Wood Relief Carving Tutorial

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Happy new year everyone! I hope you are all enjoying 2018 so far. 

I decided that I would try my hand at wood carving to kick off another year of arts and crafts. This was my first attempt at relief carving so this tutorial is more of an experiment. Wood-working is a really fun way to create something beautiful and I encourage you to try it if you haven't already. 

Creating art with wood is pretty amazing. Wood as a medium on its own is already so beautiful and there are so many different types varying in color and hardness. I used basswood for this project because its very soft and suitable for beginners. You can find it at most art supply stores and its pretty inexpensive. 

I chose to use mushrooms as the subject matter for this craft because I felt it complimented the wood theme. The more I learn, the more fascinated by fungi I become. Mushrooms have a special relationship with other living things in nature and can communicate with trees via their root systems to share nutrients and information. It has been found that various types of mushrooms provide potent medicinal benefits. Gotta love fungi. 

I hope this craft inspires you to create something beautiful. 

All the best in 2018,


What You'll Need:

  • a piece of wood (I used basswood)
  • carving tools 
  • a dremel (optional)
  • carbon transfer paper

Start by printing your stencil. You can turn your photos into stencils using the free Picture Stencil Maker. 

Transfer your design on to your piece of wood by placing carbon paper face down and tracing over your image.

Begin your relief carving by carefully cutting around the outline of your design with the V-shaped carving tool. Carefully remove the background of your design by carving away larger pieces with the wider, flatter tools.


  • carve with the grain of the wood
  • when you are carving around corner or curves, make sure you are approaching the cut from the direction that does not cause the wood to fray. 
  • use both hands for control
  • if you are using a Dremel, I used a small metal ball drill bit attachment
  • don't forget to wear goggles and mask if you use a Dremel
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If you would like to use this pattern for your art projects, you can save this image by right clicking.

If you would like to use this pattern for your art projects, you can save this image by right clicking.