Practice basic carving techniques with this attractive project

Sunflowers are cheerful additions to any home.

This simple flower can be displayed alone, used to accent a doorway or fireplace, or carved as part of a welcome sign. I carved four sunflowers from mahogany and added wrought-iron leaves and a shelf with greenery and a candle to create a beautiful wall design for my home. Whether you carve one sunflower or several, you’ll practice basic techniques and create a lovely project at the same time.

Make this patriotic project in an afternoon

When my wife wanted something patriotic to wear during Desert Storm, I carved my first flag pin. Since then, our local carving club has carved many flags and donated them to many organizations, including the Red Cross, and to the local National Guard unit when it was deployed. Like those famous potato chips, you can’t carve just one!

"Reverse relief" design is an easy introduction to relief carving


For this project the background wood—the wood outside the pattern—is left at the original level of the wood surface. Only the actual design area is carved, creating the appearance in the final carving that the face is sunken into the wood. This low relief carving does not include any undercutting.

Learn how to carve children's faces by making a jointed doll

When I was a child, I didn’t play with dolls much. However, as an adult and a professional woodcarver, I began to notice that no one made carved dolls and that a well-made doll could be a work of art. One of my friends calls my dolls poseable sculptures.

Learn to carve rope molding, a lettered banner, and a scalloped shell

This toy box started life as a simple, mass-produced, but well-made paintable box. I converted it into a sea chest by adding a rope molding around the base, a seashell on the lid, and a scroll-like banner to the front with the name of the little pirate who was to own it.

All of these applied elements could find homes on other projects, such as a mirror or picture frame, a shelf or bathroom decoration, or a cutting board. You can use them together, as I did, or separately. The wood for the carvings must be easy to carve, such as basswood, mahogany, or tightgrained pine.