9 Super Simple Beginner Wood Carving Projects

beginner wood carving projects

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 was started my wood carving carrier, I did some research to find out What are Beginner Wood Carving Projects that everyone can follow easily with a lot of new techniques.

From this article, we’re going to talk deeply about 9 Beginner Wood Carving Projects.

  1. Wood carving spoon
  2. Whittling a simple bunny
  3. 5-minute wizard
  4. Whiskey barrel
  5. A flower
  6. An owl
  7. Carve a heart
  8. A cat
  9. Carve a simple bowl

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

  • Estimated time needed for the project
  • What wood is best for the project
  • What tools you need

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.

1. 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.

Best Wood for Carving Spoon:

Hardwoods, such as

  • Poplar
  • Paper Birch
  • Maple
  • Cherry
  • Black Walnut
  • Apple

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

2. 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.

Best Wood for Whittling Bunny:

Softwoods such as,

  • Basswood
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Aspen
  • Butternut
  • Balsa wood

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

3. 5-Minute Wizard

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.

Best Wood for 5-Minute Wizard:

Softwoods such as,

  • Basswood
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Aspen
  • Butternut
  • Balsa wood

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

4. 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 pocket 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.

Best Wood for carving Whiskey Barrel:

  • Birch
  • Basswood
  • Pine

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 pocket knife
  • Pen, pencil, or maker.
  • Tung oil or walnut oil as Finisher
  • Protective gloves and thumb guard
  • 400 grit sandpaper

5. 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. This makes the wood easy to handle.

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.

Best Wood for Whittling a Flower:

Softwoods such as,

  • Basswood
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Beech
  • Butternut
  • Balsa wood

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

6. 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.

Best Wood for Carving an Owl:

Softwoods such as,

  • Basswood
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Beech
  • Butternut
  • Balsa wood

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

7. 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.

Read: Danish Oil Advantages and Disadvantages – All You Need to Know!

Best Wood for Carving a Heart:

Softwoods such as,

  • Basswood
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Beech
  • Butternut
  • Balsa wood

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

8. 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.

  1. Draw the simple sketch
  2. Outline the cuts
  3. Rough the body
  4. Shape the back of the head
  5. Add ears and details
  6. Add the cattail
  7. Finish the touches
  8. Apply the finisher or painting

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!

Best Wood for Carve a Cat:

Softwoods such as,

  • Basswood
  • White Pine
  • Cedar
  • Beech
  • Butternut
  • Balsa wood

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

9. 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.

Best Wood for Carve a Bowl:

Softwoods such as,

  • Basswood
  • White Pine
  • Cedar
  • Beech
  • Butternut
  • Balsa wood

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

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.

  1. A knife
  2. A strop
  3. A piece of wood is well enough for a beginner.

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

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.

Start with easy projects are going through them until becoming 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.

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