Great Ideas For Wood Carving Dremel Projects


For power woodcarvers, Dremel consistently ranks among the best-known and most-used brands. Their woodcarving tools – particularly their rotary tools – are not only useful for power carving, they also offer several interchangeable ‘bits’ that can help reduce the need for unnecessary tools.

However, if you are primarily a hard carver, finding your way around power carving tools can be challenging. If you are unfamiliar with using Dremel tools, you can refer to this article for a quick guide to get started.

While Dremels are easy to get accustomed to using, finding the right projects for your new tools can be a task. However, the versatility of these products means that you can use them for all your regular hard carving projects and more. So here are the top 11 projects to try with your Dremel

Spoon Carving

Spoon carving is a popular starting project for many hard carvers. However, you can also use your Dremel to try your hand at spoon carving. 

You can use either green wood or dry wood to carve your spoon. If you are using green wood, the size of your wood will depend on the piece of wood that you have foraged, found, or sourced for your project.

However, if you are using dry wood, consider the type of spoon you are making before choosing your wood. It should be deep enough to serve its purpose effectively. If you are planning or making a stirring or serving spoon, we recommend a piece of wood that is about ½” to ¾” thick so that you have enough depth.

When making a spoon, you should keep the end-use in mind. If you plan on using the spoon for food-related purposes, ensure that the wood you are using is hardwood so that it stands up to constant use. It should also be safe for you to use – some woods can be poisonous to humans or cause skin irritation. 

Once you are done carving, you can sand down your spoon with a diamond bit or an abrasive buff to sand the spoon. You can finish it using oil or wax. However, if you plan on using the spoon for food-related purposes, ensuring that the finishing material is food-safe.

Apple and black cherry make for good wood options for spoon carving. Not only are the food-safe, but they both also have a lovely color that means your spoon will stand out. 

Difficulty Level: Easy. This project is a good beginner option. More experienced carvers can experiment with adding decorations to their spoon or varying the design of the spoon.

Lettered Signs

Draw out your design on paper, and use carbon paper and graphite to transfer it onto your piece of wood. You can also use computer programs to print out your designs in your preferred font. 

Once you have your design transferred to your wood, you can start carving with your Dremel. Use a carbide carving bit for best results. 

When carving a sign, you should use dried wood. Green wood is usually available in logs and irregularly shaped pieces. However, with dried wood, you can wood boards that are easy to transfer lettering onto. 

The size of the wood you choose will depend on how big you want your final sign to be. However, beginners can practice letter carving using scrap pieces of wood. You can also practice of small boards of wood that are readily available in any local hardwood store. We recommend starting with a piece of wood that is 10 inches or longer so that you have space to experiment and enough wood to rectify any mistakes you make.

When choosing your wood, avoid opting for pine. Pine splinters easily and can be a complicated wood to use in lettered projects. Lettered signs look particularly attractive in unusual shades. Some good options include black cherry and red cedar, both of which lend a gorgeous color to your finished sign.

Difficulty Level: Easy. This project is a good option for woodcarvers who are just starting out or who are still getting a feel for their Dremel. More experienced carvers can experiment with lettering on curved or uneven surfaces. 

Celtic Designs

Carving Celtic knots and other designs on scrap pieces of wood or small boxes give you an opportunity to practice depth carving. Different sections of the design are carved at different depths, allowing you to create a more effective and attractive finished product.

As with carving lettered signs, carving designs using your Dremel involves first creating the design on paper and transferring it to the wood using carbon paper and graphite. For best results, use a diamond carving bit – these bits are durable, thanks to the diamond particles in the metal head, and are easy-to-use for both beginners and expert carvers.

You can use wood scraps from previous projects if you’re looking to practice your carving skills with your Dremel. Alternatively, you can also use small wood items like wood boxes to practice on – once completed, they make for good gifts or décor pieces that you can have around the house while still being functional and usable. 

Once carved and sanded, the designs should be finished. For expert carvers looking for a unique way to finish their designs, they can consider using a torch or lighter to lightly burn the wood. Another way to make your Celtic designs stand out is by using a dark stain once you are done with sanding. Once stained, re-sand the design so that the carving pops out from the surrounding wood. Finish the final product with polyurethane so that the wood is fully protected.

Difficulty Level: Medium. This project is a good option for woodcarvers who have a level of confidence with their Dremel. The different depths allow you to practice more complex skills, but the project is not too large for non-experts to experiment with.

Relief Carving

Relief carving involves creating a design in wood and then removing wood in a way that results in the final design looking as though it is rising out of the wood. This style of carving involves creating the illusion of depth. At the same time, the designs are not freestanding – the project from the background.

Before you can start relief carving, you will first need to draw your design on wood or transfer it from paper using carbon paper and graphite. Once the design is on the wood, you are free to carve it with your Dremel. Make sure your pencil lines are dark so that the guidelines are easy to follow when carving.

When carving in relief, start by carving the outline of your design. Once you’ve carved the outline, you will need to remove the background to help the design look like it’s rising out of the wood. You can use a Dremel to remove thehe background – make sure to use an aggressive bit to ensure that the process is easy and quick. When using an aggressive bit, ensure that you are using both hands to carve, so you don’t need to worry about hurting yourself because of the kickback.

Once you have carved out the background, you can work on the rest of your design. Rounding the edges can also help create the illusion of depth.

If you’re just getting started with relief carving, make sure to choose a larger piece of wood to begin with. You can create larger designs on these pieces, which reduce the likelihood of making mistakes in smaller nooks-and-crannies. We recommend a piece of wood that is 8.5”x11” to start with.

You can either leave your completed piece unfinished or, for greater effect, paint the final design. Painting your completed design create a gorgeous showpiece that you can hang around the house to show off your handiwork. If you plan on painting your piece, make sure to seal it first.

Difficulty Level: Medium. This project requires you to have some level of confidence using your Dremel so that you can remove the background without affecting your design. We recommend it for carvers looking for practice projects with their Dremel before moving on to larger projects. 

Headboards

Handcrafted headboards offer an excellent opportunity for you to personalize your bedroom and home with your handiwork.

Creating headboards with your Dremel involves a similar procedure as the previous two projects on our list. The design you are planning should be transferred on to the wood using paper and carbon paper, and graphite. Alternatively, if you are confident in your skills, you can draw it directly on the wood. 

Once the design is ready, use your Dremel to start carving. Once you have the outline carved, you can choose to carve in relief or experiment with different depths to help your design stand out. 

Headboards are a versatile project to try – you can either carve the entirety of the headboard or choose to only carve a section of it to make it more attractive. The size of your headboard is dependent on the size of the bed you have. Make sure that your final design is proportionate to the size of your headboard so that it can be noticed easily.

Once you have completed your carving, we recommend finishing your headboard using polyurethane to protect it.

Difficulty Level: Expert. This project’s size means that it can often be a challenge for beginners and carvers that are not entirely confident with their Dremel. Even if you choose to only carve a section of the headboard, the design is often larger than many beginners have experience with. The other risk for inexperienced carvers when it comes to carving a headboard is damaging the wood, especially if you are using your existing headboard for this project.

Cane / Walking Stick

Canes and walking sticks present a unique challenge to carve because of their curved nature. 

To get started, draw the design you are looking for on your walking stick. Alternatively, you can print out your design and stick it to the cane using a sticker background. Trace out the design using your Dremel.

Depending on your preference, you can carve your design dimensionally or not. Dimensional carving involves carving your design at different depths to provide a more realistic finish to your carving.  

Once you’re done carving, sand down your design. Be careful when sanding so that you don’t lose the details that you have carved. 

Among the most popular designs when it comes to carving walking sticks is the green man. This design helps lend a nature-feel to your walking stick. When finishing it, we recommend painting your woodcarving . Using different natural tones like greens and browns can help lend it a whimsical feeling.

When choosing the wood for your walking stick, ensure that it is a length that allows you to use it comfortably. It should also not be too thick, as that can affect usability. As your walking stick will be a practical item, not merely a decorative one, ensuring your comfort while using it is essential.

Difficulty Level: Expert. The curved nature of walking sticks and canes can be challenging for beginners to carve. Furthermore, these designs often have small nooks-and-crannies that can be difficult to carve. For inexperienced carvers looking to work their way up to walking sticks, we recommended starting with carving wood spirits for practice.

Owl

An owl is an easy carving project and doesn’t always require a drawn template to get started. 

We recommend using a piece of broken branch or other green wood for this project. Make sure to use a thick branch so that you can create depth.

Start with carving out a depression on one side of the branch, where the owl will sit. Create the owl’s rough outline and then carve the background deeper so that it looks like the owl is nesting in the wood. You can then use your Dremel to carve out the details and make the owl stand-out. 

For carvers who are less confident in their freehanding skills, you can also use a paper template to help guide you. This carving is best completed using flame, ball, and taper bits. This selection of bits will allow you to make concave cuts and also allow you round edges, hollow out areas, and reach hard-to-access regions for more detailed carving.

We recommend using a dark stain to complete your owl. This will help it stand out from the rest of the wood and create a more realistic effect.

Difficulty Level: Easy. The relatively simple shape of the owl makes this a good project for beginner carvers. As the owl only sits on one side of the branch, this project does not require carvers to follow the curves of the branch the way that walking sticks and canes do. 

Wood Spirit

Wood spirits are a popular carving project for both beginner and expert carvers. 

Draw the design of your wood spirit on to your wood. Drawing the wood spirit right on to the wood instead of using a paper template will allow you to work with the dimensions of the wood so that the final project looks more natural when carved.

Use your Dremel to start carving. Make sure the lines around the nose are carved deeply so that the nose pops out in the final carving.  

When choosing wood for carving a wood spirit, green wood is among the most popular options. Choose a piece of branch and split it in half. Use one half of the branch to carve your wood spirit. Once finished, you can drill a hole at the top and turn the project into a wall-hanging.

We recommend first painting the eyes and the inside of the mouth with dark paint and then staining the wood spirit. This will help these sections of the carving stand out when stained. Once stained, use an abrasive bit to sand down the spirit and highlight sections to help them pop.

Difficulty Level: Wood spirits are a good project for beginner carvers. They are not as complicated as canes and walking sticks. However, they still offer the opportunity to practice carving along curves.

Tree

Carving a tree is an excellent way to practice carving 3D pieces with your Dremel. 

When choosing your wood, choose a small piece of green wood like a small branch. The wood’s natural curves will help you create the 3D tree without requiring you to do too much shaping.

Start by carving the base. This will be the deepest part of the carving and will help guide you when carving the leafy top. You can then use your Dremel to whittle and shape the top of your wood into a more rounded, tree-like shape. Once you have the rough outline of the tree carved, you can then carve the details.  

Trees are an easy project to freehand, so you can follow your instincts when creating the curves of your tree. Make sure to sand your tree to get rid of carving lines and bring out highlights.

We recommend using a wood with a natural color to it, like red cedar. This will help make your finished piece look attractive. If you do not have access to woods that are a color that you like, you can also paint your project to make it look more realistic. 

Difficulty Level: Easy. Trees offer an easy way for beginner carvers to practice carving 3D objects. The simple lines make them easy to create and do not require templates to use as guidelines. 

Pendant 

If you’re looking for a way to carry your carving skills with you wherever you go, you can also use your Dremel to create pendants.

Draw out the shape of your pendant on paper, or print out the design you are looking for. Use that design as a template to cut your wood to shape. You can do this using your Dremel or using any other tool that you are comfortable with.

Once your wood has been cut to shape, you can use your Dremel to start shaping the pendant. Use it to create curves and dips so that the finished piece looks like a three-dimensional object. At the same time, remember to ensure that the back of your pendant stays flat so that you can wear it easily.

When you have finished carving, sand the pendant to ensure that there are no visible cut marks. You can use an abrasive bit with your Dremel to sand, or do it by hand using sandpaper. Finish by staining and lacquering the pendant. This makes it comfortable to wear and lends it a color that will pop out against your skin when you wear it.

When choosing the wood, make sure to select a piece that is small enough to wear. Most pendants are approximately ½” in length, so we recommend using a blank that is 1.5”x1.5”. This should be big enough to account for any mistakes. 

Difficulty Level: Expert. Cutting the wood to shape and creating curves and dips to add a three-dimensional effect to the pendant can be challenging for beginner woodcarvers. Furthermore, the small size of this project means that this is a greater chance for mistakes.

Personalized Images

Similar to relief carving projects, you can create personalized gifts for your loved ones by carving their photos onto wood. The final product can serve as a lifelong memento that can be used as home décor or as a wall hanging.

To create this project, first select an image that you wish to carve onto the wood. Once that is done, print it on paper with adhesive backing, and stick the image to your wood piece. 

You can now use your Dremel to carve out the image, using the photograph stuck to the wood as a guideline. The carving procedure is similar to the one followed for carving lettered signs and Celtic design on to the wood. 

We recommend choosing a piece of wood that is large enough to allow you to access all the details of the photograph. We recommend using wood that is approximately 12.5”x9.5” so that it is also big enough to hang in the home. 

When selecting the wood, choose a softer wood. These woods are easier to carve. Butternut is not only a softwood, it also has a distinct pattern that can lend a unique look to your finished product.

Finish your project with a stain to allow the carving to stand out. Make sure to varnish the finished product so that it is protected from its surroundings and natural elements. Varnish will also make it easier to clean.

Difficulty Level: Expert. While the techniques used in this project are similar to other projects, carving human faces offers a greater possibility of mistakes. 

Dremels are a useful tool when it comes to wood carving. They are comfortable to use and easy for beginners to familiarise themselves with. The many available bits mean that they can be used for countless projects with ease.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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