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Minecraft Starter Guide and Extra Survival Tips [Walkthrough]

MinecraftLogoWelcome to the DIYGamer Minecraft Beginner’s Guide! Minecraft is a huge and most wonderful game, but starting off can be a little overwhelming if you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing.

This guide will talk you through a good way to begin your Minecraft adventure, and survive your first day/night. We’ll talk about gathering resources, crafting tools, creating your first shelter and exploring the depths of your world.

Note that there are plenty of different ways to get going, and the below method is just one method of starting your life. Once you’ve tried our way, feel free to start a new world and try doing things a little differently.

Without further ado, let’s crack on with our first day and night of Minecraft!


After your world spawns, take a quick look around and get your bearings. Search in the distance but mountain areas in particular – that’s where we’ll be headed soon.


The first thing you’ll need is wood, and plenty of it. Walk up to the nearest tree and simply hold down the mouse button to cut it down with your hands. Grab the wood that falls from the tree, and keep cutting down trees until you have collected around 25 blocks of the stuff.


Now let’s find a decent place to set up out first shelter. The main block types you’ll need to begin with are stone and, more importantly, coal. Head towards the nearest mountain range and look for black lines on the rocks.


As you can see in the above screenshot, there are black cracks in the middle of this mountain – those are coal pieces. Building your shelter near some coal is a good idea, so I’m going to set up camp here.


Now that I’ve chosen where to stay, it’s time to get some crafting done. Pressing the I key will make the inventory menu pop up, along with your crafting tools. Items at the very bottom are those which are active and you can use in the world by pressing keys 1-9. The 3×9 grid above that is your inventory, and you can store anything you find here.

Just above that is your armour (which you don’t have any of at the moment) and your crafting tools. Placing blocks and items into here lets you create other blocks and items. The first thing we need is some planks of wood for building other items.


Place all your wood into one space in the crafting section (as shown above), and you’ll see planks appear on the right. Keep clicking on the planks until you have built 64, then place them in your inventory below. Do this over and over until all your wood has been used to make planks.

Now that we’ve done this, we can do some real crafting. The crafting section in your inventory is very limited, in that it is only a 2×2 space. We can create much better items if we build a crafting bench.


Put at least 1 panel into each of the 4 spaces, and you’ll see the crafting bench appear on the right. Click it, and place it in your active items at the bottom.


Now that we’ve got our bench, let’s find a good space to put it into. Choose where you want your shelter to be – the side of a rock face is usually a good place – and start digging. It will take a little while to dig rocks with your hands, but don’t worry – you only need to dig out a little space for now, then we’ll craft tools to speed up the process.


Now that we’ve got our small space, place down the crafting bench by selecting it and right-clicking. Finally we can do some proper crafting!


Right click the crafting bench, and you’ll open up a crafting menu that contains a 3×3 grid for crafting. Now the magic can happen.


First off, we need some sticks. Whenever you craft an item, it usually works by roughly creating that shape with your inventory blocks. For example, for creating sticks, we put two planks one on top of the other. It doesn’t matter when you put them in the crafting square, as long as it is in that shape.

Sticks will appear on the right. Grab a good number of them – say, around 50. Now that we have sticks, we can produce some mining tools.


Let’s make a pickaxe! Place stick in the middle and middle-bottom slot, and planks in all the top slots (as shown above). As you can see, we’ve created the shape of a pickaxe, and in return a pickaxe appears on the right. Create a couple of them for now, and place them in your active items.


You may also want to create an axe for chopping down trees more quickly – this can be done by using the formation of sticks and planks shown above. This isn’t essential at the moment though, as we have more than enough wood to be dealing with.


It’s time to do some real mining! Select your pickaxe and start hacking out a decent-sized cave for hiding in later when night-time comes. Note the green bar under your pickaxe – that shows the condition of your tool, and when it reaches red, it will break and you’ll lose the tool. By the time you’ve dug out a good cave, your tools will probably be broken. Time to make some new, more sturdy ones.


Go back to your crafting bench, and create a pickaxe again, but this time use the stone you’ve collected instead of planks. Now we have a good, stone pickaxe to use which will last far longer.


With our cave dug out, let’s get cracking with that coal. Find where your coal is on the mountain side, then climb up to it. If you need to, dig a way up with your trusty pickaxe.


Starting mining the coal. I got pretty lucky here and found plenty of coal, but even just a small amount is good enough for now. Coal is essential for keeping the baddies away and allowing your to explore deep underground, as we’ll find out soon.


By now it should be getting a little dark, so we need to hurry. Head back to your crafting bench, and open up the crafting menu. Place coal on top of sticks (as above), and create around 50 torches. Place these in your active inventory.


Select your torches, and place a couple on the walls of your cave by right-clicking against the walls. Your cave should now be lit up pretty well. Of course, we still have a big, gaping opening to the outside world, and night-time is descending! Time to enclose ourselves in.


I’ve decided to make a wall out of stone, but you can choose to build it out of any material you’ve picked up. Simply put them in your active inventory, select the block type you want, then right-click anywhere to place. Build your wall so that there are no gaps except for a suspiciously door-shaped 1×2 space. Can you guess what’s going to happen here?


That’s right, we’re making a door! Place plank blocks in a 2×3 formation on your crafting bench (as shown above) and then drag the door into your active inventory.


Placing the door can be a little tricky. Select the door, then walk up to your opening, and look at the floor. Check the above screenshot for whereabouts you should be aiming. Now right-click.


Voila! A door! Doors are very useful, as they stop monsters getting in, but also allow you through. Simply click on a door to open or close it.

Now that we’re safe, it’s time to prepare for some digging action. Let’s first create somewhere to store everything we find. Go to the crafting bench.


Make a square of planks (as shown above), and you’ll create a wooden chest for keeping your prizes possessions in. Place the chest down anywhere you want, as you did with the crafting bench, then right-click on it. You’ll now see plenty of space for putting items, just in case you run out of space in your personal inventory.


While we’re at it, we might as well create a furnace too. Furnaces are used for melting certain blocks down and creating more useful items – e.g. melting iron ore will make iron, while melting sand will create glass, just in case you want to add some windows to your place!

Create a square of stone (as shown above) then grab the furnace and place it anywhere. Right-click on the furnace.


In the furnace menu, you’ll see two spaces separated by an empty fire symbol. Place coal in the bottom space, then whatever you’d like heated up in the top space. Not everything can be used, so experiment with different blocks and items to see what happens.


One final thing before we go exploring – we may meet nasty things down there, so let’s kit ourselves out with a means of attack! Go to the crafting bench and put a stick under two stone blocks, as shown above. We now have a sword for cutting down evil creatures with.


Make yourself a few more stone pickaxes, and then let’s start digging! Remember to put torches up on the walls as you dig, so that you can see where you’re going and to stop evil things appearing. The majority of cool things to find are deep below the surface, so digging across and down is a good idea. NEVER dig straight down – you really don’t want to fall and kill yourself in an underground cavern!


You can see above that I’ve created a stairway, but I need to jump up each step. Let’s fix that. Go to your crafting bench again.


Create step with stone, as shown in the above screenshot. Grab a good number of steps and put them in your active inventory. Now talk to where your stairs are, select your stone steps and place them down with right-click. They may initially appear facing the wrong way, but simply keep putting them down in the correct places and hopefully they will rotate to face the right way.


And there we have it – stairs we can walk up easily! Continue to dig, creating your own rooms and finding more interesting materials and underground surprises. Eventually you’ll either run out of space in your inventory, or all your pickaxes will break, so let’s head back to the crafting bench.


Look at that – we were so busy digging, it turned day-time and we didn’t even realise! Let’s go outside and explore.


If you’re exploring and you want to find your way back home, simply put torches down on the ground along your path. That way, you’ll be able to follow them back – think of it as a sort of breadcrumb trail. Eventually you may find some very interesting areas to explore.


There are already lots of secret, underground passages all over your Minecraft world, and exploring them is a lot of fun. Make sure you take plenty of planks, pickaxes and torches with you on any adventure.


Now and again you’ll encounter baddies in daylight. Just let them walk out into the sun, and they slowly burn to death. You’ll then be able to grab whatever special items they were guarding!


Look out for iron ore on your travels – it looks like beige cracks all over rock. Iron ore can be put into the furnace to create iron, which can then in turn be used to create armour, helmets and shields to protect yourself.


Dig deep enough, and you may even find underground rivers and lava. They are plenty of cool things to find in these areas, so have a good hunt around. Just make sure to take care when you’re near lava, and don’t hit the blocks around it, otherwise it may just spread and touch you…


At which point, you’ll most likely set on fire and die. Dying in Minecraft is a bit of a pain – you’ll be taken all the way back to wherever you first spawned from, and have lost all your items. You can in fact walk back to where you died and simply pick all your fallen items up, but usually it will be far too long a trek to be bothering with.

And so ends our first hour with Minecraft. Hopefully this has inspired you to create your own path and go on a seriously epic quest. Here’s some ideas for what to do next:

Download a texture pack for the game, making the world look different

Read Geoff’s Minecraft Diaries. “The Minecraft Diaries” are an editorial series based on living in the Minecraft world. It is not a walkthrough, per say, it is merely one man’s adventures through this great universe.

Build an amazing house out of wood, then accidently burn it to the ground

Let us know what other tips you have for surviving in the Minecraft world in the comments!

[June 23rd, 2011 UPDATE: This is an older guide guys. Not everything is included in it. We are waiting until the 1.7 Adventure Update comes out before rewriting it. Until that time, please be sure to check out the official Minecraft Wiki for newer Minecraft recipes. Apologies for any inconvenience.]


  • Glen

    Nice guide! One problem, though: The “axe” instructions you gave are actually a hoe for tilling soil. An axe has three wood/stone/metal, like this:

    • Mike Rose

      Cheers Glen, you’re absolutely right – not sure how I managed that! With my magical powers the picture should now be right :)

  • midashand

    Placing the door from the inside (as shown in the screenshot) will allow monsters to attack you through the door. You should place the door in the doorway from the outside. This will allow you to stand up against it and attack things outside, but will prevent you from getting attacked,

    • Guest

      This is true, placing door from the inside is BAD.. update guide :p rest is good

      • random

        very very true watch on utube cod4nub s lets play for minecraft

  • mike

    when i try tomake a pickaxe i wont work and alsoi have somethign that looks like coal but has the top faceing/ bending other way what is this? (cant find coal any were)

    • scott

      its flint

  • SEO BlackHat

    Nice read man. Thank you

  • Anonoymus

    Hey guys I have found a thing that looks like coal but is cream coloured.
    It looks kinda like an eggg can u identify it for me please?

    • Geoff Gibson

      A picture would help, but right off the top of my memory I believe that it is iron. You should be able to take that, put it in a furnace and smelt it into an iron bar.

    • brokenxnote

      If you mean a lump that looks like an egg that you found outside, it actually is an egg. Chickens drop them sometimes.

  • Zenn

    man this game is getting sooo popular these days.

  • mattb

    nice guide man . just started playing and am loving it .

  • darkness12375

    hey guys this is my first post and i htough that a hole in the groung is a bit BORING!!!!!
    so anywho my start up is
    1.32 wood
    2.pick,shovel and 30 cobble
    3.cobble tools much coal as possible
    5,148 wood
    6.100 cobble (into smoothstone)
    7.25 sand(into glass)
    8.make an 8-7-5 house with no roof
    9.make a “pointy roof”
    10.make roof into an attic
    11.make door ,16 chests,30 ,furnaces,and a bed

    pritty much my standerd procedure in a new world cos it serves as a base and a fort and a shelter



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