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Wood Carving for Beginners: 7 Easy Projects

beginner wood carving projects with a chiselWood carving for beginners: Have you ever wanted to learn the skill of wood carving, but didn’t know where to start? Especially when you see some amazing and intricate works.

Well, there are plenty of wood carving projects for beginners out there that will let you get your feet wet without being too challenging.

Here at SawToolsGuide one of our favorite hobbies is wood carving. Without a doubt, it’s a fantastic way of creating detailed and intricate pieces while learning a really great skill for life.

So, we decided to assembly a list of what we think are 7 simple wood carving ideas so you can start developing your woodworking skills.

And with a few simple projects under your belt, you’ll be on your way to mastering this art form! Let’s jump right in…

7 Super Easy Beginner Wood Carving Projects 

 

You’ve got to keep a few things in mind when looking for easy wood carving ideas. First, start with simple patterns. Second, opt for a material that’s easy to carve. Third, get yourself the right tools. Finally, don’t be afraid to try out different things. 

As a newbie to the game, it can be difficult to determine what projects you should start with. Yeah, that’s pretty normal. This is why I’ve come up with the following simple yet practical ideas that are great for someone who’s just starting out:

  1. Wooden Spoon Carving
  2. Carving A Wooden Heart
  3. Simple Bowl Carving 
  4. 3-Minute Owl Carving 
  5. Pawn Carving
  6. Chopstick Carving
  7. Whittling A Flower 

Below I’ll explain all of the projects in detail.

 

A wooden spoon with a cup

1. Carving a Wooden Spoon

Our first project out the gate for our list of beginner wood carving projects is carving a wooden spoon.

For centuries, wooden spoons have been an essential kitchen tool. They are durable, versatile, and easy to care for. But what many people don’t realize is that wooden spoons can also be beautiful works of art.

Carving a wooden spoon is a fun and relatively easy project for beginners. It is one of the most low-effort wood carving projects out there. And after you learn to make simple spoons, you can go for different complex shapes as well.

Making it is very practical because you could use it for yourself. Plus, it makes a great gift. If not, you could use it to drink soup.

Knife carving is the best way to make wooden spoon carvings.

Wood to use:

  • Apple 
  • Cherry
  • Maple 
  • Paper Birch

Tool needed:

  • An Axe 
  • Sandpaper [120, 200, 400 grits]
  • Marker
  • Sloyd Knife  
  • Chisel 
  • Mallet 

 

Heart wood carving for beginners2. A Wooden Heart

Our next wood carving project, whether you give it as a gift or keep it for yourself, carving a wooden heart is a wonderful way to show your loved ones how much you care. To begin, you need to find a piece of wood that fits your needs. This mainly depends on whether or not you want it to make a small pendant or a large showpiece.

To carve a wooden heart, make a sketch first on the wood. This will help you line your edges. Then, start by making two cuts perpendicular to each other in the center of the wood. Then, make two more cuts diagonally from these cuts, and finally, make two straight cuts along the edges of the heart.

 Once you’ve carved out your heart shape, sand down the edges until they’re smooth. Finally, finish off your carving by adding any details like initials or designs. 

Wood to use

  • Balsa wood
  • Cider
  • Beech
  • Basswood
  • Pine 

Tool needed

  • 220-grits sandpaper
  • Gloves
  • Marker
  • Whittling knife
  • Roughing knife
  • Safety tape
  • Danish oil

A bowl and chopsticks made out of wood3. Simple Bowl Wood Carving 

Our 3rd wood carving for beginners is carving up a bowl.

If you’re looking for a simple woodworking project that you can complete in just a few hours, carving bowls may be right up your alley. Bowl carving is a type of woodturning that involves forming a concave bowl out of a block of wood.

Although it’s unlikely you’ll use it for any practical purposes, it’s still a good ornamental object to hang around in your house.

While it may sound difficult, bowl carving is actually quite easy to learn and can be mastered with just a few tools and some practice. Once you get the hang of it, you can use advanced machinery like a lathe to make hundreds of them.

Wood to use

  • Balsa wood
  • Cedar
  • Pine
  • Basswood
  • Beech 

Tool needed

  • Axe
  • Whittling knife
  • 220-grits sandpaper
  • Gloves 
  • Polyurethane ( danish oil also works)

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Owl wood carving for beginners4. 3-Minute Owl Carving

Number 4: The art of carving owls into wood dates back centuries, and these days it remains a popular way to add a touch of whimsy to any space. These cool carvings can be found in all sorts of places, from the ceilings of ancient cathedrals to the mantle pieces of homes.

And, the best part is they’re one of the quickest designs you can do, making them an ideal wood carving for beginners. You don’t even need much equipment, just a pencil/marker, and a drake knife is enough. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can even finish one before 3 minutes have passed!

After you’ve mastered it, you can create more complex owls or other avians. You can even paint it if you wish.

So whether you’re looking for a unique gift for a friend or simply want to add some personality to your home décor, consider carving an owl out of wood. It’s a fun and rewarding experience that anyone can enjoy.

Woods to use

  • Basswood [best pick]
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Beech 

Tool needed

  • Marker
  • Drake knife
  • Paint [optional]
  • Paintbrush [optional]

Chess set made out of wood5. Pawn Carving

Number 5 on our list of easy wood carving for beginners is carving a Pawn.

Pawn carving is a unique form of folk art that has been passed down through 19th-century china. It’s massively used in board games like Chess, Mahjong and Othello. In fact, they are treated as collector’s editions. The Viking chess set is one of my favorite variations that use wooden chess pieces.

The pawns look so elegant and simple yet it’s a show of skill, precision, and patience. While most projects will have you make curves, practicing making this one will teach you how to make oval shapes.

That’s not all, you have to polish them, as well as make them look identical. It’s definitely one of your first challenges but also one of your foundations to be a top woodworker. Quick assignment: once you’ve mastered it, try making wood spirits as they’re also identical.

Wood to use

  • Basswood
  • Ebony
  • Rosewood
  • Maple

Tool needed

  • Carving knife
  • Marker
  • Mineral oil

Someone holding a pair of chopsticks, a beginner wood carving projects6. Chopstick Carving

Number is is a creating a couple of Chopsticks. Chopstick carving is a traditional Chinese art form that dates back centuries. Over time, however, it evolved into a distinct form of artistic expression. I’m sure you’ve seen them in your Chinese takeout. Surprised it’s on here? You probably didn’t know chopsticks could be considered carvings as well. 

Carving chopsticks is a delicate process that requires skill and patience. The basic technique involves first shaping the material into a rough chopstick shape and then slowly whittling away at it until the desired design is achieved. 

Just like the pawn carvings above, you need good precision so that both the sticks are of the same size and diameter. On top of that, you need to make the ends round shaped so that it doesn’t prick your palms. You’ll need 2 sets of sandpaper for this.

Taking this project will help you be precise with your cuts and chips, as well as teach you how much pressure to apply.

The end result is a uniquely carved pair of chopsticks that can be used for both practical and decorative purposes. Remember to give it a non-toxic coating.

Woods to use

  • Apple
  • Walnut
  • Cherry

Tool needed

  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Carving knife
  • 120-grits sandpaper
  • 220-grits sandpaper
  • Polyurethane

A person holding a wooden flower carving7. A Flower

Are you feeling like I’m giving you tough projects? Here’s an easy one for the last one on our beginner wood carving projects list. Unlike pawns or chopsticks, you have a lot of leeway in designing your own flower. Plus it has room for growth, after you’ve learned to sculpt simple ones, you can look into more detailed carvings. It’ll also perfect your whittling techniques.

There are merits in practicing this one, not only it’ll help you grow as a woodworker, it’ll work great as gifts for your family. Why pluck flowers that die soon when these can last decades. Besides, they look fantastic as ornaments so having a bunch of them scattered across your room is no biggie.

Here’s a tip: first draw your flower on a blank piece of paper. This will help you mentally form an image you want to carve.

Sure, while you start out it might not look impressive. But with patience and skill, it is possible to create beautiful and lifelike flower carvings from nothing more than a piece of wood and a knife.

Woods to use

  • Balsa wood
  • Beech
  • Cedar
  • Basswood
  • Pine 

Tools needed

  • Marker
  • Whiting knives
  • Straight knife
  • Ruler 
  • 220-grits sandpaper
  • Olive oil

Your wood carving journey begins now! 

Learning a skill is all about honing yourself. At best I could do was show you the way with my 7 easy wood carving projects for beginners. Get started with these beginner projects to learn the ins and outs of wood carving. Don’t get disheartened if your project didn’t look as expected. With practice, everything will fall into place one day.

Focus on simple tasks and work your way up. 


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