20 Easy Beginner Wood Carving Projects

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Making a hobby with wood carving is an excellent way to refine your skills and have fun simultaneously. It may seem like a daunting task, but with the right projects, you will get the hang of it in no time. 

To help you out, our pro woodworkers have shared their recommended beginner wood carving projects.

20 Easy Wood Carving Projects

#1: Wooden Spoon

Wooden Spoon

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

Carving wood to make a spoon is a very easy beginner project. It’s not restrictive, and it utilizes a combination of features, techniques, and decorative methods to achieve your desired look. 

Keep on working and revisiting your wooden spoon to carve and add some details. If you’re starting out, we advise keeping your wood spoon design simple to avoid botching your first project. You can also do several of these, as spoon carving will need just a few hours to be finished. 

#2: Bowl

bowl

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

Making a bowl is simple and is a good way to start wood carving. It may not be as popular as other kitchen utensils like spoons, but bowls make for nice decorations. 

This is another carving hobby that follows the same cutting and whittling skills as that of a spoon. One difference is that this one requires a bigger block of wood. 

#3: Mini Whiskey Barrel

Mini Whiskey Barrel

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

A mini whiskey barrel is another fun project that’s not overwhelming for novices. Use the hook knife to the barrel that will hold liquid. Also use a small pocket knife or wood carving knife to shape and decorate the barrel. 

The last wooden barrel is finished with tung oil and allowed to dry for a few days. Once finished, the barrel can be used as a good table accessory or can be used to take a shot of liquor.

#4: Kuksa Cup

Kuksa Cup

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

The kuksa cup, or guksi, is a Norwegian drinking cup carved from a single block of birch. Continue to carve at the cup to get the ideal design.

This functional cup will complete the feeling of being a Viking. There is no limit to crafting a Kuska cup. You can do many designs that can result in a beautiful cup. 

#5: Basic Bunny

bunny

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

Wooden rabbits or any small animals are fun beginner wood carving projects. You can start with a basic shape and continue to chisel away at forming details. 

Several iterations of a basic bunny can help you gauge your carving skills. This project can be accomplished under an hour and can instantly boost your confidence. 

You can use the basic bunny as an accessory, paperweight, and keyholder. You can make one by utilizing carving knives and gouging tools. 

#6: Simple Bird

bird

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

A simple bird is a fun little project. Creating one will help you start carving as a hobby. It involves playful, stunning, and intricate artistry. To make one you need to make chiseled edges, irregular curves, and patterns of exact spots and stripes. 

#7: Wizard Face

wizard face

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

Carving a wizard face from a flat piece of timber is simple. There is no need to have advanced woodcarving skills, especially since this is one of those whittling projects that are easy to do. 

This project will expect your dedicated attention and skill in carving facial features like wrinkles. Wizard faces are not only considered in fairy tales but can also be considered Santa’s faces on Christmas. This can also be given as a gift during this holiday.

#8: Wooden Flower

wooden flower

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

A fairy forest collection will be complete with some flowers. This beginner wood carving project can be built and crafted with just a block of lumber and hand tools. There are many ways to pull off a wooden flower, and the more three-dimensional it appears, the more skills it requires.

Attention to detail is also required when carving out a flower from wood. More pronounced petals and little detail may require more skill to create a flower with a romantic flair.

#9: Mini Owl

owl

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

Forest birds such as owls are considered basic projects. Furthermore, they are very interesting pieces that come out from carving wood. Owls are iconic, and no one will second guess their identity. 

They are a good beginner piece, especially with the flexibility and details you can add to them. Not only will these improve your skills, but they can also make a good gift.

#10: Cat

wooden cat

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

The good thing about carving animals is that simple techniques can be easily applied to another. Carving cats from wood is no different. 

Cats have distinct features making them easy to recognize when done by a beginner. And making a wooden cat is generally easier, with fewer details to consider.

You do not need a lot of tools to accomplish this whole project. You can do this beginner woodworking project anywhere, even in the comfort of your own living room.

#11: Gnome

gnome

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

Treat this woodworking project as a gradation item. A wooden gnome requires a lot of patience to carve out its details. It is normal to start with a rough shape. It gets better with every detail added to it. 

It can stand independently and be added to your fairy-themed forest collection. In addition, once you finish carving a gnome, you can call yourself an expert.

You can gift the gnome you have crafted or sell it off. Gnomes are almost always featured in gardens. It is an adorable accessory to add to your garden.  

#12: Gnome House

gnome house

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Recommended Wood Type

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Making a gnome house will boost your profile as a wood carver. Slowly carve your way through this woodworking project to achieve the desired look of the gnome house.

You can easily make a profit from these carved gnome houses. Several iterations of the gnome house will help you develop skillsets to make huts and sheds and their variations. 

#13: Wooden Heart

heart

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

A wooden heart is considered a whittling project. Short and straight motions can help you carve the body shape of a heart out of wood. Whittling a heart from wood helps develop your geometric whittling and transition to creating curves. 

You can accomplish this simple project by using scraps of wood. It is a fantastic way of making use of leftovers and will make a great Valentine’s day present. 

#14: Chip Carving

chip carving

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You may also do some carving on the surface of the wood, using chip carving and relief carving techniques. It involves making small cuts and chips following wood carving patterns on the wood surface. 

Three wood carving skills should be mastered to be excellent in chip carving, which are: straight-line cut, curvy line cut, and three corner chip. You can also try a combination of techniques such as a v-cut,  pyramid cut, and relief carving for this project. 

You can start with easy designs and gradually move to more complicated ones. Chip carving also spruces up the handles of wooden spoons. You can also use chip carvings to modify wooden pieces such as a clock, chopping board, bracelets, and pendants. 

#15: Whistle

whistle

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Recommended Wood Type

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If you like to go outdoors, then making a whistle is for you. One of the most simple wood carving designs to do. Making a whistle involves basic whittling and cutting styles. 

However, making this whistle does not assure that it will make a sound. There are many ways to make this project, but the easiest one is the willow whistle.

#16: Pawn

pawn

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Recommended Wood Type

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Mastering a board game such as a game of chess takes a great deal of time and talent. But making chess pieces, on the other hand, is easy and takes no time at all. 

Making a pawn is a simple wood carving project you can easily do. It is an advantage if you know how to make round edges. The next thing you know, you have multiple pieces and a complete chess set. 

#17: Chopsticks

chopsticks

Tools and Materials

Recommended Wood Type

Time to Complete

Making chopsticks may not seem like a woodworking project, but indeed, it is. Compared to spoon carving, it is a slightly challenging project, especially when making them perfectly round. 

But, making your own chopsticks greatly will save you the number of disposable chopsticks in your drawers.

You need to use different grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface. Sand the surface carefully since it tends to remove as much wood as a carving knife. All wood products are food safe wood finish once fully cured.   

#18: Mini Ax

ax

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Carving a miniature ax is a good addition to your garden or fairy forest-themed collection. This is a cool gift for your peers and an adorable gift for small children. 

There is no limit to the design of these carving projects. These axes can be further fashioned into letter openers, keychains, action figure accessories, and stamp handles, to name a few.  

#19: Letter Opener

letter opener

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In the age of calls and texts, handwritten letters don’t come as frequently as they do. When these letters come, what better way to open these letters than with a letter opener when they come. This is a stylish way of opening letters you can make from wood.

#20: Wood Sign

wood sign

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You can turn a block of wood into a unique wood sign. Making your own sign with a series of basic cuts is more elegant than the manufactured signs that tend to be cheap and flimsy. This is among the most straightforward carving projects you can try without using a lot of tools.  

What Beginner Tools Do You Need for Wood Carving? + Safety Tips to Know

There are a few things to bear in mind when taking on several wood carving projects for beginners. As beginners, you need to have the right tools and learn the basic steps to start your woodcarving hobby and craft projects without difficulty. 

wood carving materials and tools

Adding some tools to your toolset to help you start your journey. As your skills grow, you will also have more tools. Some of these tools include the following:

  1. Carving knives
  2. Carving mallet
  3. Chisels
  4. Gouges
  5. Veiners
  6. V-tools
  7. Bench Knives
  8. Rasps & rifflers

You should also have some safety tools and equipment with you before starting on a good project. Some tools include safety goggles and gloves. It is also best to sharpen your tools regularly for safety and performance. 

Wood Carving Styles

Beginners should also be familiar with the different woodcarving styles. Here are a few:

Whittling

Whittling [1]  is a carving technique that refers to the art of carving shapes out of wood. Whittling involves the use of a knife only. It is not easy to perform and is generally easy as long as you have the right tools and wood.

whittling tools

Relief Wood Carving

Relief wood carving or relief carving is a specific type of wood carving where figures are carved in a flat panel of wood. The resulting wood from relief carving gives the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane.

Chip Carving

Chip carving is drawing patterns on a wood surface using a knife blade. A knife or a chisel is used to remove small chips of material from the wood. 

Carving in the Round

Carving in the round refers to the type of wood carving that results in the representation of real-life sceneries in 3 dimensions. Due to its 3 dimension nature, you can view it from any direction.

What is the Easiest Wood to Carve?

Several wood types are easy to carve, one of which is basswood. Basswood is considered a soft wood. It is popular when woodworking since it is extremely soft and crisp and works exceptionally well with different hand tools. 

woods for carving

European lime is also considered one of the easiest wood to carve. Despite being a hardwood, European lime can easily be carved into, since it is soft and crisp as well. 

Where Do I Start With Wood Carving as a Novice?

As a novice, you need to know the different types of wood for carving, tools, techniques, and safety precautions. It is best to do your research before embarking on any project. 

How Do I Train Myself With Wood Carving Techniques?

You can improve your wood carving techniques by practicing with easy projects. It is easy to learn wood carving, and every iteration of a project, big or small, will help refine your techniques. Make sure to choose the right wood for your project and sharpen your tools frequently. 

FAQ

Is wood carving difficult?

Wood carving is not difficult, especially if you put the work into it. Anyone has the capacity to learn how to carve wood. It takes a lot of patience, time, and commitment to master wood carving. There are a lot of other projects to refine your skills. 

Is walnut good for beginners?

Walnut is a good piece of wood for beginners. Walnut is known to be soft, inexpensive, and has little to no grain, which makes them a versatile material for an easy project. 

Conclusion

Cutting and carving away wood is one of the oldest crafts to create a figure or a pattern. It is more than just a hobby but is also a form of self-expression. As a novice, you can do it for fun or do it as a business. It may seem difficult at first, but there are several easy and simple wood carving projects to help you refine your skills and get better at carving wood. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson

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