Simple wood carving projects

Simple wood carving projects
It is right to start your wood carving hobby from the simple wood carving projects. It will help you to get acquainted with technics and wood characteristics on practice. And it will be a good beginning for you!
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Simple wood carving projects

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 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 are a complete beginner, we strongly recommend getting familiar with the basics of wood carving like the types of cuts, best kinds of wood to use, techniques, and ways of finishing your wood carving.

Chip carving patterns

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 practice patterns

Chip carving is not so 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.

Unlike carving in the round which is the traditional kind of wood carving such as carving gnomes, chip carving only has 3 types of cuts that are:

3 corner chip
Straight line cut
Curvy line cut

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 knife

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.

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 hook knife that you can find on, 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.

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.

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.

Small animals

Carving small figures 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.
wood carving animals for beginners

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 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.
wood carving chess set patterns

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.
You only need a carving knife for this project, although, chisels could be used if you want to add some ornament or a weird design to your pawn. In most cases, however, one knife is just enough. 

Bowls and plates

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.
how to make wooden plates

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.

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.