Cool Whittling Ideas

Make your own whittled creations such as a ball in a cage by plotting or drawing the idea right on the wood instead of aimlessly whittling.

Whittling offers a crafty way to relax, but aimless whittling often nets nothing more than sharpened sticks.  Instead of just seeing what shows up as you whittle, plan a creation you'll actually enjoy, such as a carved walking stick or a ball in a cage.

Getting Started

If you're fairly new to whittling, a few key supplies help ensure your success -- and safety.  Select a soft wood such as pine or basswood, or experiment with a few twigs or branches from around the yard.

The softer the wood, the easier it is to whittle into the desired shape.  A sharp pocket knife or whittling knife does all the cutting.


Protect your cutting hand with a Kevlar glove or a carving thumb guard to help prevent accidental injury.

Beginning Projects

If this is one of your first whittling projects, start with something basic -- yet still interesting -- to get used to different whittling techniques. 

Whittling an egg shape out of a hunk of wood helps hone your skills at smoothing a carved item with your knife.  For a more complex egg, carve designs into it such as chevrons or stripes, carving the designs fairly deep for yet another look.

Carve a series of forest animals, vegetables or even your favorite video game characters to learn the basics while still ending with a carved keepsake. 

Moderate Makings

A [ball in a cage](http://www4gvsuedu/triert/cache/articles/t2/bichtm) is a classic whittling project that looks complex, yet isn't so difficult to complete. 

  1. Draw a basic frame shape around the four sides of a block of wood using a pencil and a ruler; make the frame thick enough that it won't crack if you accidentally hit it hard as you whittle.
  2. Mark off the center area as the ball; then slice away a shallow area at a time around the ball, inside the frame lines.
  3. As you work your way in, start shaping the ball. Keep the ball connected to the frame to form a hovering ball look.
  4. For a few variations, shape more than one ball in the cage, or carve the frame with details such as a spiral design.

For Function or Fun

  • * Create your own fishing lures for a project you can use or offer as a gift.  * Carve a large, fairly straight stick into an elaborate walking cane carved with wizard faces, woodland creatures or even mermaids; it's up to you.  * Test your dexterity by whittling a pencil into a spiral shape or carving crayons into miniature totem poles. 
  • About the Author

    Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, Landlordology, SFGate and others.