I've recently started playing Minecraft, and I only have a little experience with enemies (I've been playing with the peaceful setting so I can figure out what the heck I'm doing). When I did play some survival mode, I happened to be at the top of a pretty large cliff when night hit, and this seemed to protect me - the baddies just piled up at the bottom of the cliff.

However, it seems like this probably only worked due to pathing flukes. The terrain behind me was pretty easy going, so I suspect if enemies spawned in the right areas, they could still come up and visit.

That said, how can I set up a quick protective shelter for the first night or two? The days don't seem to last very long, so I don't expect I would be able to generate a lot of high-end materials, tools, etc. to work with.

Also, the zombies caught fire nicely when the sun came up, but there were still some spiders and some other things (creepers? - they were explosive) that didn't go away at daybreak. Do I need multiple exits for my shelter or some other way to avoid running into all the enemies outside the front door that have accumulated overnight?

  • 1
    In broad daylight, spiders aren't aggressive. According to the minecraft wiki, they'll fight if you attack them first, but if you leave them alone you'll be fine. Just beware if you're still around them when the sun comes down. And yes, the other enemy you'd come across in daylight is the creeper. Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 23:15

12 Answers 12


If you're willing to carry a door on you, the quickest shelter you can throw up is to just dig a 1x2 hole into the side of any hill and throw down a door to seal it off.

If you don't have a door I suggest the following:

  ▓▓▓ ▓▓▓
    ▓▒▓   top down view 
    ▓▒▓▓  ▓ 2 rocks
    ▓▒•▓  ▒ 1 rock
    ▓▓▓▓  •   you

The key thing here is that by being off to the side you aren't in range of arrows, but you still maintain a path to light so you can see the sun up (you can also listen for music, but I often disable sound). You close off the entrance with single rocks so you leave a 1x1 path which zombies can't come down.

  • tzenes got a point, but if you can find some coal(stone with place objects in it) to make some torches with, and you have a place to hide from arrows you only need to seal off the entrance and not the entire hallway. but make sure to light the place with torches or monsters can spawn in your safe house.
    – Latency
    Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 18:27
  • 7
    Essentially he means that "2 rocks" is impassable, and "1 rock" has a rock on the floor but the top is hollowed out, allowing light but not physical passage, so the monsters can't get to you but the sunlight can come in once it's morning. Commented Oct 1, 2010 at 19:21
  • 2
    Remember with the door solution that skeletons can shoot through.
    – clweeks
    Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 14:53
  • 3
    @clweeks Doors allow shooting one way. If you place your door correctly (from the outside) you can shoot out, but skelly can't shoot in.
    – sjohnston
    Commented Nov 9, 2010 at 22:08
  • 2
    Consider updating your answer now that beds have been added. :)
    – badp
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 20:38

The big trick here is wooden blocks, and some coal for the lights. Each log block you get from a tree will give you 4 wooden blocks, which you can use to build a seperation and a door.

Now, here is a step-by-step tutorial, assuming a completely new spawn.

The First Day

  • Punch down a single tree, this'll give you usually 4-5 logs. (you'll need at least 4)
  • Find a place with some coal.
  • Turn all logs into wood.
  • Create a workbench
  • Turn 4 wood into sticks.
  • Make a wooden pickaxe.
  • Mine 3 cobblestone.
  • Create stone pickaxe, use that one from now on.
  • Mine at least 8 more cobblestone and all the coal.
  • Create a stone woodcutters axe.
  • Cut down at least 4-5 more trees.
  • Turn all logs into wood.
  • Create a door.

You should now have enough wood to create a safe shelter for the first night, with a nice door allowing you to look outside and see when the morning has started.

Ensure your hideout is at least 5x5 on the inside, to protect you against creepers when you stand in the center.

You are now ready to prepare yourself during the night for the second day.

The First Night

  • Stay in the center, or at the back wall this will ensure you that creepers won't be able to get close enough to explode.
  • Create a stone sword, and a box to store your stuff in.
  • Store your stuff in the box, only take the stone sword.

The Second Day

  • Wait until the zombies and skeletons have burned to death.
  • Run outside for about 10 blocks, leaving those mobs that stand near the front door behind you.
  • Secure your surroundings using the sword we made in the night. (use hit and run tactics when needed)
  • Stash your rewards when it is safe to do so.

Now, the only mob you need to be afraid of, is the creeper, which explodes when he is near you. If you hear the telltale creeper fuse sound, make distance between you and the creeper. Killing the creeper is the easiest when using hit-and-run tactics.

Just a note on the spider, while big and annoying and still dangerous, it is far less less dangerous compared to the creeper.

  • 3
    Consider updating your answer now that beds have been added. :)
    – badp
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 20:42
  • @badp: It was completely unnecessary to come back nearly six months later and update the answer, and it was definitely unnecessary to comment on every post.
    – DeadMG
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 23:35
  • 16
    @Dead So we should continue having outdated information for people visiting the question? I outright deleted my answer because it'd never work in 1.3 (climbing spiders, beds, etc.) Since we've closed a duplicate of this question today, it was an excellent time to politely poke answerers to bring the answers up to date.
    – badp
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 23:36
  • As a person who is just reading these over to see if there is enough creativity and a helpful community out there, just putting a +1 for keeping the answers up to date and reflective of the current game :)
    – James
    Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 23:56
  • 1
    This answer needs updating to take into consideration charcoal. I would never go looking for coal unless I was in a very special situation. Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 1:19

Honestly for my first night in a new game, just dig six blocks into dirt, and wall off the entrance.

I almost never stay in that first shelter, so it's really just to keep me alive until dawn, after that you keep hunting for a good starting place (near a cave, trees, etc.) then you build there. Heck even if I'm established in a world and I'm just exploring, i'll dig a dirt hole to hide in for the night (Though if I'm established I'll carry some glass so I can see out). Worst case scenario is that you get a creeper stuck outside, in which case you dig the other direction until you're back outside.

  • Consider updating your answer now that beds have been added. :)
    – badp
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 20:39

My instincts were similar to yours (run for a high place), but I was fortunate enough to come by a big overhang.

I narrowed the way to the overhang by digging dirt, then made the dirt into a wall for the night across the causeway left.

Over time I added a door and a bed, made the wall wood then stone, and made a column of rock beside the (now stronghold) with a ladder down as an alternative exit.

Eventually I added a big ole moat to the ground beneath, along with some torches, a field, and a mineshaft, and my castle grounds were complete.


The first thing I did once my first day of exploring was done was just dig with my hands for about 20 to 30 blocks of either dirt or sand, find a clearing either on top of a mountain or just a blank field, I used the jump place brick underneath me method until i really couldn't see the ground very well. After the sun starting rising I just dug my way back down to the base level and continued exploring. Kind of boring just sitting there but you do get to watch skeletons ride spiders while they hunt for you.

  • The only thing I would worry about with this strategy is having creepers spawn near the bottom of your pillar for you to deal with, come morning.
    – sjohnston
    Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 1:44
  • Yeah luckily I didn't.. but that would be a fun surprise.
    – stay
    Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 1:52
  • You don't have to go nearly that far up. Eight or ten is plenty. Also, creepers really aren't tough to deal with. You can outrun them easily or kill them (slowly) with a wood pick.
    – clweeks
    Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 15:22
  • 1
    Consider updating your answer now that beds have been added. :)
    – badp
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 20:47
  • 2
    Since this answer was posted spiders have gained the ability to climb your tower as well. Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 21:43

An important thing to keep in mind is that just because friendly mob can get in your shelter, it doesn't mean all mobs can do the same. Sheep, pigs and cows will only spawn where there is sufficient grass. Grass only grows where there is sufficient light. However, zombies, skeletons, spiders and creepers only spawn where there is low light. So given that you have grass in your corridor means you have too much light for the monster mobs to spawn. If you want to stop sheep spawning inside replace the soil with gravel, sand or cobblestone.

I'm not 100% clear on the rules for placing a bed, but I think you need an space 2 blocks by 3 blocks and 3 blocks high. So try digging out the room a little bit more and add some more light too - as you won't be able to use the bed if monster mobs can spawn. The Minecraft Wiki has more on beds:

Beds, unlike typical blocks, take up two blocks of space. Basic placement requires at least this much space away from the player's facing direction. Also, they expand outwards, so you need to place a bed with at least one block behind them.

So you need one block free (where you are standing) and two more empty ahead of you.

So make a house just dig out some dirt and rock. The dirt you can reuse as is and the rock turns into cobblestone.

Also place the door from the outside that way monsters can't attack you through it but you can attack them.

  • the bed is 1 x 2 blocks only, I don't now about the height for sure but I think it should be at least three block. Also take a look at this question concerning requirements for a safe nap, especially that wall thing
    – Zommuter
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 21:21
  • @Tobias - yes I read that too. I won't repeat it here as the main point was about the spawning sheep.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 21:24
  • sheep? I thought that question was about being awakened by a mob. But true, no need to repeat this here, that's why I linked to it
    – Zommuter
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 21:26
  • @Tobias - my answer got merged from here gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/17754/…
    – ChrisF
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 21:28
  • ah, that was what confused me...
    – Zommuter
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 21:46

Okay, I like that I'm seeing a lot of creative answers, but you guys are forgetting two of the most basic things! 1. Break a couple of trees and use the logs to make wood planks to make sticks. Create a crafting table and craft a wood pickaxe. Break enough stone to create a furnace, and create one. Smelt some wood for charcoal, and use any sticks you have left for some torches. Now, find a cave, block both the inside and the entrance and place the torches. You now have a safe place to stay that monsters can't spawn in or enter. Check every couple minutes to see if its morning. You could also smelt some sand to make glass to place so you can see outside to see if its morning and if any creepers want to pay you a visit. 2. If you don't have any caves nearby, dig a hole 3 blocks deep and seal off the top. Mobs can't spawn or get to you. Eventually come out and see if its morning. Like the first one, you could use glass to block off the entrance so you could see what time it is and if any creepers want to chat. Note This strategy is only if you're desperate. It works well but there are better ways that can become your home.

  • 1
    What does your answer offer that doesn't appear in the accepted answer? This answer seems redundant to me. Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 4:11
  • It mentions making charcoal rather than needing to hunt for coal. This can be used for torches. Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 21:18

Well, there is the all-favorite 'dig 3 blocks down and cap off the entrance' technique, but I assume you know about that.

What I like to do is make a 3x3 hole 2 deep. Then...

I dig some more... diagram in need.

# : 1 block deep
% : 2 blocks deep
! : door

% % #
% % #!
% % #

works nice. It's able to fit a chest, crafting table, furnace, and a bed, although you may need to build into the wall.

  • Just a tip, your "diagram" might be more clear (and helpful) if you fire up MineCraft and take a screenshot, instead of using ASCII art.
    – IQAndreas
    Commented Feb 23, 2014 at 7:43

I'm also pretty new to Minecraft. but I found that high walls made of cobblestone work really well build a shelter with 6 block high walls and a roof works perfectly in peaceful mode. If you get caught out when night falls dig 3 blocks down and seal yourself in, you can expand while you wait for morning. if you go deeper you can find a lot of goodies like coal and iron. try to always have torches and a crafting table and furnace with you


As a small yet still simple upgrade from the "dig a hole" plan, here is the blueprint I've been using for my scouting huts (small waypoints to stay at while out exploring). It's intended to be quick to build yet have all the basic necessities.

Building materials: 22 wood (having a few extras never hurts) and 8 cobblestone. (If you're doing this later on, you can swap out 17 wood for 68 cobblestone; I'd recommend this because you get a much more durable structure)

First floor plan (W=wood, F=furnace, C=crafting table, c=chest (buried one block down, d=door):

W cF
W  C

The chest is buried in the floor one block down, and the furnace and crafting table are embedded in the wall (all three work fine in those positions). One warning: don't put a chest next to the door - there's some weird glitch where trying to step up off the chest bumps your head on the ledge over the door.

Then two more layers of wall, top off the fourth layer with ceiling (and a ring of anti-spider blocks on the outside), and you've got a 2x2 basic living structure. As a weird bonus, you can even craft/furnace from the outside. Throw some spare wood into the furnace, and you get free light while you cook charcoal for torches. (If time is really tight, I'd recommend starting that while you're building the rest - the furnace gives off light while running which is a very nice bonus.)

Possible upgrades/shortcuts: * If you don't have a bed, you can leave off the 3rd layer and save 3 wood from the cost. If you're really short, you can skip the spider-overhang and save another 5 wood. Same for the chest (2 wood). I've been building them 4-high out of habit - and to make sure the beds work, and spiders love hanging around me in the morning, so I tend to go 4-high with the overhang. I suppose you could also dig a layer down to save space as well, but that makes you a bit less visible when trying to come back later. * If you get a bed later, you can place it on the left by standing in the doorway to get the right angle.


If you are desperate, dig three blocks deep in the dirt, then use one of them to seal it off. :) Pretty easy. When you want to check if the Sun has rised, simply destroy the seal for some seconds, then cover it again. To exit it, simply make a Dirt staircase.
In the second day, you can get to build some more serious shelters.


Build a house with the strongest blocks you can find then place torches so that no monsters can spawn. Build yourself a man made beacon that look like a massive antenna then jump down unless you find water to jump in. Get stone and build a stone pickax then mine the iron. The iron is not too rare at all. Craft some sheers. If you are too lazy to sheer some sheep. Kill them if you don't have sheers. You should build a bed with that. Stone is a better place and sometime wood because you can multiply 4 planks from each wood. build a door but you have to close them quick though. A brick house is the best Option, once you are getting the hang of it, your house must be stronger or stone bricks as well. I hope you learn from it.

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