How to Survive Your First Night in Minecraft

In the beginner’s guide, I briefly explained how to stay alive on the first night. I think everyone should experience the terror of sheltering in a dark burrow overnight, but let’s now see how to do things properly.

Assuming you start around daybreak, you have 10 minutes to gather all the resources you will need. Start by scouting out the area; you will need trees for wood, and you would really like to find some coal and some sheep. Keep an eye out for those.

Step 1: Punch a Tree

How to get wood 1

The first thing you’ll need is wood. Approach a tree, and punch it (by holding down the left mouse button) until a chunk of wood breaks off.

How to get wood 2

You will be rewarded with an achievement!

getting wood 3

Repeat until you have collected all the wood from the tree. You should have 4 or 5 blocks of wood.

Get Crafting

The next step is to craft some of the things you’ll need. The first thing to do is to convert the wood you just harvested into wooden planks.

Press ‘E’ to open your inventory screen.


Practise moving items around on your inventory screen. Left-click with the mouse to pick up your whole stack of wood. Right-click on any square to place a single item, or left-click to drop the whole stack. For more on the controls and interface, see here.

Pick up the wood and place it in the crafting area on your inventory screen.

Crafting planks

Convert a few blocks of wood to Wooden Planks.

Make a Crafting Table

Now use 4 Wooden Planks to create a Crafting Table:

craft a Crafting Table

Place the Crafting Table in your Toolbar, and press ‘E’ to close your inventory. Select the Crafting Table by pressing keys 1–9 (or use a scroll wheel) and right-click to place it on the floor.

Placed Crafting Table

Right click on the table, and you’ll see another screen with your inventory and a crafting area; this time the crafting area is a 3x3 square.

Crafting Table Interface

Make Your First Tool

Place two planks on the Crafting Table, one above the other, to make some sticks:

Make Sticks

Next, use sticks and planks to make a Wooden Pickaxe:

Wooden Pickaxe

This is your first tool; you can use it to dig, chop down trees or kill things. You could make other wooden tools (egg. an axe, shovel or sword) at this point, but there’s not much point since you want to move on to stone tools and better as soon as possible.

Chop down another tree, this time using your pickaxe.

You can break down your crafting table to bring it with you, by whacking it with your pickaxe. Or you can build a new one when you need it.

Scouting a location

Quickly find a nearby place to build your first home. You could build a house, but it will be quicker to dig an underground home. Like a hobbit hole. An ideal spot would be the side of a hill or cliff face.

Tip: Don’t wander too far from the site where you first spawned; if you die you will be returned to that location, and you will want to be able to find your house again!

Take a minute or two to find a nice place; whilst you’re on the way, look out for the following:

  • Coal veins: coal is a black mineral that you might see exposed on a rock face. Use your pick-axe to mine it.
  • Sand: if you dig up a few blocks of sand you will be able to make glass windows.
  • Sheep: if you see three or more sheep, it might be worth killing them to get the 3 blocks of Wool you need to make a bed.
  • Wood: make sure you have several pieces of wood that you have not converted into planks.

Build a home

With your pickaxe, start digging a new home, The doorway should be 2 blocks high and 1 block wide, opening up into a larger space inside.

Making a start on home

Don’t do too much at first: as soon as you have a bit of space inside, you will want to do some more crafting.

Place a Crafting Table inside your new home.

Make Torches

You will want to make some torches to light up your home. Did you find some coal? If so that’s lucky. Make torches with coal and sticks!

make some torches

(You can do this either on a Crafting Table or in your Inventory)

If you didn’t find coal, you will need to make Charcoal. Whilst digging, did you find at least 8 blocks of Cobblestone? If not, dig some more stone until you have enough.

Go to your crafting table, and make a furnace:


Place the furnace somewhere convenient. Now right-click on it and you will see this interface:


Place 3 blocks of Wood in the top section (“Ingredients”) and 2 Wooden Planks below (in the “Fuel” slot).

Making charcoal

You will see flames, and the Wood will be turned into Charcoal. Use the Charcoal to make torches, exactly as described above.

Light Up Your Room

Holding your torches, right-click to place them on your floor or wall. Make sure your home is well-lit at all times - no corner should be more than 6 blocks from a torch.

Shut That Door!

The last thing to accomplish is building a door to keep monsters out. You should still have 6 wooden planks. Lay them out on your crafting table like so:

Crafting a door

Place the door by right clicking on the floor in the doorway and your house is now a safe refuge! You will survive the night, and you have light by which to get started on some home improvements.

home sweet home

Home Improvements

You might want to use any remaining daylight to collect more wood, coal, or any other nearby resources.

When it’s dark, you can see about expanding your new home, squaring things off and maybe building some new rooms.

Upgrade Your Tools

You will probably want to use your Crafting Table to make better tools using Cobblestone instead of Wood Planks.

Make Windows

You might want windows to see the outside world in the morning.

Did you find some sand? You might want to make a window. Use your furnace to make sand into glass; you can read more about furnaces and efficient use of fuel first if you like.

You can use a glass block as a window, or make proper window-panes:

glass panes

If you don’t have any glass, a single block hole can still be used as a window. It’s too small for monsters to get through, but a skeleton might shoot arrows through if you are unlucky.

Tip: Make sure you light your home well by placing plenty of torches, otherwise monsters may appear! A good rule of thumb is that no square of your floor should be more than 6 blocks away from a torch. More on lighting.

Did you kill some sheep? If so, you might want to make a bed and sleep through the night.


You will probably want some storage chests to put your stuff in as you collect more:


Two chests placed side by side create a larger, double chest.

What to do Next

Is it still dark? Maybe it’s time to get started on some mining.

Or if it’s daylight, perhaps go exploring or foraging outdoors. You will soon want to see about getting some food.

You will also want more wood (quicker to get now with your new axe!), maybe some leather for armour, and more.

But make a sword before you go!