be smooth, and the shape should be near perfect.
  • Once done, polish any rough surfaces or imperfections with 120-grit sandpaper. You can sand uneven areas repeatedly until smooth and consistent as you want.
  • If you prefer a smoother finish, sand the lure again with 180-grit sandpaper.

Step 8: Apply some artistry by painting


Now, it is time to get creative and add some colors to your handmade lure. Vibrant colors that mimic the appearance of prey species attract the fish’s attention.

  • A quick and easy way to seal your wooden bait is to dip it in the sealer and then hang it to dry.

Otherwise, you can apply it by hand using a brush.

  • Paint the bait using enamel pain Once this layer dries, you can start painting and adding details to make your lure look realistic.
  • A final clear topcoat will waterproof your artwork and add a slick, professional look to your wooden trap.

Here’s a quick video for Easy Lure Pattern (Painting The Wood Shad) – Baker Builds.

Step 9: Adding hooks and hardware


Are you excited to see your fishing lure made out of wood? The last step is to attach hooks to make it functional.

Since you already prepared the holes a while back, all you have to do is to screw and secure the hooks in place. You can use either treble or double hooks, whichever suits your preference.

Also, the installment of split rings and swivels can enhance the flexibility and appeal of your lure. You can join the screw eyes by threading split rings onto the rear and bottom screw eyes.


Learning how to make a wooden fishing lure is a rewarding experience for any passionate angler. Besides adding a personalized touch to your fishing gear, your heart swells with pride as you watch the lure gracefully leap into the lake.

By following this guide, you will be well on your way to perfecting your skills in designing, cutting, and shaping attractive wooden lures. As part of the process, keep refining and adjusting your design.

Every mistake is an opportunity to learn and master DIY wooden lures!

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