Wood carving tips for beginners

Wood carving tips for beginners

In every sphere there are some tips that help you to become better in it. And we have some wood carving tips for beginners we want to share with you in this blog. 

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Wood carving tips for beginners

Wood carving is a rewarding, creative craft that doesn’t require a lot of equipment, of course, unless you love to collect tools. All you need is a piece of wood and a carving knife to get started. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to carve wood or are a seasoned woodcarver, below are essential woodcarving tips for any level to keep bookmarked.

wood carving techniques for beginners

Understand different wood types 

Before you ever bring a chisel or knife to the edge of a block, you need to know what you’re working with.

There are only so many types of wood available for wood carving, and each of them has differences that are important to know.

For instance, pine is cheap and technically a softwood, whereas oak is pricier and a hardwood. Softwood is surprisingly easy to injure yourself on.

It’s common for there to be more knots in the wood that catch the knife, so you apply extra pressure, and then the wood comes away and your finger is caught in the crossfire.

Some wood types will strictly be used to practice on or make knick-knacks, and others will be turned into end tables and that dining table that you’re going to pass down through generations.

You are never at your best

It might not sound too motivational, but it is.

Wood carving, or any other intricate and complicated skill is usually compared to learning how to play guitar.

With guitar, there’s this skill plateau that people usually hit well before they’re at where they want to be. This is frustrating, and it happens in wood carving as well.

It’s okay to accept the fact that you are never at your best; you will always get better.

There will be stagnant periods along the way, but during those tough times, this is an important tip to remember.

Whether it’s about dexterity or you can’t scale up those designs properly, you’re going to get through it.

As a matter of fact, this next tip is going to come in handy when you’re trying to get proportions right.


It’s not easy. Whether you’re carving a gnome statue or a desktop wooden figurine, it’s not easy to proportion.

Even if you can proportion just fine on paper with a sketch or some art, it’s not necessarily going to transcend over to wood carving (it will help, but only so much).

This is because, if you were carving a face out of a log, you’re going to naturally make it disproportionate on one side.

That’s because we all have a dominant side. Even ambidextrous people will use one side over the other a little bit.

If you use your non-dominant side to outline and begin the process of carving, you’ll be able to finish it with your dominant side.

Learn wood burning at the same time

Wood burning is ridiculously easy to pick up, and it’s the perfect augmentation for your carved art pieces.

Use it to accent what you already have going on. Did you carve a tiki face into the side of a planter like we have laid out in our beginner projects below?

Great enhance it. It’s a great skill to add on and bring your carvings to life.

Make abstract art

You never know what you’re creating until it’s finished. You’re always one small mistake from ruining the vision (and subsequent hours of work).

Now don’t get us wrong, it’s good to go into this with an idea of what you should be making. Otherwise, how would you tackle intricate projects?

But it’s also good to just pick up a scrap block of wood every once in a while, and freehand it. No vision, just whittling or carving for the love of it.

You’ll find that you either just add to your experience with handling these tools, or you make something fantastic.

If you stop and realize you’re making a plaque and didn’t even know it, then you can change course and finish that plaque. Let it take you wherever.