Wood Carving Ideas for Christmas

Wood Carving Ideas for Christmas


Handcarved Christmas, Updated 2nd Edition, $19.99
The Best of Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine

Giving a handcarved Christmas ornament, decoration, or gift is just as much fun as it is to make one! This newly updated compilation of beloved Christmas carving projects from the archives of Woodcarving Illustrated magazine includes 40 festive projects and patterns, including a storybook ornament, candy dish, folk art angel tree topper, Christmas stocking, earrings, nativity ornaments, plucky penguins, and so much more. And of course, there are several Santa projects as well!

The featured projects and patterns within these pages are from some of the carving’s master artists and leading experts, including Floyd Rhadigan, Wayne Shinlever, Bob Hershey, Betty Padden, Lori Dickie, Sara Barraclough, and many others. There’s a project inside this best-of collection for everyone, from beginners to advanced
craftsmen, and with step-by-step instructions and color photos, readers are guaranteed a very merry carving experience!

Take a peek inside Handcarved Christmas, Updated 2nd Edition by The Best of Woodcarving Illustrated with these 10 wood carving project ideas below.

Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine

Handcarved Christmas, Updated 2nd Edition

 et ready for winter with Handcarved Christmas!

– 40 holiday carving projects with a variety of skill levels

– Step-by-step instructions

– Ready-to-use patterns and festive project

– Contributions by today’s leading carving experts


What can  you learn inside Handcarved Christmas

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 01

How to Use Wood Bleach

Santa with Cardinal by Vicki Bishop

In this charming caricature, Santa takes time out from his hectic schedule to visit with a feathered friend. You can carve several of the cardinals separately and use them as miniature ornaments for your Christmas tree or wreath. I decided to do this Santa in white and blue and add a splash of red with the bird. I really don’t like to paint white because it always looks ceramic. The white can’t be used as a wash because it looks dirty, so I have to mix it 50/50 with water. I use wood bleach to strip the color from the wood and then paint the sections with the color.


Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

How to Carve Intaglio Style

Santa’s Collectors Plate by Robert Biermann

This carving is done in intaglio style, which is a type of relief carving. Traditional relief carving removes the wood around the subject so the subject protrudes from the wood. Intaglio carving lowers the subject, not the background. Start with a 12″ (30.1cm)-diameter flat beaded basswood plate. Photocopy the pattern and cut off the excess paper. Align the pattern so the grain runs across the design from side to side. Transfer the pattern to the plate with graphite paper and a stylus.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

How to Create Pierced Relief

Old World Santa by Mark Gargac

This Old World Santa demonstrates two styles of carving. Traditional relief carving techniques create the face and hat, but pierced relief adds texture and interest to the beard. Creating negative space or pierced cuts in the beard adds dimension and lends a nice flow to the carving. Hollowing out the back of the ornament makes it lighter and easier to hang. The small size of the project cuts down on the investment of time and is a great way to build your confidence in creating realistic facial features before tackling more involved carvings. I suggest carving several ornaments and changing the expression or features on each.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 01

How to Make an Adjustable Carving

Playful Chris-Moose By Cyndi Joslyn

Take a break from Santa with a humorous Christmas moose ornament. The individual parts are easy to carve and assembly is simple. Chris-Moose (Chris for short) will hang on just about anything. He is designed to hang out on the Christmas tree, but my family takes turns hanging Chris all around the house. He’s been spotted clinging to a bed frame, a mirror, and even a cupboard door!


Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

How to Add Texture with a Woodburner

Power Carved Dove by Hugh Parks

This dove ornament is an excellent way to practice texturing techniques. Because the ornament is essentially a relief carving, you can finish the project quickly. The carved dove makes a great gift or addition to your Christmas tree. This ornament evolved from the annual Christmas ornament exchange between members of the Woodcarving Illustrated message board. Compared to some of the wonderfully carved ornaments I received, I felt my ornaments were little more than trinkets. I designed and carved this dove ornament as something credible to exchange with my carving buddies.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

How to Add Texture with a Woodburner

Passing Preflight Inspection by Sandy Smith

Excluding the base, Santa and Rudolph were carved from a single piece of basswood. The blank was larger than my band saw could safely handle, so I used hand tools to rough out the carving. After drawing the front and side views on the basswood, I realized there was no way to clamp or secure the carving on a vise without leaving gaping holes that would later need to be filled.


Wood Carving a Fish - Step 01

How to Use Mass-Production Techniques

These relief-carved ornaments require only simple cuts with little to no undercutting. You can customize the different designs by changing the hat color. Transfer the pattern to the 3/4″ (1cm)-thick basswood and cut the perimeter of the ornaments with a band saw or scroll saw. Drill 1/8″ (3mm)-dia. holes in the tops for the hanging strings. I remove the saw marks and add texture to the beard and mustache right away so I can tuck an ornament and knife in my bag to carve when I have spare time.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

How to Weight a Carving

Whimsical Santa Stocking Holder by Shawn Cipa

This Santa angel is a charming way to display Christmas stockings. The base is hollowed
and weighted with steel shot, providing the stability needed to support a stocking stuffed with holiday cheer. Carve one for each member in your family and personalize them with different paint schemes. Line the Santas on your mantel for a festive holiday display. The Santa is carved from 2″ (5.1cm)-thick stock and combines elements of both in-the round and relief carving.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

How to Use Mass-Production Techniques

Star by Jim Sebring

Dress up your Christmas tree with handcarved stars! The stars are ideal for highlighting garlands or wreaths and make perfect stocking stuffers. Carve the stars from a solid piece of basswood or butternut. To add interest, create laminated blanks by gluing together several thin pieces of colorful hardwood. The contrasting layers will be exposed as you carve the star.


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