Use Wood-Carving Skills to Whittle a Family Portrait

Tired of the typical matching family photograph? Hone your wood-carving skills and follow these step-by-step tips for whittling a super unique family portrait.

Step 1. The wood is checked for "carvability."
Photos By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff
The homemade gouge and short-bladed whittling knife used to carve the following examples.
Photos By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff
Step 2. The tracing has been transferred to the wood block with carbon paper.
Photos By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff
Step 3. The background is being gouged away to show the outlines.
Photos By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff
Step 5 . Here's the semifinished portrait.
Photos By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff
The carving has been coated with brown wax shoe polish, which is rubbed in and buffed to a soft glow, then delicately scraped off to achieve highlighting. The finished work can be hung from a wall or propped up.
Photos By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff
Step 4. The face has been roughed in.
Photos By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

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