Minecraft: 20 Essential Things Everyone Should Build First (2023)

Minecraft is one of the most beloved games of all time. During the game's initial beta, it blew away players with the level of creative freedom it gave them. Since then, the game has managed to maintain its insane popularity, as its player base still continues to grow.

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However, Minecraft's seemingly endless amount of content can be overwhelming for new players. And they can find themselves wondering what to build first? Here is a collection of the most vital things that a Minecrafter should focus on making.

Updated September 29, 2022 by Ben Jessey: Minecraft is a game that feels like it has been around forever. Yet, it remains as popular as it has always been. As such, new players are regularly joining in on the fun.

But there are so many items, materials, and mobs in the game that it can all be overwhelming when you first start. So, to give you a bit of a road map to follow, we made this list of the things you must build first. We've now updated the piece to include a few more.


21/21 Crafting Table

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The easiest but most important thing to make in Minecraft is the crafting table. With it, you get an abundance of more crafting options. In fact, there is not a lot that you can make without one. Therefore, building a crafting table should be one of the first things you do in Minecraft.

Punch a tree to get four logs, and turn those logs into planks by putting them into your crafting grid, or select planks in the crafting menu (depending on which system and version of the game you're playing). After that, fill your crafting grid with the planks to build a crafting table (or find the crafting table in the menu).

20/21 Shelter

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Once you get more resources and tools, you can make a beautiful place to live. For the first night though, you just need to make a shelter that keeps out the enemies who spawn in the dark.

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If you make this your first objective after you start a new game, then you should have time to collect wood or dirt and build a basic hut that stops anything from getting in. Those who spent their first day exploring might not have the time for that. If that's the case, digging a few blocks into the ground, jumping in, and placing a few blocks above your head might be necessary to protect you from dangerous mobs.

19/21 Wooden Pickaxe

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The pickaxe is the most vital tool in Minecraft. Without it, you won't be able to mine most of the crafting materials in the game. So one of the first things you must build when starting a new world is a wooden pickaxe.

It takes three planks and two sticks (which can be made using planks) to make the wooden version of the tool. To make one without the crafting menu, place a horizontal line of planks at the top of the grid in the crafting table and put the two sticks in a vertical line underneath the middle plank.

18/21 Wooden Axe

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If you're using a lot of wood to build your home or any other structures, then it's smart to invest in a wooden axe. At first, you may be skeptical, as there's no issue with using your hand to punch down trees. But the process is much more efficient with an axe, and in the long run, you'll save plenty of time.

There's no need for a more powerful axe, though, so don't waste iron or diamond when making one. Just place three wooden planks in the left corner of the crafting grid, and place a stick in each of the squares underneath to make your wooden axe. If you have plenty of excess cobblestones, you can use that instead of the planks to make a stone one.

17/21 Torches

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When deep down in one of Minecraft's many cave systems, torches are as essential as a pickaxe. Not only do they light up the dark caves so you can see what materials and monsters are around, but they show you where you've been. It's easy to get lost underground, so placing torches lets you avoid searching the same place twice. They are also useful in lighting up your house, or any place you don't want monsters to spawn.

All you need to make torches is sticks and coal or charcoal. The former can be found through mining, whereas the latter is made by putting wood into a furnace. To craft them, just place the coal or charcoal in the middle of the crafting grid, and place the stick underneath.

16/21 Bed

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In the first few days of a new Minecraft world, you should be focusing on building up your house or base of operations. That can be difficult at night due to the lack of visibility and the fact that enemy mobs are walking around ready to attack you. Sleeping in a bed automatically takes you to the next day, enabling you to skip the night completely. Also, it allows you to set your spawn for when you die.

To make one, you need to gather three pieces of wool from sheep (whether by hunting or using shears on them), and three planks of wood. For players who don't have the use of a crafting menu, the recipe to make the bed is three pieces of wool in a horizontal line with a parallel line of planks underneath them.

15/21 A Safe Mine

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Early on, in your Minecraft adventure, you probably don't want to stray too far from your spawn as you don't have the equipment needed to survive every encounter. Therefore, it's a smart idea to build a mine close to your home - perhaps even inside it. This way, you have quick access to a place where you can gather resources.

Plus, if you light that place up with torches and don't accidentally dig into a cavern, it should be a pretty safe space to work where you're not bothered by many mobs. To make such a thing, all you need to do is dig into the ground.

14/21 An Easy Way To Spot Your House

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Before you go off into the world to explore, it is smart to build something to indicate where your house is. Maps can help, but if you don't already have one, then you'll need resources to put one together.

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So early in the game, the easiest way to indicate where you live is to simply build a huge, well-lit tower by your house. You should be able to spot it from a distance. Later on, you might create a compass or even build an actual beacon to find your home, but a simple tower is useful at the start.

13/21 Stone Sword

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There are plenty of monsters in Minecraft who will attack you on sight. The best way to deal with them is by using a sword. Like pickaxes, swords can be made using many different materials, from weaker wooden swords to strong diamond blades.

The stone sword is the first one you should create. You could craft a weaker wooden one before that, but by the time you really need to use it, you'll probably already have the required ingredients. To make a stone sword you need two pieces of cobblestone and a stick. When using the crafting grid, put the stones in a vertical line in the middle and place the stick underneath them.

12/21 Furnace

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The main purpose of a furnace in Minecraft is to smelt ores and cook food. Only by smelting the likes of iron and gold ores will you be able to use them as a crafting material. Whereas most of the food you pick up can be cooked, which improves their effectiveness on your hunger meter when you eat them.

Crafting a furnace requires eight pieces of cobblestone. Placing them in a square shape around the edge of the crafting grid is how you build a furnace without the use of a crafting menu.

11/21 Chest

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Despite your personal inventory space in Minecraft being quite large, it fills up quickly when mining. You can throw things away to make space, but even basic cobblestone can come in handy later. So the best course of action is to create a chest and put all the things you might need at some point in it. Plus, if you keep valuables in the chest, it means you won't lose them when you die (unless the chest is blown up with you).

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The process for building a chest is identical to making a furnace (square shape around the edge of the grid), except instead of using eight cobblestone blocks, use eight wood planks.

10/21 Iron Pickaxe

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For most jobs in a mine, a wooden pickaxe will serve you well enough. But if you come across some rare or valuable resources, trying to mine them with wood is just a waste of time and, well, resources.

Iron itself needs at least a stone pickaxe. Once you have an iron one, you’ll be able to get diamonds, emeralds, gold, and redstone. Anything less, and they’ll disappear along with the source block once you’ve painstakingly cut through. An iron pickaxe is also invaluable for deep mining, as you can get more work done without having to carry ten wooden ones.

9/21 Iron Armor

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Once you've gathered a fair amount of iron and already used some of it to make a pickaxe, you can craft some armor with it. After all, the more you explore, the more enemies you're going to face. An extra bit of protection is always welcome.

You need plenty of ingots to craft a full suit. After all, there are four separate pieces, including a helmet, chest plate, pants, and boots. You don't have to create them all at once, though. If you want, you can slowly build up your set.

8/21 Shears

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Taking an axe or a sword to a sheep will give you one block of wool. But as the old adage (almost) says, “give a man a sword, and he has wool for a day; give a man a set of shears, and he has wool for life.”

With a set of iron shears, you can give a sheep a haircut and get 1-3 blocks of wool for the extra effort. This already potentially multiplies your yield. But the biggest bonus is that a set of shears properly wielded will not kill a sheep, and so long as they have an adequate food source in reach you can shear the same sheep again and again and again.

7/21 A Bucket

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One of the most devastating events in a game of Minecraft, no matter your level, is the sudden and unexpected appearance of lava. Unfortunately, it is also one of those games where lava creeps up on you like something much creepier than lava. Remove one wrong block underground, and you could be on fire.

The fastest route to not being on fire is being in water, and the easiest way to get to water when you’re mining is to carry a bucket. It takes fair bit of iron, but if you treat it like it’s made of solid gold and pick up your water source block after extinguishing yourself, your bucket can be a literal lifesaver. You can also use it to carry lava or milk.

6/21 Farm (Including Wooden Hoe)

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Farms in Minecraft are extremely useful as they give you an unlimited supply of food. Every time you harvest wheat (which can be used to make bread), you receive more seeds to plant. Yet, before you can plant anything, you need a hoe. To make a wooden version of the tool, you need two wood planks and two sticks. Place one plank in the top left corner of the grid and put the other in the space to its right, then put the sticks in a vertical line underneath the block in the middle of the grid.

Once you have the hoe, use it on dirt or grass blocks so you can plant seeds on them. However, to grow, they need to be near water. Therefore, you should put a small stream of water between each patch of wheat. Achieving this means either building the farm on top of the ocean or using a bucket if you have one.

5/21 A Base Near A Village

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For a game whose name implies that mining and crafting will be your primary tools, Minecraft villages have a surprisingly busy economy. If you can find one with all of the important buildings — eg. a blacksmith, a church, a farm, a stone-cutter’s, etc - then you’ll be laughing. Trade them whatever they’re looking to buy for things like emeralds and enchanted books.

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It’s a good idea to have at least a temporary base near your favorite villages; not only for ease but for the villagers’ safety. If you have to steal one of their beds overnight, you might wake up to find one less villager in the morning — possibly your favorite trading partner.

4/21 Compass

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As you explore more of the overworld, you will get further and further away from your initial spawn. So much so that any marker you left by your house will be out of sight, and you may be on a different map to your base. At this point, it's good to make a compass.

In Minecraft, they don't just show you where north is located. Instead, the compass points you in the direction of your spawn - which is likely your bed. So it's a useful piece of equipment. And all you need to do to craft it is put four iron ingots in your crafting grid in the shape of a diamond and place a piece of Redstone dust in the middle of them.

3/21 Roads (As You Go)

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If you’re just starting out in Minecraft, it can be easy enough to forget about your food meter. One jump too many on the run back home to your spawn point can be the difference between starvation and a good night’s time skip. Since the biomes aren’t exactly level, you can get around this problem by building roads as you go.

There’s no weight limit to your inventory, so if you can remember to bring along a shovel and some gravel or cobblestones, you can carve your way through those pesky mountains and ease the burden. It’ll also make finding your base in the dark considerably easier.

2/21 Iron Sword

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If you've done plenty of mining, you should eventually have an excess of iron. Therefore, you should invest in an iron sword. This blade is naturally much stronger than a stone or wooden one.

And it'll come in handy when you begin to explore more dangerous places like the Nether and The End. Building one is simple, as all you need is to place two iron ingots in a vertical line in the center of the grid before putting a stick below them.

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