Making craft projects from old barn wood is satisfying for so many reasons---you exercise sound recycling principles, you reduce the amount of material going into dumps and landfills and you end the day with charming and unique objects. Use old barn wood for any project that you would normally use wood for, and capture its warm glow with oil finishes or use the raw weathered charm of the wood for objects that need a natural, rustic look.
Leave the wood untreated to fit into a natural, rustic backyard environment or paint the wood in a cheery color to fit into the colors in your yard, deck or patio. A simple diamond-shaped birdhouse is easy to make from six pieces of wood---four square pieces for outside walls and two additional pieces for the front and back. Cut a hole in the front panel as the entrance and attach hooks at the top for hanging. Nail the pieces together so that the birdhouse hangs from the top in a diamond shape. Find patterns for other birdhouse shapes, such an A-frames and simple rectangles, in library books or online.
Rustic and simple picture frames will come together quickly using just a saw, a square and a hammer and nails; simply attach flat pieces of wood together with some block pieces nailed to the back corners for support. For a more finished product, use a miter box. As with any barn wood craft, you have a choice to sand the wood or not and to finish with a wood stain, paint or no finishing at all to leave the frame in a weathered, aged condition.
Depending on the look that you are interested in, sand and stain the wood or leave it in its raw state. A planter box is made from four pieces of wood for the sides and a square or rectangular piece for the bottom. Place 2-by-2 pieces of wood on the inside corners for additional support. To keep the planter from rotting, place flower pots inside the box instead of filling the box with dirt.
Enhance the weathered quality of the sign by keeping a single piece of wood in its rough state or sand the surface and apply an oil finish or paint. Use a wood-burning tool or simply paint on whatever message you would like, using a casual style of printing. Drill holes at either end of the wood and attach a piece of leather, string or gingham ribbon for hanging. Your sign might simply say "Welcome" and hang on a fence post near your front door. Or, it may have the names of a newly married couple with the date underneath and hang at the entrance of a country wedding site, to be given to the couple after the ceremony as a memento of the day.