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« Ruhlman's Twenty + Blue Star Vermont giveaway | Main | Meyer lemon cranberry jelly »

Craft project: Easy wood carving

I recently celebrated my 5-year anniversary with my partner, the wood year, as someone with a lot of time on their hands has anointed it. I’d love to know more about how the years got to be carved out (pun intended) as such. But this year was just fun (not sure about year 14 and ivory, but I guess I have time to come around on that one); you know how I love old wood stuff.

I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, though, had I not stopped by my friends’ shop for wood scraps, I wouldn’t have come across this small tool that has definitively changed my wood crafting life. Thanks to the leather working goddess over at Buck South (website coming soon!) I borrowed this fabulous wonder of a(n inexpensive) tool:

This electric engraver will run you about $8 at a hardware store, or maybe you know a crafty friend who owns one already?

What’s great about this craft project is that it’s flexible. You can scale it up to whatever level of craft polishing you possess or you can keep it nice and simple. I’m a simple kind of gal and I lean to the rustic.

I recommend either sketching your desired image/writing directly on the wood or affixing a printout (like I did) to the wood and going about tracing over it carefully. The engraver will obviously cut through the paper as you go, so start at the center and work outward (so you don’t cut your guide completely off your wood block).

I kept the page whole and centered it over my woodblock affixing the 8.5” x 11” sheet to each end with rubber bands. I wrote the lettering directly on the block once I finished the illustration and then engraved over it.

I had plans to fill the lettering in with white paint, but fulfilling that plan with the materials and tools I had on hand proved to be more frustrating and not quite the look I was going for (…taadaa! A silver paint pen saves the day). I kept the bicycle free of fillers (beyond what bits of paper stuck inside the carving, which I thought looked cool). I may still take a moment to sand off the excess around the lettering to clean it up a bit, but, like I said, this is a perfection-optional kind of thing.

Total cost for my anniversary present: $0 

Total time: 1 hour

Value: Totally unique new family keepsake on the scene.

Reader Comments (8)

What a great gift. Congratulations!

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Such a great idea! So sweet! Congrats to you both!

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeri

You rock! So cool! I have a wood engraver that I bought to make plant labels and haven't used. I might start wandering around engraving things =)

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeg- grow and resist

I love this! When I saw the title I thought this would be way above my skill level but anyone could do that! What a great idea for the 5 year!

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Very interesting. I never tried wood carving and I wanna try it myself. Thanks for inspiring me :D

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnnica Clooney

Oh I like it! I have a wood burning tool and I'm kinda afraid to use it as it gets so, uh,! :) This is a great alternative.

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNatalia

That is such a great, thoughtful gift. Congratulations!!

January 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

An interesting tool. Try with some hand tools for wood carving, you may get interesting shapes.

May 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArtStyleDecor

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