Introduction: Entwined Hearts

Picture of Entwined Hearts

I wanted to make a Valentine gift for my wife.

Something special.

Something unique.

Something that shows exactly how I feel.

Step 1: Starting.

Picture of Starting.

A famous sculptor once said that the way to make a carving is to look at a piece of wood, see the image within it, and cut away all the bits that don't belong.

Since I make most of my projects that way, that seemed a reasonable way to go.

I started with a short length of branch that had been sitting around in the warm since before Christmas.

Using a junior hacksaw, I cut four wedges out to make a long cross.

Step 2: Seeing the Shape Within.

Picture of Seeing the Shape Within.

Once I had the cross, I had to start thinking about the two hearts.

I started by turning the cross into two interlocked squares. That was a simple hacksaw job again.

Once I had the squares, I planned the hearts, sketching directly onto the wood.

Step 3: Starting to Carve.

Picture of Starting to Carve.

Time to start removing the wood.

Using a combination of the hacksaw, Leatherman and my rotary tool I hacked away the outside of the hearts.

I then turned to the holes.

Using a drill-bit on my rotary tool, plus my Leatherman, I drilled the holes through, following the lines I had sketched.

The more I cut away, the more nervous I got...

Step 4: Parting the Hearts.

Picture of Parting the Hearts.

Time to cut the two hearts apart.

This is where I found I hadn't planned as well as I thought - I couldn't fit a saw-blade in the gap between the hearts.

I ended up using a needle-fine drill-bit to perforate the narrow section of wood still between the hearts.

After four or five holes drilled from each direction into the joining wood, I was able (eyes closed tight) to snap the two hearts apart, without actually snapping the hearts.

I had a small panic at this point - the hearts looked hideous

Step 5: Tidying Up.

Picture of Tidying Up.
I couldn't leave the hearts looking so bad, but the light-weight cutting knives I have were not up to the job.

I bought a set of files and rasps (from our local DIY superstore), and set to with a will.

The second photo is the final product, as presented to my wife.

It's not perfect, and it's not varnished or stained, but that is deliberate because my wife likes handing bare wood - as she sits and plays with the hearts, my hope is that will gain the polish and patina distinctive of wood that is handled on a regular basis.

Step 6: What I Learned

Picture of What I Learned
As I worked on this project, I learned or remembered several things:

  • Use the right tools! I should have bought a coping saw to do the bulk cutting - junior hacksaws can't cut curves with a narrow radius.
  • Use the full length of a blade to cut smoothly and efficiently.
  • Sawdust and contact lenses mix too well.
  • Rotary tool cutting discs are not designed for wood.
  • Rotary tool grinding discs are good for starting fires.
  • Drills are not sculpting tools, but sometimes you've got to manage with what you've got.
  • Don't try and catch a running rotary tool when you drop it (fortunately, I missed).
  • Be brave, try stuff. You can always start again.
  • Plan ahead - if I make another of these, I will leave more of a gap between the two sections so that I can get a cutting tool in there.


  • Be brave enough to stop. The hearts are not geometrically-perfect cardioids, but they felt ... right. I left enough texture in the surfaces for them to feel interesting as my wife fiddled with them, worry-bead style.


vintagemeyer (author)2015-09-20

Kiteman (author)vintagemeyer2015-09-21


HansGraveman (author)2015-08-11

you could use a scrollsaw to make these by the dozen I like it

Kiteman (author)HansGraveman2015-08-11

Well, since I made it as a gift for my wife, "by the dozen" wasn't really in the grand scheme...


jordan.frey (author)2014-07-31

Nice job! Hoping to start working on this really soon. What kind of wood would you recommend using?

Kiteman (author)jordan.frey2014-07-31

If you can find something with a fine grain, it will be harder to carve, but the end result will be smoother.

foobear (author)2013-09-02

wow, so smart! going to do this

Kiteman (author)foobear2013-09-02

Oh, post pictures when you do!

cart562 (author)2012-03-15

Well, it's been well over a year since I first saw this and wanted to make it and now that I'm about a week into it, I think I'm halfway done with my 5 or so inch version in my Woodshop class.

Kiteman (author)cart5622012-03-15

Cool - post pictures when you can.

cart562 (author)Kiteman2012-04-02

Yes of course, I finished a week or so ago but I didn't take a picture so I will sometime.

Gobra5x (author)2012-03-16

Thats awesome, after browsing for many,-many- hours on this site, this is the first thing ill try! thanks for sharing this with us!=)

Kiteman (author)Gobra5x2012-03-16

Thanks for the kind comment.

Fisatec (author)2012-02-16

Thanks for this instruction.
I carved a pair of entwined hearts out of Ytong for this years valentines day.
At first I wanted to make them out of wood too, but because of lack of time I chose Ytong.
It was very easy to handle and finally I got two 17x15cm entwined hears.

It is an eayier way to create such a beautiful gift.
If you don't like this poridical surface, you could dab on some gypsum and paint.

Kiteman (author)Fisatec2012-02-16

Cool, thanks for sharing.

m4srcool (author)2011-07-06

What sort of wood did you use? Also, what size did you pick? Ive tried looking around for a branch that large but I can only seem to find the huge trunks or the tiny twigs.

Kiteman (author)m4srcool2011-07-06

I have no idea what kind of wood it is - it was a leafless branch lying on the local Common.

The branch was about 3 inches across, but since I just sketched the shape onto the wood, the simple approach is to just work with what you've got.

m4srcool (author)Kiteman2011-07-06

Oh ok. Thanks for the quick reply.

FloriePorrie (author)2011-02-03

First, thanks for making this instructable!  I like it very much. When I saw your instructable I wanted to make it so badly, so I did. It took me far too long to finish. And now with almost half a year delay it's finished. I have attached a picture. I used some kind of hardwood. Almost too hard to work with. I impregnated it with some special stuff. I want to give it to my girlfriend on her birthday. Could you tell me how you gave it to your wife? In wrapping paper, a box etc.?

P.S.: I hope my English is good enough.

Kiteman (author)FloriePorrie2011-02-03

I was very bad about it - I just took it out of my pocket and handed it to her.

FloriePorrie (author)Kiteman2011-02-03

Thanks for your fast reply! I think it's not that bad. Only problem is my pockets aren't that big ;) But I'll see how I get it done.

theque (author)2008-03-26

# Rotary tool cutting discs are not designed for wood. # Rotary tool grinding discs are good for starting fires. Dont i know this :p

theque (author)theque2008-03-26

rather, ive experienced this before XD

Rossiroller (author)theque2010-08-23

Haha, i remember the first time a cutting disc shattered while spinning..... i was wayyyy over the recommended rpms and was cutting something i shouldnt have been, in a way i shouldnt have been. a piece of the disc stuck in the ceiling.... ive worn goggles ever since haha

Junkyard John (author)theque2008-08-18

Use a low speed when you're cutting wood, and you'll be fine

 I use a low speed all the time . My dremel scares me !

rocketbat (author)2010-02-26

An absolutely brilliant idea! thankyou so much! Made it for my girlfriend.
Valentines day didn't cost me a penny this year! cost a lot of time though, i will post a picture or two soon :-)

Kiteman (author)rocketbat2010-02-26

Good man!

awoodcarver (author)2010-02-21

Very nice work ..the X shape is the start of most  chains , a drill is a good tool to have since you can drill holes in the links.It is a lot easier to cut from hole to hole then trying to cut through the wood without the holes

Kiteman (author)awoodcarver2010-02-21

Oh, thanks for the photo - quite illustrative of what you mean.

spike3579 (author)2010-02-14

 Thanks, I totally stole your idea to make a valentines gift for my wife.  I did the same thing but in aluminum.  They're about 5" tall.

Kiteman (author)spike35792010-02-15

Good grief!

Don't tell me you started with a solid block.  Did you?

I hope you took photos as you made them - that would be worth a project in its own right.


spike3579 (author)Kiteman2010-02-15

 No I cut them out of foam w/ a cnc router (another project sparked by instructables) and cast them.

Kiteman (author)spike35792010-02-15

You definitely need to post that!

spike3579 (author)Kiteman2010-02-16

OK, I'll get on it.

paganwonder (author)spike35792010-02-16

VERY COOL!  pls do an 'ible

Lithium Rain (author)2010-02-15

>mega slap<

Kiteman (author)2010-02-15

Thank you.

I think.

thefireinyourflies (author)2010-02-12

this is a very thoughtful gift :]

love the idea that you left it unfinished so she could rub and love it to perfection.

iTinkers (author)2010-02-11

I remembered this project a little while back and made one around christmass.  Unfortunately, I did not take any pics during the process and only remembered to take a pic moments before I gave it away. 
The grainy phone photo is all I have :)

I used Indian Rosewood for it, which proved very difficult to work with, but came out looking quite nice.  I just finished it with some tung oil.

soccerqueenh7 (author)2010-01-23

this is soooo cute! i love it!

Kiteman (author)soccerqueenh72010-01-23

Thank you.

The Dark Ninja (author)2008-04-15

Hooray for wedding anniversary gift ideas!

I'm not a perfectionist, nor do I think you did a bad job in any way... *but* (There's always a but right?)... but I do think they are a bit unfinished. Some 300 or 600 grit sandpaper would have made them smooth and silky. Even if it's not professionally done, wives can and do enjoy gifts from the heart more than ones from the store. So I am sure she loves it!! Great job on a wonderful instructable!

I believe he left it because the feeling of natural wood had a better feeling in the hand.

I agree that natural wood feels differently! Just offered a tip to help smooth out some of the cutting grooves where the rotary tool left it's mark. I just came across a spot on the way to work where a tree has been cut down. I think i will see if I can grab some of it's bigger branches and give this a go.

It's pretty fun, just as soon as I get my tenon saw back...

Kryptonite (author)2009-08-27

I'm making this at the moment for my dad for fathers day, but I'm doing squares instead of hearts, great Instructable, I'll try to post my results when I'm done.

Kiteman (author)Kryptonite2009-08-27


Kryptonite (author)Kiteman2009-08-28

I no longer have access to a good saw or vice for the next week, unless I'm lucky, so it may be a bit long in the coming.

mynameisjonas (author)2009-01-07

this looks like something similar I have seen. Its basically the same Idea, but Repeated over and over. it can be seen here

About This Instructable




Bio: The answer is &quot;lasers&quot;, now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr &amp; Twitter: @KitemanX
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