If you’ve never used a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes before this is going to be an eye opening experience. Learning how to use a kreg jig sounds hard but trust me… they’re super easy to execute and the finished product looks amazing.
There are plenty of different Kreg Jig models (I want one of the big ones with the built in clamps!) but for this beginner level tutorial we’re using a basic, entry level Kreg Jig. It’s easy to use, tiny (so it’s easy to store) and still makes beautiful pocket holes so that your projects are super professional.
So what is a Kreg Jig? It’s a tool that guides your power drill so that you can make pocket holes the quick and easy way. Pocket holes on the other hand are an easy way to join two pieces of wood together.
How to use a Kreg Jig to Make Pocket Holes
Pocket holes are seamless (you won’t see the joint on the front of the board or the side) and super strong… once you learn how to make these little pocket holes you’ll see an endless realm of possibilities.
I mean… just think of all the things you can make!
But for today we’re just covering the basics: how to use a kreg jig. While there are plenty of beginner level projects out there today we’re going to take two simple 2×4’s and learn the process.
Then we’ll move on to making all. the. things!
- 2 2×4’s (Any boards 1/2″ or wider will work but 2×4’s were used for this demonstration)
- 2.5″ Long Pocket Hole Screws
- Power Drill
- Kreg Jig Pocket Hole Guide
- WORX Work Table
Step 1: Measure the Depth of your Wood
Alright y’all, let’s get started with the basics. The Kreg Jig has different settings so that we can use it with different wood pieces. So before we set up our Kreg Jig we need to know what width to set it for.
Our little 2×4’s are actually about 1.5 inches wide but if we weren’t sure how wide they were (and didn’t have a ruler handy) your kreg jig kit comes with this handy little allen wrench that also serves as a measuring guide.
So go ahead and measure your board before we get started. If you’re using a 2×4 you’re good to go but honestly it’s a good habit to get into… I’m always ruining the first piece of any project by forgetting to readjust my settings for a new project!
Step 2: Set Your Kreg Jig
Now that we know our board width it’s time to set up our little Kreg Jig! Don’t worry y’all this is super simple.
The front of our Kreg Jig is marked with three different measurements: 1/2, 3/4 and 1 1/2. The back of your Kreg Jig has these little gray feet. SO, in order to set your Kreg Jig to the correct measurement you’ll want to move those little gray feet to the corresponding number on the front.
We’re looking for the 1 1/2 measurement so I slid the little gray feet all the way to the bottom. This will line them up with the hexagon directly above the 1 1/2 marking on the front.
Step 3: Clamp your Wood and Kreg Jig Together
Ready for the next step? Now that we’ve set our Kreg Jig it’s time to clamp it to our 2×4. Go ahead and clamp your 2×4 to your work table (I use this little portable worx table since I don’t have an actual work room. This is my living room y’all!).
Once your piece of wood is in place go ahead and put your Kreg Jig right on top of it. You’ll want to put it in the center of your 2×4 (so that the pocket holes are centered on your piece of wood). Then simply pull it flush against the end of your 2×4 so that those little gray feet are tight against the end.
See those little gray feet came in handy after all!
Now that everything is lined up perfectly go ahead and clamp it down! Make sure it’s nice and tight so that when you drill those pocket holes the Kreg Jig doesn’t slide around on ya.
Step 3: Set Your Drill Bit
We have one last setting before we can move on to actually drilling these pocket holes… setting our drill bit.
The drill bit included in your Kreg Jig kit is a little different from your standard drill bit. It has a smaller tip so that it can easily drill a pilot hole as it’s drilling… and it comes with an adjustable stop collar.
The metal circle about 1/3 of the way up the drill bit? That’s the stop collar! It is just what it sounds like… when you drill into your board you’ll drill into the stop collar hits the kreg jig… it literally tells you when to stop drilling.
Just use your little allen wrench (the same one we used to measure the width of our board) to loosen the stop collar and move it up and down the drill bit. The drill bit itself has 3 different measurements on it (1/2, 3/4 and 1 1/2… the same measurements on our Kreg Jig) and the stop collar has a little round window on it.
So it’s simple… move the stop collar until the measurement you need (1 1/2) is visible in the little round window! Then tighten the stop collar and you’re ready to go.
Just put the drill bit into your power drill the same way you would any other drill bit.
Step 4: Drill your Pocket Holes
Now you’re ready to drill your pocket holes! Although this post should really be called how to setup your kreg jig since the “how to use a kreg jig to make pocket holes” is fairly straight forward.
Simply line your drill bit up with the guide holes in your kreg jig and drill allllll the way down the barrel until you hit the stop collar.
Just look at those beautiful pocket holes!
Step 5: Use Pocket Hole Screws to Attach your Boards Together
Ready to put your boards together? Technically you can arrange your boards in a bunch of different ways but in this case I was building a frame… so I set my boards up at a ninety degree angle.
Then simply change your drill bit out for the screw driver in your Kreg Jig kit… it’s a loooooong screw driver so that it can drive your pocket hole screws all the way into your new pocket holes. I mean pocket holes by nature are pretty deep… they have to be hidden after all.
Then screw your pocket hole screws into the boards until the screws pull both boards together at the seams.
Typically I screw in the outside screw first, then the inside screw… then go back and give the outside pocket hole screw one last turn with the power drill. The first screw never gets tightened 100% the first time (since the other end of the board isn’t tight yet) so giving the first pocket hole screw that extra little twist makes a big difference.
If you’re working on a joint on a smaller board with only one pocket hole then you’re good to go!
Step 6: Finish your PROJECT
Now that your pocket holes are drilled you can move on to completing the rest of your project! Just take a look at those pretty pocket holes in the picture up above… you can’t even see how the boards are attached from the front.
BUT the joints are super strong… I wouldn’t be able to break these frames apart even if I wanted to!
Once you learn the power of the pocket hole you’ll want to start building all the projects you can think of. Benches, lawn chairs, boxes, planters… the possibilities are endless.
Looking for an easy beginner level project? These fun custom picture frames are inexpensive and easy to make… with your new kreg jig pocket holes!
Follow the instructions to make your very own 2×4 Picture Frames HERE.