6 Simple and Easy Wood Carving Ideas For Beginners

try one of these simple wood carving projects if you are just starting outLearning how to carve wood can be a little tricky. Especially since there are so many different types of wood you can use and techniques to master.

That is why you probably want to start off with some simple wood carving projects for beginners that are almost guaranteed to succeed.

Today we will share our list of favorite woodcarving ideas for beginners that are doable even if you are just starting out.

Wood Carving Basics

Wood carving is one of the oldest crafts you can find and involves cutting away of wood to create a figure or a pattern.

Different types of wood for carving have different characteristics. As a beginner, you probably want to start with a variety of softwood. They are easy to work with and allow you to practice some easy wood carving patterns for beginners. Working with hardwoods is more difficult but can be rewarding if you have the right skill set.

To make your life easy you want to carve with the grain of the wood and use some high-quality carving tools at all times. There are some pieces of equipment for heavy duty wood carving such as drills and shavers. But the average hobbyist only needs a few good knives and chisels.

There are different types of wood carving; chip carving, relief carving and whittling. The last one is the most popular amongst people that do wood carving as a hobby and a great place to start.

List Of Wood Carving Ideas For Beginners

The projects below are not listed based on their difficulty. So just find one that you like the most and start carving!

If you want more detailed instructions, you can always sign up for an online woodcarving course that will show you the process step-by-step.


Many instruments are made out of wood and as a beginner you can make one too! Admittedly it won’t be as amazing as a guitar or violin. But making whistles is a good whittling idea for beginners. Carving a whistle involves using most of the basic cutting techniques.

Kitchen Utensils

You probably own a wooden spoon or ladle at home that you use for cooking. Did you ever think about making one yourself? Carving spoons, forks or chopsticks are easy and quick projects you can do. And best of all, you the items you carve will have a practical use as well when you are done!

Letter Openers

We don’t receive a lot of post or handwritten letters anymore nowadays. So when you do, you better open it in style with your own handmade letter openers! By just using a few basic and simple wood carving patterns you will be able to make a functional tool.

Animal Figures

Dogs, cats, owls, snails and other animals are popular objects to carve for both beginners and more experienced carvers. As a beginner, you probably want to go with an easy wood sculpture idea. Start with just simple animal outlines and figures. If you are becoming more confident in your carving skills you can add eyes, ears, and other smaller features.

Chess Pieces

Learning how to master the game of chess will take you hours of practice and a fair chunk of talent as well. Thankfully, mastering the art of carving chess pieces is much easier! You can easily create these out of small blocks of wood and add as much character to them as you want to make a truly unique chess set.


Even beginners can make stunning coasters for your glasses, mocks and cups to stand on. You can make these in a small amount of time using either using whittling or chip carving techniques. In the video below they created a nice difference in color by using two types of wood. But you could also create a similar effect by using a single type of wood and a wood burner to darken certain areas.

Starting A New Project

As mentioned above, you always want to cut with the grain of the wood to minimize the amount of resistance from the wood and avoid tearing. You can quickly identify the grain by finding the darker streaks in the wood. Cut parallel to these lines rather can perpendicular.

Secondly, make sure that your knives are sharp before and during the entire project. Not only are dull knives more difficult to use, they are also more dangerous because they slip easily. Keep you carving knives sharp by using a ceramic sharpening stone.

Lastly, if you are working on a complicated design, it can help to trace it out on the wood before you start. You can use any light pencil for this. By drawing the design in advance it is easier to keep track of progress as you are cutting away the wood bit by bit.