15 Simple Beginner Wood Carving Projects in May 2023. Easy chainsaw carving patterns

Simple Beginner Wood Carving Projects in May 2023

There’s something always so pleasant about building something out of nothing. This is why I think woodcarving is one of the greatest hobbies for any person.

You can create whatever you wish which feel proud and accomplished every time you see your project. Plus, it’s a great way to decorate your home while staying under the budget.

Many people who are new to wood carving get too cocky because they tend to start with big projects and unfortunately finally end up with nothing only frustration.

The main reason for this issue is following non-reliable unbalanced tutorials and guides which are not actually for beginners. Most of them don’t even cover the basic steps of wood carving.

As a full-time, woodworker, before I started my wood carving carrier, I did some research to find out What Beginner Wood Carving Projects everyone can follow easily with a lot of new techniques.

From this article, we’re going to talk deeply about 15 Beginner Wood Carving Projects.

I’m going to cover up all the above wood carving projects with,

At the end of this article, you’ll be able to figure out what woodcarving project you should start with which can lead to your wood carving carrier goals.

Wood Carving Spoon

Estimated Time Needed: 2 Hours

Carving a spoon is one of the simplest wood carving projects you can start with. You can use the spoon for selling, for yourself, or give it as a gift. To make spoon whittling or knife carving is the method that you should go with.

There are a lot of modifying features and techniques are available for wooden spoons. You can do different decorative methods to make it more attractive.

This is why most people tend to start their first wood carving project by making spoons. Because you can easily get nice appealing and can learn a lot of beginner stuff as well.

When you feel comfortable with wood carving after several projects, mostly you’ll feel to carve the spoon soon again.

At that time, you can apply different shapes which are far more complicated and advanced than your previous project.

Also, you can minimize the mistakes you have done with earlier wooden spoon carving projects.

In my point of view, carving a spoon is like an experiment you can learn a lot of new things about knife carving and can get a great experience with lots of fun.

Tools needed for Carving Spoon:

  • An axe
  • A chunk of wood with a little larger than the spoon size you going to make.
  • Sharp carving knives with straight knife and sweep or rounded gouge.
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Food-safe wood finisher.
  • 120,220, 400 grit sandpapers

Whittling a Bunny

Estimated Time Needed: 30 minutes

This is a simple and interesting wood carving project, a simple bunny that can finish within 30 minutes even for beginners.

A Carved rabbit can be a lovely heartwarming gift for your loved ones which is perfect as a desk statue.

Whittling or knife carving is the method that we use for this project. Carving rabbits is known as one of the easiest carvings.

Also, you don’t need to have many materials or tools for this project. This is why I highly recommend whittling a simple bunny to anyone just getting into wood carving.

There are lots of small cuts you will have to make in this project. They are simple. But you need to have a sharp knife to get a satisfying result.

In delicate things, mostly good to do a higher number of small cuts leading up your line, rather than 2-3 large cuts.

This first step is to scratch your bunny with simple outlines and follow the process. For the smoothing and finishing, part linseed oil or olive oil is perfect. It’s non-toxic and no harmful fumes.

Tools needed for Carving Rabbit:

  • A chunk of wood with a little larger than the rabbit size you going to make.
  • Sharp whittling knives with a straight knife.
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Olive oil or Linseed oil as Finisher
  • Protective gloves
  • 220 grit sandpaper

Estimated Time Needed: 5 to 30 minutes

Yes, you read it correctly. To make all the basic cuts only takes 5 minutes only.

That’s why this wonderful wood carving project is called the 5-minute wizard. But to finish the whole process you’ll definitely need much more time.

Actually, that’s not the case, you need to start carving the 5-minute wizard by taking as much time you want.

With practice, one day you’ll be able to do this even less than 5 minutes. So, give it a try!

After learning to make a 5-minute wizard and practicing it few more times, you’ll be able to explore a new area in wood carving with sculptures. You can then go ahead and do Santa Claus, hillbilly, gnome, or whatever.

Most importantly you can carve a nice project with only using only a few tools as a beginner.

All you have to make sure is the knife is sharp enough. Because you need to put thick deeper cuts to do the wizard’s beard.

The nose and eyes are the parts that you should concern more. Because sometimes you can end up taking out the nose or no lining right. To correct that, practice the nose and eyes parts over and over a few more times on all 4 corners until making it right. Practice makes you perfect.

For better blade control: place your thumb on the knife blade back and push it forward to any direction you want by applying force to the thumb.

Tools needed for 5-Minute Wizard:

  • Wood stick with little larger than the wizard size you going to make.
  • Sharp whittling knives with a straight knife.
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Olive oil or Linseed oil as Finisher
  • Protective gloves and thumb guard
  • Small V shape tool for better shaping of beard. (optional)
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes

Whiskey Barrel

Estimated Time Needed: 45 minutes

The whiskey barrel is also an excellent selection for your first wood carving project. The interesting part is you can use it to take a shot after it’s finished and it’s fun.

The barrel carves using a more hook knife which holds the liquid. After the barrel part, it was shaped and decorate the barrel with a small rough knife.

The final result can be finished with tung oil or linseed oil and let dry for few days.

A carved whiskey barrel is a perfect desk statue for your liquor label or as a hobby. They are an incredible gift for any spirits or whiskey lover.

Tools needed for carving Whiskey Barrel:

  • A wood chunk with a little larger than the wizard size you going to make.
  • Sharp whittling knives with a straight knife and knife
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Tung oil or walnut oil as Finisher
  • Protective gloves and thumb guard
  • 400 grit sandpaper

Whittling a Flower

Estimated Time Needed: 30 minutes

The whittling flower is a great piece of beginner wood carving projects that every beginner should try. There are different methods you can try to carve a flower.

So, I recommend you follow all the different methods to carve beautiful wooden flowers.

First of all, you need to draw the flower with petals to get an idea of its basic shape. Then transfer what you have drawn in the sheet to the wood chunk.

By doing this you’ll be able to get a clear idea about its dimensions and also you can remove the excess parts from the wood chunk as well.

Then you can start the carving which is the most interesting thing.

Tip: Try to maintain the cutting angle to 85 degrees and not 90 degrees.

Because, when you’re going down if any mistakes happen, it is so much hard to fix if you got the cutting angle of 90 degrees at the beginning. After removing the piece by cutting 85 degrees, make the final cut with 90 degrees.

You can get the flower that you have drawn in sheet as a 3d model with carving with zero differences by regularly looking at the sheet you drew and comparing it while you working on it.

Tools needed for carving a Flower:

  • A chunk of wood with a little larger than the flower size you going to make.
  • Sharp whittling knives with a straight knife.
  • Paper to draw.
  • Ruler
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Olive oil or Linseed oil as Finisher
  • Protective gloves
  • 220 grit sandpaper

Carve an Owl

Estimated Time Needed: 50-60 minutes

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Carving an owl is an advanced project with lots of stuff to do. It needs a lot of practice and patent with techniques and not recommend for a beginner.

Actually, that’s partially true, if you think to carve an owl with complex shapes and modifications in the first place, that is pretty much hard. Because you don’t have much experience yet.

But how about carving an owl that has basic shapes with simple techniques? That’d be interesting right.

Making a simple owl today with easy shapes as a beginner will be an added advantage to carve an owl with more advanced techniques and shapes in the future.

The interesting part is you can do the whole carving project with a knife only and a little bit better than some of those you have seen on the internet.

After the carving is done you can add feathers and other textures using the paint to make it look more attractive. Apply boiled linseed oil to seal it.

Tools needed for Carving an Owl:

  • A chunk of wood with a little larger than the owl size you going to make.
  • Sharp whittling knife.
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Linseed oil as Finisher
  • Protective gloves
  • 220 grit sandpaper

Carve a Heart

Estimated Time Needed: 20 minutes

Are you a beginner in woodcarving who wishes for the perfect Valentine’s gift or birthday gift for your soulmate or someone you love? Why don’t try giving a handmade wooden heart as a pendant?

The value so high because this is 100% made by yourself. This is a fun little project for you to kind of play around and practice some of these techniques and end up with a nice little gift.

You can simply turn a little basswood block into a nice heart with a few cuts and curls.

If you wish to use the carved heart as a pendant better to go for a good finisher. No linseed oil. Because it can tacky in a humid environment.

I recommend going with danish oil. It penetrates into the wood and makes it hard. After applying several coats you’ll be able to get the sheen you want.

Tools needed for Carving a Heart:

  • A chunk of wood with a little larger than the owl size you going to make.
  • Sharp whittling knife and Roughing knife
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Danish oil as Finisher
  • Protective gloves
  • 220 grit sandpaper

Carve a Cat

Estimated Time Needed: 40 minutes

Carving a cat by using a simple block of wood is a project that every beginner should try. There are lots of important techniques you can cover by carving a cat. This is perfect for someone new to whittling.

This is an easy sculpture to inspire and motivate to keep going their carving life.

The main steps you must follow for the process are listed below.

To complete the whole process, you don’t need any advanced tools or materials, just the whittling knife and a pencil with the wood chunk.

This is an awesome project you can get lots of experience. It’s not about how long it takes to finish, but how much you enjoy the process. So give it a try!

Tools needed for Carve a Cat:

  • A chunk of wood with a little larger than the owl size you going to make.
  • Sharp whittling knife and Roughing knife
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Danish oil as Finisher
  • Protective gloves
  • 220 grit sandpaper

Carve a simple Bowl

Estimated Time Needed: 2 hours.

Under carving kitchen utensils, carving bowls are a must for beginners. Bowl uses the same principles that we discussed under carving spoon except using large size of wood.

You can use the bowl for selling, for yourself, or give it as a gift. To make spoon whittling or knife carving is the method that you should go with.

There are a lot of modifying features and techniques are available for wooden bowls. You can do different decorative methods to make it more attractive.

This is why most people tend to start their first wood carving project by making bowls. Because you can easily get nice appealing and can learn a lot of beginner stuff as well.

When you feel comfortable with wood carving after several projects, mostly you’ll feel to carve the spoon soon again.

At that time, you can apply different shapes which are far more complicated and advanced than your previous project.

Also, you can minimize the mistakes you have done with earlier wooden bowl carving projects.

In my point of view carving bowl is like an experiment you can learn a lot of new things about knife carving and can get a great experience with lots of fun. Similar goes with carving a spoon.

Tools needed for Carve a Bowl:

  • A chunk of wood with a little larger than the owl size you going to make.
  • Sharp whittling knife and Roughing knife
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Danish oil as Finisher
  • Protective gloves
  • 220 grit sandpaper

Carve a Chopstick

Estimated Time Needed: 30 minutes

Carving a chopstick is a super simple and great project for a beginner to learn lots of new wood carving and whittling skills such as chipping, shaping, and sharpening wood.

Usually, chopsticks are plain, minimal looking, and have no beautiful curves and shapes. But as a wood carver, you can give an artistic look to chopsticks using basic wood carving tools.

Even though chopsticks don’t have sharp edges and hard curly shapes, making them rounded is somewhat challenging.

But with regular practice, you will be able to get a perfectly rounded shaped chopstick with ease.

Plus, making both chopsticks exactly the same is important. This will teach you how to carve an object the same only by watching a previously carved object.

This is an important wood carving skill that is great for a beginner.

If getting a perfectly rounded shape is difficult, you can make both chopsticks flat on each easier side. You’ll become a pro over time with practice.

When carving chopsticks, you’ll have to use sandpapers with different grit values to achieve a super smooth finish with ease.

First, start with relatively coarse grit sandpaper and sand along the wood grain to level the surface.

Then, eventually, go for fine-grit sandpapers and sand with even pressure along the wood grain to get a smooth surface with no scratches. Patience is a must to sand and carves without chipping the wood.

Not like other wood carving projects, smoothness is a significant factor when carving chopsticks since they need to handle and contact our skin for so long. So, comfortless is the key factor when carving chopsticks.

Make sure to carve the wood with even and low pressure to stop the wood from chipping away due to sharp knife edges.

Once you’re done with carving chopsticks, clean and finish the entire surface with a non-toxic, food-safe finisher to enhance the appearance and protect from water damage.

Tung oil, Danish oil, and Teak oil are the best oil-finish options for finishing chopsticks, but you’ll have to wait for around 30 days until they are fully cured.

Polyurethane is also great to use as a wood finish which should apply properly with no mistakes.

Water-based finishes are also fine and curing time can take up to 20 days.

Tools Needed For Carving a Chopstick

  • Wood chunk larger than the size of the chopstick you going to make
  • Sharp whittling knife
  • Pen, pencil, marker
  • Oil-based or water-based finisher
  • 120 grit, 220 grit, and 320 grit sandpapers
  • Ruler

Whittling a Mushroom

Estimated Time Needed: 50 minutes

Whittling a mushroom is one of the simplest wood carving projects. But you’ll learn how to get smooth curve shapes and how to carve wood to get the shape of an umbrella.

First, take a piece of a wood little bit bigger because you’ll have something to hold on to. Then turn it up, down and find the center and mark it using a pencil.

We’re going to carve the mushroom around the center point of the wood.

Then mark a line around the wood chunk below one and a half from the top side. Then take the wood bark off using the whittling knife.

Make sure to chip the wood keeping a steady angle to prevent it from breaking.

If the wood you selected is old and dirty, use a bush crafty knife. But I recommend you find fresh wood because working with a block of old wood is a little bit challenging.

Make some scallops around the edge of the mushroom using the knife by whittling around the wood chunk.

When you’re working on whittling the mushroom, better to wear a carving glove because if you cut yourself out the whole project can be ruined.

After making scallops, go around and make the mushroom head. Cut a little bit extra and angle it down later.

From here onwards you can whittle the mushroom and give it your preferred shape.

However, as you can see you’ll learn lots of wood carving skills like making angles, and deep cuts by whittling a mushroom.

Once you’re done with whittling the mushroom, finish it with an oil-based or water-based finish or you can paint it down to give attractive color to your little mushroom project.

Tools Needed For Carving a Mushroom

  • Wood chunk larger than the size of the mushroom you going to make
  • Sharp whittling knife
  • Pen, pencil, marker
  • Oil-based or water-based finisher
  • Protective gloves

Carve A Gnome

Estimated Time Needed: 60 – 80 minutes

Carving a gnome is challenging since it has lots of shapes, curves, and sharp edges. Carving gnome is a top-tier beginner wood carving project in which you’ll learn so many new things.

Wooden gnome is a popular wood carving project since it adds a unique nice look to your indoors and also for gardens.

Overall, carving a gnome is not suitable if you’re so new to wood carving. Yes, it helps to sharpen up your skills but, better to start with something simple like carving a spoon.

Once you’re good at carving basic things, go for carving a gnome. It is nothing to compare with the first project.

Follow YouTube tutorials, e-books, and magazines to get a good knowledge of how to carve a gnome and finally try to carve in your own method.

That’s how you should become successful in woodcarving. Share the first gnome you made with others through social media to show how talented you are.

Once you’re done with whittling the mushroom, finish it with an oil-based or water-based finish or paint it with various colors to make it so awesome.

Tools Needed For Carving a Gnome

  • Wood chunk larger than the size of the gnome you going to make
  • Sharp carving knife
  • Safety tape
  • Pen, pencil, marker
  • chisel
  • Oil-based or water-based finisher or paint
  • Protective gloves

Whittling A Fox

Estimated Time Needed: 80 minutes

Whittling a fox is a little bit more difficult than whittling a spoon because of its complex shapes and curves. But it will teach you so many important wood carving skills.

Take a 114-inch wood chunk, make an outline on it using a pencil and start whittling.

Marking with a pencil on a wood chunk is helping you to think about what cuts you should make.

After whittling the fox, make it rounded using a knife. Finally, sand it down and make the fox so smooth.

Make triangular cuts to make the face of the fox and that can be tricky since you’ll have to make many cuts in a small area to shape it.

Practice, again and again, to whittle fox with a minimum of mistakes. Nothing has to be perfect because foxes typically have narrow muzzles.

Take as much as time you need because when you whittle the fox hurry, there’s a high possibility of spilling the wood which will give a bad appearance.

Once you’re done with whittling the mushroom, finish it with an oil-based or water-based finish to give an enhanced look.

Tools Needed For Carving a Fox

  • Wood chunk larger than the size of the fox you going to make
  • Sharp carving knife
  • Pen, pencil, marker
  • Chisel
  • Oil-based or water-based finisher
  • Protective gloves

Carve A Whistle

Estimated Time Needed – 60 minutes

Let’s make something artistic as a beginner wood carving project. There’re so many different ways to carve a whistle. But willow whistle one is the easiest.

Since you’re a beginner we cannot guarantee that whistle you’re going to carve, make a sound. Because Willow tree branches are not much friendly to make musical instruments.

But, carving a whistle using willow is an excellent project to learn how to shape and round the wood and make a hollow-type tube using wood.

The disadvantage of using willow is you’ll have to wait until early summer or late spring to remove the Willow bark quite easily.

Sycamore is also great for making whistles.

When you’re carving a whistle, make a nice little cut in the bark. Then come back about 3cm and score around the branch making sure you cut the bark.

Then give the wood a little turn and crack the bark off.

Once you remove the bark, you just have to keep whittling the wood until you get nice looking whistle with small cuts and shapes.

Tools Needed For Carving a Whistle

  • Wood chunk larger than the size of the whistle you going to make
  • Sharp carving knife
  • Pen, pencil, marker
  • Protective gloves

Carve A Walking Stick

Estimated Time Needed: 100 minutes

Carving a walking stick may be the largest project you’ll make as a beginner wood carver. Most of the time, walking sticks are plain and don’t have lots of shapes.

But try to make an artistic walking stick with all the wood carving skills you learned throughout by making many simple projects.

You can make faces of wizards on a walking stick to give it a promising look.

First, cut the tree branch that’s long enough to use as a walking stick.

Then peel the walking stick to remove bark and make the surface super smooth and easy to handle. Then make the wrist strap by marking and making small cuts and curves around the edges.

Shape the body by making some artistic curls. Then gloss the whole wood using an oil finish.

Once the finish is fully dried and cured within 30 days, stain the walking stick to give an enhanced look with excellent protection from rotting.

As you can see, a carving walking stick not only teach you carving skills but also some wood-finishing tips as well.

Tools Needed For Carving Walking Stick

  • Wood branches larger than the size of a walking stick you going to make
  • Sharp carving knife
  • Pen, pencil, marker
  • Protective gloves

That’s it, folks! Now you know how to carve the top 15 beginner wood carving projects in-depth.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about beginner wood carving projects.

What Is The Easiest Wood To Carve?

Basswood is the easiest wood to carve because of being a softwood that cuts and shapes easily without chipping or breaking the wood.

Basswood has good flexibility against the sharp edges of knives.

Apart from basswood here’re some other easy woods to carve,

What Tools Are Needed For Beginner Wood Whittling?

So, after discussing Beginner Wood Carving Projects, let’s have a look at tools every beginner should have for wood carving.

What Tools are Needed for Beginner Wood Carving?

When we look at tools that every beginner should have before starting wood carving, it’s not all about advanced tools that cost a lot of money. Skill and practice are what make you a pro. Tools are just added advantage.

But when you keep going there’s a certain moment you feel you can get better smoother results with the help of more tools, that’s the point you should consider of buying tools that are specially designed for wood carving.

Tools are specially designed for wood carving and great for beginners are,

  • General carving knife
  • Detail knife
  • Gouges
  • Gouge handles and Shafts
  • V- tools

Bear Chainsaw Carving Tutorial with Chainsaw Dave USA. Surprise Ending!!!

simple, beginner, wood, carving

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Beginner Wood Carving Projects

In this article, I have widely discussed the Beginner Wood Carving Projects that I have started at practiced frequently during the early days of my wood carving journey.

Practice is the key to become a pro at wood carving. Always FOCUS on basics and don’t be overwhelmed with the whole tool rack.

Beginner wood carving projects are Whittling a spoon, Whittling a simple bunny, 5-minute wizard, Whiskey barrel, A flower, An owl, Carve a heart, A cat, Carve a simple bowl, Carve Chopsticks, Whittling a mushroom, Gnome, Whittling a fox, Whistle, A Walking stick

Start with easy projects are going through them until become an experienced player.

I have discussed all the possible questions that can occur when you are a beginner at wood carving.

I hope after reviewing Beginner Wood Carving Projects, now you can have a clear idea to select the first attempt and start the journey.

So, let’s get started with the ultimate journey from now awards.

Walter Parker

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read About Him! Follow him on and

2 thoughts on “15 Simple Beginner Wood Carving Projects in May 2023”

Hi, My name is Penny Areieta, and i am from the Marshall Islands. I am very very interest in wood carving an i just watched you videos and i amazes me. I am really looking forward in wood carving and i hope you can help me out on as i am just a beginner on woods. Thanks so much an i look forward from any reply in your free time. Peni Reply

Hi! Penny, Great to have you on the woodcarving team. Of course, I will help you. My email is always open for beginners to improve their knowledge of woodworking and woodcarving. I’m excited to help you. Reply

Wood Carving Projects For Beginners (Step by Step Tutorials)

Getting started with wood carving is very exciting, but you need to make sure you are working on simple wood carvings for beginners before you move to something harder. In this article, we will go over our favorite projects that are easy for beginners and very beneficial to practice some basic wood carving techniques.

Before you begin please make sure your knives are sharp, you are wearing the protective gear you need, and that your FOCUS is good.

If you think you are familiar with all the necessary basics, you are ready to choose your next project! Let’s get into our favorite carvings for beginners and the step-by-step tutorials showing you how to carve them.


The reason that gnomes are one of the best beginner projects is that they have immense potential regarding the quality of the work. What this means is that over the month, if you carve a gnome a few times per week, you will see significant visual progress when comparing your first gnome and the one you carved four weeks later.

Seeing progress in your carvings does not occur with every kind of project. With gnomes, however, the design, depth, detail, shape, and even facial features will gradually improve making it very motivating to continue carving more and more.

Another amazing thing about carving a gnome is that you only need a carving knife and maybe a marker if you are going to plan your work ahead. So here is how you carve a gnome:

Depending on the size of your carving block you will have different measurements for the face, body, and feet of the gnome. You can also add a hat and a belt to the gnome that will also impact the length of the other areas.

So the first thing you need to do is decide where on your wood block those areas will be. Get some inspiration from already carved gnomes if you want, a pretty standard ratio of gnomes anatomy would be 60% face and body, 20% hat and 20% feet and belt. If you are not going to carve a hat just go with a 70% body and face 30% feet aproach.

With a marker or pencil, mark the different areas with a line, you will later do V-cuts in those exact areas to have a different layer for each section.

For a more visual aproach, here is the full process of carving a gnome from a wooden block. Make sure you read the video takeaways to understand the most important parts of the video to concentrate on.

Spirit carving is somewhat similar to carving a gnome except it is not so much a carving in the round. Instead, it focuses on mainly the facial features carved in wood.

We have a whole separate article about carving faces and spirits, Complete Guide To Wood Carving Spirits and Faces, if you are going to attempt it for yourself we suggest you have a more detailed read through it.

For a beginner spirit carving is probably a little easier than carving gnomes and also a little more fun. It does not have many drawbacks except for maybe slightly slow progress as the facial features of your spirits will take a longer time to develop.

Just like with any carving the first thing that you will want to do is to roughly envision what you want your carving to look like. Decide if you want your spirit to have a large nose or a small one, Asian or European eyes, a large forehead, or a large chin. Once you somewhat have a plan for your carving, proceed to draw on the wood.

Step two is marking the different areas of your carving. The eyes, mouth, and nose are the most important areas that you want to mark. Make sure that everything is in the center and that you somewhat have a symmetrical structure of the spirit’s face.

Of course, the most fun and difficult part is figuring out how to carve what you just drew on the wood. The difficulty with this step is that it is very hard to explain, but you will most definitely understand it yourself after a few attempts trying. You can also take a look at the first 4 minutes of this timelapse to see how a woodcarver draws on the wood, and then carves what he just drew.

You can find chip carving patterns all over the internet! The main reason it is a good idea to try out chip carving if you are a beginner is that it teaches you how to hold your tools correctly, get’s you to be more comfortable and confident with the carving knife, and lets you practice some safety routines without exposing you to much risk of injury.

Chip carving is not a popular type of carving in the modern age. At least not among beginner carvers. If you never heard about what chip carving is, it is more or less carving out designs and ornaments on wood by chipping the wood with a technique similar to the v-cut.

This type of wood carving is very beautiful and is quite easy for someone who has never held a carving knife before. Most of the time you will be following a pattern or just freestyling on a flat piece of wood coming up with beautiful ornaments.

It is important to master all the types of chips before getting into complicated designs.

A few tips when it comes to chip carving; it is a good idea to use 2 knives and trace the patterns before carving them. If you want more tips on chip carving head over to 7 chip carving tips every beginner should know.

Chip carving projects are excellent for you if you want to have a rather easy time and not having to try your best to figure out the secrets of the art of wood carving. With that said, if you want more challenging projects take a closer look at the others featured on this list


Carving something useful like a spoon, fork or knife is practical, to say the least. We will only concentrate on spoon carving as it is a very popular item to carve and probably one that will serve most use to you.

Spoon carving is very different from a lot of other types of wood carving. This is one of the reasons it is so useful for beginners. By trying new styles of carvings and following unusual instructions you get a very diverse experience about wood carving which will help you both with your understanding of how carving wood works and chose your favorite type of wood carving.

It is quite important to use a wood such as birch, basswood, or Apple, and to make sure the wood is green, and not dry. This is because not every kind of wood is good for spoon carving, mostly fruit woods and some other hardwoods are used to carve spoons.

Green wood is also commonly preferred by spoon carvers because it is much more easily whittled. Most of the kind of wood used for spoons are hardwoods and therefore very dense, so carving them dry in addition to that is extremely difficult.

For a full list of the different kinds of wood, you can use to carve spoons and a more in-depth guide on the methodology of carving spoons visit our article: Complete Guide on Spoon Carving for Beginners.

Without further ado let’s dive into the tutorial of how a wooden spoon can be carved.

The first thing you will need is a unique tool to hollow out the bowl of your spoon. The sweep gouge such as the Beevercraft hook knife that you can find on Amazon, will help you in projects such as bowl carving and spoon carving to remove the wood much easier than doing so with a simple knife.

simple, beginner, wood, carving

Once you have your tools, you have chosen the wood you can start drawing your spoon on the wooden block you will be using. Make sure the wood is deep enough for the bowl to be carved out.

simple, beginner, wood, carving

The process of carving a spoon is not so challenging from a technical point of view, instead, it is physically tiring. Carve out the drawing you have made and define the bowl of the spoon with the hook knife.

After you finished carving out your spoon there are not many details you can add, but you can smooth out the edges and make it look as presentable as possible before applying the finish.

It is very important that you apply a food-safe wood finish to complete your spoon carving. Toxic finishes may be harmful to you should you ever choose to use this spoon for the consumption of food.


Whistles are fun and easy to carve. Such projects are very important for beginners because they get you interested in carving wood. Being able to carve something that you can use is very exciting to most people.

From a technical point of view, a whistle is not going to give you as much progress and experience as carving a gnome or a spoon, but it is still a must-try project for every woodcarver.

Here is a visual tutorial of how you can carve a whistle, it takes under an hour even if it’s your first ever time:

Of course, you will most likely be carving this heart for someone, so consider making it a little more custom and engraving it with some letters. If you want to get even more creative paint the letters in red or maybe his/her favorite color.

This for sure is another project for you to enjoy your time carving. Although it will not push your carving skills to the limit, you will still progress and most importantly enjoy such a sweet project.

Small Animals

Carving small figures on a piece of wood such as animals is exactly what you need to do to train your wood carving skills. They are challenging to carve and hard to detail, but they are the perfect exercise to push your wood carving skills to the next level.

We have a massive article giving you a tutorial on how to carve 9 different small animals, if you will be attempting this you have to check it out: 9 Easy Animals To Carve Out Of Wood (tutorial).

There is a lot of realism and life that needs to be added to animals when you carve them.

This is another great reason to try it as it is not only an exercise to improve your technique, but also to make you a better woodcarver as a whole.

Apart from carving animals, you, of course, will either paint them or apply another one of the 5 ways to finish a wood carving. This is what makes carving animals such a useful project for carvers of any level. It grasps all the different aspects of wood carving and teaches how to combine it all together in a fairly easy and possible to be done way.

Chess pawn

Carving a chess set is not a project for a beginner to complete, but carving a simple pawn is very much possible. This is a great project to help you master carving something with multiple depths.

In general, the more layers or depths a carving has, the better it looks, and this is exactly so when it comes to carving a pawn, the smoother it is, and the fewer layers of depths it has, the simpler it looks. So your goal is to add as many depths as possible to make it look professional.

Carving a pawn will also help you carve a rather rare and difficult element in wood carving, a round object that is not round all the way through. This is done with push cuts and stop cuts so you will also get the chance to enhance those as well.

Finally, a pawn has another very important training element that you may learn, which is consistency. If you are carving 8 black and 8 white pawns, you will want them to look the same. While with most carvings, there is nothing bad about them looking different, carving the exact same pawn 16 times is a task, not every professional woodcarver would perfectly manage.

So how do you carve a pawn? The best way is to show you this 10 minute video that goes into every detail that you need to consider when it comes to carving a pawn, so take a look:

This is a very unusual project for woodcarvers but it is a great and useful exercise carving for beginner woodcarvers. Especially if you are a fan of Chinese takeaway, you will want your own custom-made chopsticks.

It is very important you apply a food-friendly finish to your chopsticks. Anything toxic should not be applied to carvings that you may decide to eat food with.

If you don’t know which finish is food-friendly, you can buy the Bayes Food Grade Mineral Oil Wood from amazon. It is Leaping Bunny certified, eco-responsible and non-toxic biodegradable. It works as an affordable and durable finish.

Carving chopsticks are not only a fun project but they will also help you carve even(flat) surfaces. That is a skill you will need throughout your whole carving career.

To make a chopstick you will first want to pick a hardwood, similar to what we recommend for spoon carving. Something from the fruit-trees family such as Apple, cherry, or walnut.

You also need to decide if you want to make your chopsticks flat on four sides, or circle around themselves and have no edges.

The first stage of this carving is drawing and cutting out two thin, long sticks of wood that will later turn into two symmetrical chopsticks.

For the second stage of the process, Take a look at this short 2 and a half minute video showing you how professionals carve chopsticks using something that’s called a “chopstick master tool”. You should most definitely whittle your chopstick without it, but by viewing how it is done with the help of this tool, you will have some more understanding of the process.

Bowls are a classic representation of what a beginner project should be like. Plates are a slight variation on traditional bowl carving, but in the opinion of many carvers, just as suitable for beginners as bowls are.

Carving a bowl or a plate will teach you how to use gouges and chisels. Although it is nothing that is too difficult, you still need some experience to master other tools used in wood carving apart from the whittling knife.

It’s also common for you to carve bowls with power tools, it is significantly easier and takes a third of the time compared to when you are whittling your bowl. With that said, being able to carve a bowl or a plate, will greatly improve your skills as a woodcarver.

The process of carving a bowl is difficult, be sure to take a look at this quick 3 minute video showing you the start to end tutorial on carving a wooden bowl:

  • There are 5 stages of carving a bowl, sketching, hollowing out the bowl, carving, sanding, and finishing. Don’t skip any of the stages otherwise, you will not be satisfied with the result.
  • Use very abrasive sandpaper to smooth out the outside and inside of the bowl, follow our beginner’s sandpaper guide if you want to fully understand what you’re doing.
  • You can use other tools such as a saw to help you get rid of wood you won’t be using.
  • The young carver recommends limewood. Nothing wrong with that recommendation, but do also consider using basswood and European lime.

Carving a plate is exactly the same as carving a bowl, except you make the walls around the hollow section at a lower angle.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed the article and that you picked a few projects that you will carve next. We recommended a lot of helpful articles throughout the content of the guide, if you found any of them interesting be sure to have a look through them as all of them will be very helpful to anyone getting into wood carving.

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

Epoxy resin counters and table tops are all the hype these days. People create so many intricate designs using an epoxy pour over. People have made it a form of art, they create beautiful countertops.

Real wood can be hard to source and at times too expensive for certain projects. At times like these particle board is one of the cheapest options to opt for. Some people avoid using pressed wooden.

About Us

Hi there! This is Martin, the person behind Wood is Wood. This site is dedicated to educate woodworking, wood carving, and all wood related topics for people of all levels of expertise. I hope that you will learn something useful, and if you feel like more, be sure to surf the website and see what interests you.


This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site.

report this ad This site is owned and operated by Maxim Martin. woodiswood.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

The Awesome World of Chainsaw Carving

A blending of the new and the old, chainsaw carvings mix an archaic art form with modern technology. The elaborate wood outcomes are feats that seem unachievable considering the chainsaw’s weight and power.

If an arborist is a tree surgeon, than that must make me the butcher, having only one experience with a chainsaw where I spent close to an hour cutting through a 10″in thick branch, all the while seriously questioning the kickback and brake safety features. Probably something that comes from watching too much Tobe Hooper. The point is, they are not simple things to control.

This is also probably the reason I’m so enthralled by chainsaw art. The skill of the artists to handle such a powerful hand tool for the most fastidious tasks separates chainsaw carving from any other art form. This unique art style has the power to transform massive tree stumps to anthropomorphic wood features that carry as much detail as Japanese chisel sculptures.

Chainsaw Sculpting In History

Chainsaw art was given a thrust into the spotlight in the early 1960’s when an artist by the name of Ken Kaiser created a series of tree carvings for an American roadside museum. These carvings were huge and incredibly detailed, inspiring others to try their own hand at chainsaw sculpting. Among these others were pop culture figures like Runaways vocalist Cherie Currie, who’s status only propelled the growing art.

Chainsaw carving continued to build momentum into the early 90’s where it had been growing with exhibitions at the Lumberjack World Championships as well as forming it’s own dedicated Chainsaw Carving World Championship. The art form which had previously been recognised as performance art was becoming more refined and classical as the sculpture quality increased.

Professional chainsaw wood carving reached Australia sometime in the 90’s with the official Australian National Chainsaw Championships. Although a seemingly masculine art form, chainsaw art was immediately adopted by female artists. Female carvers quickly established their own competitions and an international female chainsaw team was formed, titled the ‘Chainsaw Chix’. Australia’s own Angela Polglaze was a pioneer in this female driven art movement. Aside from carving professionally for Australia since 2004, Angela’s career spreads over two decades of chainsaw carving. In these 20 years, she’s noticed some big changes in the scene,

“When I first started I thought I was the only one doing it, but the Internet made the world a smaller place. Things that were being done in days twenty years ago are now being done in one hour carving competitions … There has been progress in the tools but I also think there is a different ilk of crafters coming through. There are carvers with fine art backgrounds now” Angela Polglaze

The tact of the craft has aged like fine wine. Compact chainsaws are now helping artists achieve more delicate and complex wood sculptures. There are also special guide blades that have been developed specifically for chainsaw carvings and constant innovations to the tools have allowed for incremental refinement within the art.

Beginner Chainsaw Carving Tips

The chainsaw craft, like anything that involves chainsaws, is not something you’re going to want to jump blindly into. There are important safety precautions to be considered when approaching wood sculpting, mostly concerning you keeping your own limbs, but there are also tips for looking after your general well-being. One of Angela’s top tips for beginners was to respect the tool;

“People get complacent and they hurt themselves, you have to have a healthy respectful fear of the tool. Don’t carve if you’ve had a beer, don’t carve if you’re tired … Carvers make it look easy, but it’s physical labour.”

Chainsaw carving instructions may also seem pointless to those who think the art form relies entirely on steady hands and intricate cuts. But the craft is more interpretive than you may initially think. Anyone with a chainsaw and a stump can create a wood carving, and just as Mark Rothco sold an untitled painting of two brick-red rectangles for 28 million in 1961, there’s value in your art’s simplicity.

Getting Started

Before starting you should consider purchasing a pair of chainsaw chaps. If you’re going to take chainsaw crafting even relatively seriously, these blade proof pants will form a protective layer that a chainsaw blade just can’t penetrate. Due to the high volume of wood chips being displaced, it would also be a bright idea to invest in some eye goggles. Ear plugs will help too. You’ll probably want a chainsaw as well, they can help. If you haven’t already got one there are hundreds available at Machines4u—the more compact the better but any chainsaw will do for beginners.

Now with the safety considerations out of the way, you can get to cutting. It’s important that you don’t expect too much from your first project. Take your time when carving and if you can, go into the carving process with a drawn plan of what your project will look like. The type of wood you use will also have an impact on the quality of your sculpture. So look for soft woods that won’t crack when being carved. Often sculptures will be made from White Pine, Cedar, Redwood or Silver Maple tree butts. These are the best woods for chainsaw carving and will make your first project a hell of a lot easier to get into.

Australian wood is a different story however, having a completely different native fauna than America and Europe. Angela Polglaze recommends Macrocarpa for carving bigger pieces;

“It’s all a matter of taste, people get hooked on the sentimentality of it all. Native woods are often hard and beat my body up a lot. I personally like Macrocarpa because it doesn’t crack, there’s a lot of big stuff, it is solid all the way through, it also doesn’t bleed sap, it takes finish really well, and its not too heavy or too soft … It’s non-native but it’s all over the coastal areas of Victoria.”

Lessons will help and if you’re living in a city in Australia, they shouldn’t be too hard to locate. If you are determined to go at it alone, try an easy shape first. Something that will help you practice straight carves as well as curved surfaces will be best. A mushroom or a cube can be good beginner projects. And the shape can be further decorated by marking the carving with notches and patterns.

When you are finishing your project you can touch up rough surfaces with a grinder. You may also want to burn darker shades into your piece with a propane torch. Just don’t forget to apply an oil or lacquer to give your project a sweet gloss finish. Or if it’s the kind of project that warrants it, a couple coats of paint.

Chainsaw Carving Techniques

When you’re feeling like you’ve figured out the basics of carving shapes, you might start looking for some insight on how the professionals make their projects look so damn good. Thankfully some of these techniques have been shared. So when you’re done with mushrooms and squares, you can try an intermediate project like a human head. (Remember, if it ends up looking horrible just tell people it’s post-modern abstract).

  • When shaping a head keep scale in mind. A carving of a head will usually be longer than it is wide, with the hairline covering what should be the top tenth;
  • From the beginning of the hairline, position the nose around two thirds towards the chin;
  • At the bridge of the nose position two eyes on either side, about one eye-length apart;
  • Align the corners of the lips with the pupils of the eyes;
  • The nose should branch out to become around one eye wide at the nostrils;
  • Place the ears so they start parallel to the lips and finish at eye brow height.

These instructions are all scale related and better-detailed instructions can be found at Chainsawsculptors.com. Or if you’re a visual learner, take some time with the video below. Just keep in mind, it probably won’t take six minutes for you, at least on your first try.

Other Ways To Get Involved

If you are like me and love the art but just can’t seem to get a grip it, there are plenty of other ways to appreciate the craft. Chainsaw carving competitions and exhibitions regularly take place around Australia. Events like the STIHL Australian Chainsaw Carving Competition has just completed it’s fourth year. Visit the Machines4u events page to find out if there are any shows coming soon to an area near you.

Angela Polglaze herself will be carving with 10 of the world’s best carvers this weekend at the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo in Victoria.

“It’s not going to be a competitive environment so we can just hang out at the event, there will be a lot of camaraderie and less stress than in competition … I’m just gonna carve whatever comes to mind, I saw something on the computer that interested me earlier this week, but it’s all experimentation to me. I’m one of the quirkier carvers ” Angela said about the upcoming event.

If you can’t find anything on near you, there are still hundreds of amazing chainsaw carving videos uploaded to YouTube that showcase the work of some of the best chainsaw artists, and make you feel just that little bit worse about your own ability.

Chainsaw carving is completely unique within sculptor art forms. The finely detailed sculptures are testimony to the skills of chainsaw craftsmen, handling the heavy power tools with absolute finesse.

Wood Bear Carvings – 2 Ways to Carve Out Your Ideas

Bear carvings have been part of North American culture for centuries. The giant creatures have come to represent courage, family, health, strength, and vitality in the mind of the public. Although they are not as cuddly in the wild as they appear in the town zoo. So I can’t recommend you measure one up for your next wood bear carving project. Rather lay your hands on a bear wood carving pattern such as this:

You could use a pattern like that to imagine the potential inside the piece of wood you are holding. We’ll explain in a short while how this works, whether your interest is hand carved, whittled or chainsaw wooden bear carvings. But we first need to consider a spot of carving theory.

Making a Wood Bear Carving is Not Necessarily Something to Rush

Wood carving is such an amazing skill and very underrated; once you cut it, it’s hard to go back. (Jonathan Anderson, Brainy Quotes)

Bear wood carving is a creative and evolving step-by-step process. Whereby you gradually remove surplus wooden material to reveal the shape of the animal in your imagination (or bear pattern). I recommend revealing the head first, and working down. I believe this is the correct approach as outlined in the step by step bear carving outline in the diagram I found.

This mimics the exact method I follow for most of my wooden animal carvings. I’ve learned through trial and error that when I get the head wrong, I may as well begin again. Yet when I get the bear hear right, the rest often falls into place.

Notice also how the diagram above has also positioned the wood carved bear so it fits naturally inside the piece of raw timber. I’ve observed that this results in less material to remove and ultimately discard. Wood is a natural material taken from a living tree. True wood carvers respect its origin by giving it a second life.

Two Distinct Ways to Create Easy Wooden Bear Carvings

Wood carving in its original sense is a gentle art where the final product, not the time it takes, is the true measure of success. Nowadays of course we also have electric powered tools like the Dremel or Foredom, so the wood bear carvings take less time. If power carving tools are more your thing, we cover a range of tools and techniques.

However, if you are a more ambitious and looking to make large wooden bear statues, then you may be interested in the faster chain saw method. This could be your ideal solution if you want to put a large sculpture outside your cabin in the woods. Although we would be less than honest if we claimed this would prevent a wild bear raiding your larder.

So How Do You Whittle a Wooden Bear by Hand?

Making smaller bear carvings is a great way to get started with your new hobby. That’s because you don’t need a full workshop, and you can pack your work away at night. Here’s one way to go about it:

Tools and Materials You Need to Get Started

  • Block of fairly soft wood of the right size. Basswood is a great choice for beginners.
  • Suitable wood carving pattern of a bear.
  • Marker pen like a felt tip pen to lay out the design on the wood.
  • Couple of different-size wood carving knives.
  • Basic Dremel tool kit for finishing the details. Not compulsory of course. Fine sandpaper and fine carving tools are also excellent choices.
  • Pair of comfortable safety gloves and/or thumb guard to protect your hands and fingers during those inevitable quick slips.

Follow Easy Steps to Discover Your Best Bear Wood Carving

  • Get your project off to a good start, by setting your pattern out on the wood with the marker pen. Leave some open space around the design just in case you cut away too much wood. You can fine tune later.
  • Begin by defining the basic proportions of the bear’s head. This is only the first stage of your bear carving. Create the main features not the details, and leave rounded corners for later. You don’t want sharp edges breaking off at this early stage!

3… When you’re ready, move on to roughly defining your bear wood carving’s arms and legs, as you allow the body shape to emerge. Leave the outer edges rounded as your creation assumes the shape you imagined. Now it’s time for the finishing touches!

Use your Dremel tool to work through the wood gently as you discover and find where the features belong. This is one tool you really must have if you want to turn your hobby into a work from home occupation. A leisure activity where rotary hand tools replace effort.

And Now a Drum Roll for a Grand Chainsaw Bear Carving

Chainsaw carving is a fast growing art form that merges modern technology with an ancient craft. It began in the 1950’s, but really took off at the 1980 Lumberjack World Championships when folk discovered the wonderful potential.

Please Don’t Use Your Average Chainsaw for This Wooden Bear Statue

You could get yourself into trouble if you tried this with a chainsaw from your local hardware. That’s because the blades on carving versions are actually ‘guide bards’ with smaller noses. This empowers the user to create some amazing details in their wood bear carving!

over a modification ensures the shorter teeth don’t kick back when attempting a cut. Despite this, we still recommend a course of instruction to ensure safe operation when attempting anything ambitious as this!

Did You Check Out Our Recommended Range of Power Tools Yet?

Best Carving Wood Tools has a researched a range of electric chainsaws and rotary power tools for wood bear carving, and almost anything else you could safely apply your mind to. Perhaps I should mention I am not the average amazon trader who never touched the wood carving tools they sell.

I learned wood carving while I was a kid from my dad and uncle, I’ll never forget the skills and safety tips they shared. When I recommend a product you can be confident I reviewed it personally. I’ll sign off now with another photo of what you could achieve with a piece of wood, and a few decent tools from Best Wood Carving Tools.

Thanks, but I just want to buy a Wood Bear Carving

Ok, ok, so you want to save some time and just skip to buying bear carvings? Or perhaps you’d rather buy a wooden bear to copy for your first try? Both are great choices and we are here to help.

  • Etsy always is a great choice for hand crafted and unique wood products by amazing artists. Perhaps you’re ready to start selling your carvings? Etsy will certainly give you a good idea on how to price your product.
  • Jeff Fleming has been around for over 30 years in the business of creating amazing wooden bear carvings. We think he’s the best of the best, and worth checking out. No, we don’t make any money from referring you to Jeff, his work is amazing and sells itself. Plus we see he can ship around the world now.
  • Of course Amazon has a wide selection of various wood carved bears, wooden bear statues and bear sculptures for gift ideas like the one below. Buying a cheap one to copy with your first whittled bear project and can be much to follow easier than a 2-dimensional pattern.

Wood Carving Ideas – Carving Projects for Every Skill Level

These days, there are various hobbies that you can choose from. You could try resin casting, fabric arts, or even painting. However, all of these hobbies require an array of specialized equipment that you could end up paying a pretty penny for. If you’re looking for a hobby that will allow you to be as creative as you want to be without the need for too much equipment you should consider trying out wood carving. Wood carving isn’t only one of the world’s oldest pastimes, but it’s a great way to express your creativity and practice your attention to detail. All you need is knife, some chisels and a wooden mallet. Many professionals and newcomers to the craft have claimed that wood carving can be rather therapeutic to boot, so let’s have a look at what exactly wood carving is and what some of the best wood carving ideas out there are.

  • 1 What Is Wood Carving?
  • 2 Wood Carving Ideas
  • 2.1 Beginner Wood Carving Projects
  • 2.1.1 A Wooden Spoon Set
  • 2.1.2 A Wooden Bowl
  • 2.1.3 A Wooden Animal Set
  • 2.1.4 A Wooden Chess Set
  • 2.1.5 A Chip Carving
  • 2.1.6 A Wooden Heart
  • 2.1.7 A Spiral Tree
  • 2.2.1 A Wooden Flower
  • 2.2.2 A Wooden Coaster Set
  • 2.2.3 A Wooden Ornament Set
  • 2.2.4 A Relief Carving
  • 2.2.5 A Wooden Bird
  • 2.2.6 A Wood Spirit Carving
  • 2.2.7 A Lamp Base
  • 2.2.8 A Wooden Jewelry Piece
  • 2.3.1 A Wooden Wind Instrument
  • 2.3.2 A Wooden Car
  • 2.3.3 A Wooden Bust
  • 2.3.4 A Wooden Bird House
  • 2.3.5 A Wooden Water Feature
  • 2.3.6 A Wooden Whirligig
  • 2.3.7 A Wooden Table
  • 2.3.8 A Wooden Tricycle
  • 2.3.9 A Fairy Tree House
  • 3.1 Is Wood Carving Difficult?
  • 3.2 How Long Does It Take to Make a Wood Carving?
  • 3.3 Is Wood Carving a Good Skill?

What Is Wood Carving?

Before we have a look at what some of the best wood carving ideas are, let’s have a look at what exactly wood carving is. Wood carving has been around for a really long time, and when we say really long, we mean really long. Wood carving has existed for pretty much as long as people have, and this is because ever since we discovered how malleable wood is we’ve been fashioning it into different shapes.

This being said, wood carving ideas started with something as simple as a spear, or something as gentle as a carving of a woolly mammoth for early human children to play with. Of course, they didn’t have nearly as many tools as we have available to use today, but they managed to pull off impressive feats with not much more than a sharp rock and some ingenuity.

If we move a little bit further forward in time, you can see more intricate and objectively complete examples of woodwork in Europe during the Middle Ages. German, Italian, French, and Russian cultures have shown rather impressive examples of wood carving in this area, depicting both religious iconography, children’s characters, and caricatures of friends and family.

African, Asian, and Polynesian cultures have had wood carving ideas even more intricate, well before this period. Everything from tribal figureheads to fertility statues have been crafted from wood, and they were transported, traded and even sold to traders who visited from across the seas.

By definition, wood carving is the act of shaping wood by hand, whether by use of cutting tools like a knife or by use of a chisel. This is usually seen as a branch of woodwork in general and typically takes some time and skill to develop. Wood carving is a skill that involves lots of attention to detail and it’s a highly respected skill all over the world.

It’s also highly transferable to various high-end industries, so learning wood carving can benefit you in the long run, and even if you never use it outside of carving things for yourself, it’s pretty fun. Now that you know what wood carving is, let’s have a look at some wood carving ideas you can use for a whole host of things that you can use, gift, or simply admire.

Wood Carving Ideas

Since wood carving has been such an influential part of human history, we thought we’d put together a short list of really cool wood carving ideas for you to have a look at. We’ve arranged them from easy to slightly more challenging so you can pick a project suited to your level of skill and confidence.

Beginner Wood Carving Projects

Beginner wood carving projects are usually pretty easy to do and don’t require quite as much attention to detail as others do. All you need is a little bit of imagination, some simple wood carving tools (usually just a carving knife) and you’re pretty much good to go! So without further ado let’s have a look at some easy wood carving projects you can do in your spare time as a hobby or as a small business to create some extra income.

A Wooden Spoon Set

Wood carving for beginners shouldn’t be too challenging, and what’s less challenging than a spoon? Besides, they’re pretty neat and you can use them or prop them up in a nice bowl as a cool ornate decoration. Spoons are pretty easy to make because you don’t need to try really hard to get any of the proportion’s sizes or depth of the spoon’s bowl perfectly.

Another reason that spoons are a good starting point for wood carving for beginners is that you can give them to your friends and loved ones as gifts and bathe in their (hopefully) positive feedback on your new hobby. Feel free to make these spoons in any shapes, size, length, and even color that you want, just don’t forget to seal them before they come into contact with foodstuff.

A Wooden Bowl

In terms of easy wood carving ideas, it doesn’t get a lot easier than a wooden bowl. In a way, these are even simpler than carving spoons because you don’t have to carve a handle and you can make them into pretty much any shape or size you can think of. So, what do you need to carve a wooden bowl? Well, for starters, a decently sized wooden block.

A pro tip is to use a wooden block made from a wood that is easy to cut through as you’ll be removing most of the material. Wooden bowls can be decorated with painting, wood stains, patterns, engraving, and even little trinkets. These easy wood carving ideas get you the best bang for your buck because they don’t require any special tools and you can do pretty much anything you want with them.

A Wooden Animal Set

Do you have a love for animals? Do you have little ones going through their animal obsession phase? Well, this might be the carving idea for you! Animals are a great easy beginner wood sculpture project for those of you looking to cut your teeth in sculpting forms. Animal forms are always a good way to start because they don’t need loads of detail to be instantly recognizable.

If you’re looking for some inspiration you should try sites like Esty or Dogs are always the go-to, but if you feel like being a bit more original you should try birds like owls, or sea critters like seals or fish (if you feel like leaving or the scales, we won’t blame you). These make awesome gifts for family and friends, or you can keep them as your personal totems! Animals are the ultimate easy beginner wood sculpture.

A Wooden Chess Set

Chess, like wood carving, is one of the world’s oldest pastimes and hand-crafted chess sets carry with them a sense of sentimentality and character that you just don’t get with the store-bought variety. They’re great small wood carving ideas and they’ll allow you to practice your attention to detail if you’re just getting started with the craft.

If you’re worried about the pieces being distinguishable you don’t have to make each piece completely different. Simply making the head of each piece noticeably different is enough to make a full chess set, and of course, for pieces like the king and queen, it does help to make them a bit taller to give them a sense of authority.

A Chip Carving

Other great small wood carving ideas are chip carving pieces. Chip carving is the practice of carving out indents and patterns on the surface of a wooden board. This style of wood carving originated in Germany, and all you need to get started is a chip carving knife (or any carving tool that allows you to chip away at wood incrementally).

The best part about chip carving is that you aren’t carving in three dimensions, think of it as drawing or pyrography without the need for a pyrography pen. You can make pretty much anything you can imagine, from a Dahlia to animals, and if you’re really skilled you can even carve portraits into wood. These make for awesome conversation pieces and great gifts for friends and loved ones.

A Wooden Heart

The heart has been a symbol for many things throughout time but in our day and age. It primarily symbolizes love. Sure, you could make a heart out of epoxy resin, but ones made out of wood have a nice personal touch. Whether this is because of wood’s texture or warmth is up for debate, but it’s pretty safe to say that they’re neat.

They also make great beginner wood carving projects. These are pretty simple to make, and the best part is they don’t take a load of material to make. All you need is a moderately sized piece of wood and a carving knife to get started, plus you can decorate them with symbols, inscriptions, shapes, and dates, and even add a bit of color to them with paint or wood stain.

A Spiral Tree

If you’re looking to take your carving skills beyond simple forms and want to explore things like depth and perspective, we think that you’d do well to try out a spiral tree. These look really cool and they’re actually a lot simpler to make than they might first appear. All you need to do is FOCUS and plan accordingly, and before you know it, you’ll have a full spiral tree to show off to your friends and family.

If you’re feeling unconfident from the offset there are loads of little tutorials to show you how to mark your workpiece and carve in a step-by-step process, which cuts the learning curve in half in our opinion. Not only are these really cool to look at but they’re awesome conversation pieces and gifts for your friends and family too.

Intermediate Wood Carving Projects

Intermediate wood carving projects are for those who have had some time to develop their skills but need something a bit more interesting or challenging compared to beginner wood carving ones. These tend to be a bit more intricate in design and their required execution, but not so frustrating that they’ll have you scratching your head in frustration. This being said, let’s have a look at a few that you can try on your own.

A Wooden Flower

Wooden flowers are simple wood carvings that will allow you to expand on your attention to detail. Usually, the goal of these carvings is to get them as close to the real thing in terms of detail as possible, so you’ll be spending your time carving out little veins and getting the positioning of the petals just right.

Although they can take some time to perfect, these simple wood carvings are well worth the end result. These can be used as beautiful centerpieces or as great gifts for pretty much any occasion. Whether you’re carving out a delicate lily, or a prim and proper rose we’re fairly certain that you’ll end up surprising yourself with how stunning these wood flowers can turn out.

A Wooden Coaster Set

A wooden coaster is a good place for you to develop your wood carving basics. Carving the initial shape of coasters is pretty easy but getting the proportions and girth of the coaster can be a bit challenging so be sure to look out for this. Coasters are also cool because they can be made out of basically any wood type.

Coasters are a great way to develop both your attention to detail and to practice consistency. This is because coasters are usually found in sets and even if their markings/decorations are different. Decorating your coasters can be loads of fun, they can be engraved, painted, stained, or you can transfer photos of your friends, family, and even pets onto them!

A Wooden Ornament Set

If you had fun making wood animal carvings, then you can take your carving game to the next level by trying your hand at some wooden ornaments. These are awesome, especially around the Christmas and Halloween seasons when hanging decorations are the most popular, or you could make some cool decorations for your home year-round!

How to Chainsaw Carve An Axe … Chainsaw carving for beginners

Wooden ornaments are essentially more detail-oriented versions of wooden animals, and you can even make them animal-shaped if you’d like. You might need a few more wood carving tools besides a carving knife to pull this off though so be sure to check out a few tutorials before you begin your ornament carving journey.

A Relief Carving

Relief carvings are a lot like chip carving except instead of the negative space creating the impression of forms the positive space does. Think of it as a three-dimensional shape pressed onto a flat surface. A good relief can give the impression of a complete solid form despite being no more than a few inches thick. Reliefs are actually one of the oldest forms of wood carving.

You will need a bit more wood carving tools besides your trusty carving knife as the attention to detail needed to make reliefs can be a bit intense. Relief art typically depicts a scene from the past to commemorate the event or to pass commentary on it, so it should come as no surprise that some of the earliest examples of relief art depict religious scenes and cultural ceremonies.

A Wooden Bird

Carving a wooden bird can be done both simplistically and with higher attention to detail. Normally what separates the two is the expanding of the bird’s wings which can be a bit tricky to pull off as you need to ensure that the bird is both anatomically and proportionally correct. You can pull this off with a simple carving knife but if you intend on carving feathers into the wingspan you might need other tools.

Birds are an awesome wood carving project that can be done as a hobby or sold to make some extra cash. These can be fashioned into anything from ornaments to baby mobiles so don’t limit yourself to one pose or posture for your carvings. If you’re going to be putting loads of attention to detail into these, you can take things a step further and paint the carvings to resemble their real-life counterparts.

A Wood Spirit Carving

Wooden carvings have been used for thousands of years to represent spirits that were important to native people. These were often carried with hunters and gatherers to protect them from the elements and bring them good luck. Others were revered in shrines and prayed to in hopes of bringing a good harvest season.

No matter what spiritual practice you subscribe to (if one at all) these are really interesting pieces to carve out as they often carry with them a sense of importance while bringing a space together. They require a bit of skill to pull off in some instances so be careful not to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to the moderately sized ones as they can look deceptively simple.

A Lamp Base

Table lamps provide the opportunity to bring a variety of forms, shapes and materials into your home. Some can be minimal. while others can be highly ornate. A wooden hand carved lamp base is pretty much guaranteed to transform a functional object into an artwork. Add one of those modern light bulbs that was designed to look like a vintage one to complete the look.

The trick with these is to make sure that the wiring is absolutely correct, or your new masterpiece could burn down the house. Fortunately, you can now buy entire lighting kits that are designed for safety and are extremely easy to use.

A Wooden Jewelry Piece

While resin jewelry seems to be all of the rage right now, wooden jewelry simply cannot be beat. Accessorizing with wooden jewelry has the ability to give any outfit a level of depth that simply isn’t there with resin or conventional jewelry. This being said you can integrate pretty much any design into wood carving accessories, including shapes, animals, symbols, letters, numbers, and even religious symbols.

There are loads of examples of this on social media if you’re looking for inspiration, and you can diversify your carvings by making different pieces of jewelry. You can make pretty much anything you put your mind to, from bracelets, to necklaces, to wooden chokers, and even wooden rings if you feel up to it.

Difficult Wood Carving Projects

These wood carving projects are intended for those who have mastered the use of their tools, depth, perspective, and proportions, and are looking for a new challenge. While these won’t have you pulling at your hair with frustration, they can be a bit tricky to pull off so be sure to check your markings and not to bite off more than you can chew with some of these. With enough practice you may even one day accumulate enough skill to attempt a full-scale wood carving in the manner of the great woodcarving masters.

A Wooden Wind Instrument

Wind instruments have been at the cornerstone of high-end wood carving for thousands of years, well before wood carving even became a recognized trade. This makes sense considering that people have liked music for pretty much as long as we could hear the world around us, so why not try your hand at making a whistle, flute or even an ocarina?

This does take some skill and at least a little bit of understanding regarding how a flute should sound note for note so be sure to check sources online for an example of two. This is a really cool wood carving project, plus it could lead you into an entirely new hobby! Be sure to finish your instrument with the appropriate treatment, and pick the right wood for the job.

A Wooden Car

Are we suggesting you make a life-size wooden car with working parts? No. Would it be extremely impressive if you did? Yes. Although, based on the amount of wood you’d need we’re going to assume that you’re making a model of one, which is far easier and would take far fewer man-hours to accomplish than the aforementioned.

If you’re happy with your wood carving basics and feel that you have a good eye for swooping lines, then this is the wood carving project for you. Whether you’re carving out classics or modern automobiles they’re sure to look stunning, plus, if you’re looking to make some extra money there is a huge market for these!

A Wooden Bust

Busts are usually made out of marble, but they can be made out of pretty much any material malleable enough to be carved and retain detail. Wooden busts are less common and a little bit more impressive considering that wood can be a bit more challenging to work with, not to mention the level of craftsmanship required to pull this off.

Wooden busts and reliefs fall into more or less the same vein as far as the art form is concerned as they’ve both been done for thousands of years by cultures all over the world. You will need to learn how to accurately depict facial expressions, wrinkles, muscle tension, accurately depict the proportions of facial features, and even things like hair when attempting a bust.

A Wooden Bird House

Previously we covered loads of little wood carving ideas that have a practical application, so why not have a look at some big ones too? Birdhouses are pretty cool, giving birds a safe place to eat and even bathe if you’re generous with your design. These are easy to make if you’re designing them in pieces and putting them together, but they can be a bit more challenging when you’re carving them as one complete piece.

Carving a birdhouse can be challenging and time-consuming so don’t think that you can knock this one out on a Sunday afternoon. You will need to plan adequately and have the correct tools for the job, but it’s well worth it considering the end result. Before you know it you’ll have a brand new birdhouse for you and your little feathery friends to enjoy.

A Wooden Water Feature

This is more of a wooden construction than a carving project, but keeping with the theme of wood carving ideas that you can use, why not add a water feature to the same space you’ll be using your birdhouse in? These can range from quite simple, to highly complex. In addition to some engineering, you will also need an external water pump and you’ll pretty much be good to go! These water pumps can be purchased at most hardware and pet stores too.

Water features have a way of adding a sense of tranquility to your home or garden, after all the sound of running water is one of the most calming sounds out there. These can be made as small, big, or complex as you like too, so don’t be afraid to test your skill if you’re going to give one of these a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised.

A Wooden Whirligig

These are another example of traditional garden wooden sculpture that has been handed down through generations. Whirligigs are awesome, they are essentially little windmills that use the wind to automate a wooden figure, and have been a traditional feature of American gardens for years. The variety of whirligig designs are endless as is the potential to introduce a sense of fun, movement, and artistry into your garden.

Whirligigs can be made in any shape or size too which means that you don’t need to limit yourself to making loads of little ones. In fact, you can make one really big one that plays musical notes too! These can take a bit of planning to execute correctly, but the end result is well worth the patience and effort in our opinion.

A Wooden Table

If you’re looking for a long-term wood carving project, then why not consider a wooden table? These are always a good addition to any modern home, and you have the benefit of making one exactly the way you want it instead of buying one from a retailer. Wooden tables can take some time to make but they’re well worth the patience and elbow grease.

If you want to save yourself some time you can use power tools to cut the rough shape of the table and mark the finer details before you dig in with a Dremel and carving knife. The cool thing about these is that the possibilities are pretty much endless. Your table can be any shape and size, and you get to choose the finish and inlays if you’re so inclined

A Wooden Tricycle

Do you have kids? Do you know someone that has kids? Do you like spreading joy? Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, we have the perfect wood carving project for you! Making a wooden tricycle can be a bit tricky but you’ll likely find that it is actually a lot easier than you think it might be. These are awesome and they’re sure to give whoever they’re gifted some great childhood memories.

All you need is a couple of wood boards and some basic wood carving tools and you’ll pretty much be good to go. To spruce things up feel free to add things like paint and stickers to your tricycle for the little ones to get excited over. These can take a bit of time to plan out, but the execution often goes quicker than expected.

A Fairy Tree House

Now this one is pretty ambitious but it’s well worth the effort. If you’re interested in making a home for all of the little sprites in your garden and you feel like you have the patience and tools for it, why not give it a go? Fairy tree houses are awesome, they add an air of magic to any home garden, and they make a cozy home for woodland critters!

This is an ideal project if you have an old stump laying around and you’re trying to figure out what to do with it. This can take some exceptionally intricate planning and use of paint but in the end, there’s nothing quite like them. They’re really fun to make too, so if you have little ones why not rope them into this awesome little project and plant the idea of wood carving in their little minds at a young age?

Now that you know what wood carving is, how long it’s been around, and have some ideas for beginner, intermediate and difficult wood carving ideas it’s time for you to get out there and put your newfound knowledge to the test. Remember to always consider how long your project will take and to always ensure that you have the right tools for the job before you get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Wood Carving Difficult?

Is wood carving difficult? The difficulty is relative, but pretty much anyone can learn how to carve wood as long as you’re willing to dedicate time to your craft. Patience is a big part of wood carving, and through experience, you’ll be able to see your skill level increase over time.

How Long Does It Take to Make a Wood Carving?

Wondering how long it takes to make a wood carving? This does depend on your level of skill, but a beginner typically takes around two or three hours to make a simple wood carving. This does depend on their level of skill and the intricacy of the carving though.

Is Wood Carving a Good Skill?

Wood carving has been around for thousands of years, and it has come a really long way, intermingling with other crafts and professions. Wood carving is an extremely valuable skill, especially if you’re proficient at it, so it’s definitely a good skill to have.

I have been into woodworking since 2005 and woodturning since 2011. Because of my love for wood and woodworking, I started woodhappen.com to teach other enthusiasts about how to finish and seal wood, the best woodworking tools, the different types of wood, and everything else related to woodworking! Read more about me here.