Updated: Jan 21
This wood carving tutorial is going to teach you how to carve like a pro with a Dremel tool. You will have a better understanding of wood carving and the confidence to tackle just about any project after reading through this post.
To reduce the risk of injury, user must read the instruction manuals for all tools and accessories used in this project. Wear eye and respiratory protection. Failure to completely follow these instructions may result in injury and/or property damage.
The Tools We Need
1) Dremel Stylo
We are using the Dremel Stylo to carve with since it is fantastic for smaller projects.
The Dremel Stylo is highly recommended because of its versatility. You can find one on Amazon by clicking here
2) Inverted Diamond Cone Bit
For the length of this project we are only using one bit. You heard me right, only ONE.
The specific brand I recommend is Lasco.
The model I am using in this guide is the SG1, but I suggest picking up the SG2 and SG250 in 80-250 grit.
You can find them on Lasco's website by clicking here
You can also find the SG1 & SG2 on Amazon from the links below.
Here is a secret of mine: Instead of carving a slab of wood, go pick up a cheap wooden gift box instead.
Almost any design you carve will look amazing and you can give away as a gift when you get done... or even sell it! (You are welcome for the idea 😉).
You can find these wooden boxes at your local craft stores or the ones I recommend on Amazon by clicking here
4) Carbon or Graphite Transfer Paper
This is used to transfer images to wood.
You can find them on Amazon here
P.S. Amazon offers FREE shipping through their Prime service on almost any wood carving product.
We were able to get a special partnership with Amazon which will allow anyone who signs up through our special affiliate link 30 days of Amazon Prime for FREE!
There are many other benefits to the Amazon Prime membership as well.
👉 Find more information on this special offer here
Find Your Design
The design I will be carving is Celtic heart. You can find many free designs like this one online.
Size Your Design
Before you print your design you need to resize it. I am using an app on my phone to resize called "Print to Size". (This is only available on IOS devices currently)
Libre Office is a free option for resizing for those of you that prefer using a computer.
Cut-Out the Printed Design
Cut out the printed stencil and carbon paper to the same size.
Tape the Design
Tape the printed design to the box. Line up the image properly,
Trace the Design
Use a rollerball pen to trace over the design applying a moderate amount of pressure.
(I like to use a red pen so I can see where I have previously traced)
The design transferred nicely! Don't worry about the messy areas around the design, they can be erased with a pencil or sanded off with a piece of sandpaper 👇
Begin tracing the outlines with the inverted cone burr turned on the side.
(Don't forget to watch video to see how to do this in greater explanatory detail.)
Take your time around the corners of the design. Turn the box as need to make the sharp "curves".
Take not of how the depth is only 1/16" of an inch or less. We don't want to carve too deep.
Removing the excess stock inside the design can be tricky. Here is a tip to help you:
Carefully flip the rotary tool 180° and use the head of the cone burr to cut away the inside of the design.
Pro Tip: If you have larger areas to carve, use a round or cone carbide taper burr to remove a majority of the stock before smoothing out the areas with the inverted cone burr.
Take a piece of sandpaper and smooth out all the areas you just carved. Remember, we want the negative space to be as SMOOTH as possible! Find sandpaper I recommend here
Mark the Cut
Before we carve the weaving pattern of the knots we have to mark the area where the cut needs to begin.
Carving the knots
Place the inverted burr at a slight angle and begin carving at the intersection of the knot. The trick here is to "fade" out as you carve, stopping at the area you previously penciled in.
Take note of the area that I am carving is sloping downward. We want to give the illusion that these lines are crossing under each other, Practice makes perfect. This is easier than you think!
There are 16 total cuts with the lines cross each other.
Don't make this harder than it has to be. Once you grasp this simple concept I promise you will impress yourself!
Take a 220 grit piece of sandpaper, wrap it around a clothespin and sand the hard-to-reach areas of the design. This will cover blemishes and make the knotwork look a lot cleaner.
Carve the Outer Bevel
Use the inverted cone burr and cut a 45 angle around the entire outline of the design.
Use the clothespin trick with sandpaper to sand the outer-bevel bevel we carved.
Don't skip this step... this is the secret to making this whole project look CLEAN.
We are done carving... but we aren't finished!
And yes, that handsome fellow is me, your instructor!
We still have a few more things we need to do to this box...
I am using a Benzomatic torch to light scorch the wood to bring out the grain before we stain. You can find a torch like mine on Amazon here.
Lightly sand the entire box to remove any excess build up from the scorching. The next step is to wipe the box clean and prepare is for staining.
I am applying Minwax Red Oak to the box with a brush. Find it on Amazon here
Brush the stain on the entire box and wipe off 1-2 minutes later. (The longer you wait the darker it is). Let it dry for many hours. (I usually wait 24-48 hours)
The last step is to apply urethane. This will seal, protect and give it a shiny look. I am using Minwax fast drying semi-gloss urethane (I recommend using a water-based urethane)
We are Finished!
This turned out fantastic!
Just think... This will make the PERFECT gift! You can never go wrong with handmade.
Pick up a few of these unfinished craft boxes and let your creativity run wild!
I recommend watching the detailed instructional video below!
"HowToWoodCarve participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. HowToWoodCarve currently holds affiliation with Dremel. HowToWoodCarve currently holds affiliation with Amazon.
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