Start Your Woodcarving Hobby with Just One Tool

Give this hobby a try with a great household tool you may already have in your arsenal—the utility knife. Woodcarving is a hobby that can be both fun and relaxing, and here is a great way to get started with just a few tips and techniques using your utility knife as a woodcarving tool.

  • Choose a Pattern: First chose a pattern that you want to carve and transfer it onto a piece of wood. A piece of carbon paper works well for transferring. Trace over your pattern onto the wood with the carbon paper in between. For your first carving, start with a soft wood like pine, bass, or soft maple (found at most hardware or craft stores).
  • Cut Out your Image: Next, make sure to make a stop cut around your image. Simply cut around the outline of your pattern to prevent unwanted chipping. It will also help keep your image outline clean looking. Now make your pattern pop off of the wood by carving out the background with your woodcarving tools. With your blade at a shallow angle, cut the wood all around your pattern. Continue by carving around the outlines in the middle of your pattern to create the next level of details.
  • Add Details: Once you have all of the shapes in your pattern defined, it is time for adding touches of detail. Adding detail creates the illusion of depth and texture. Round your edges where necessary by using small cuts to make smooth transitions between sharp outlines. Create depth by cutting circular gouges in areas by holding the woodcarving utility knife at a very shallow angle and pivoting around the tip. It will look messy at first, but you can smooth out the details once you have the depth you want.

You may want to finish with a wood stain once you are satisfied with your carving to accentuate your carving even more. You will find you can make a beautiful woodcarving with just this one tool.