Here is an easy and quick woodcarving project that i think is good for beginers and for last minute gifts. This is also a very cheap project; and all you need as far as tools are concerned is a knife. You can of course use additional tools that will make this project much easier but all you really need is the knife and whatever you decide on for a finish. i got this idea earlier this year while carving an elephant for my niece. I wanted to make her a necklace for her birthday and the elephant i ended up carving was just too big and since i had some scrap wood left over I carved her this necklace. The design is quite simple and the execution is as well. So let's get craving!
WARNING!!!! This project requires the use of knives and sharp tools and i assume no responsibilty. Do at your own risk!!
P.S. Sorry i don't have pictures of the process but the close-ups of the finished one should be enough.
Step 1: Materials
As I said, all you really need is a good sharp knife. It can be a utility knife, a bench knife or just your trusty old pocket knife. But if you want to make things very easy, i recommend investing in a v-tool. it is possible to duplicate what a v-tool does with any knife but this will make this project a breeze. You can go a step further and get a saw. if you have a scrollsaw or a coping saw, this project should only take about twenty minutes to carve. but even if you don't have a saw, this is a quick project. That being said, my recommended materials for this project are:
-string or chain (I used wax cord)
-paints and finishes of your choice
-thumb-guard, highly recommended!!! Safety First!!!
-saw, scroll or coping (optional)
A word about the wood. I used some cheap 3/16 in. plywood called woodsies that i bought at Hobby Lobby for about two bucks for a half a dozen boards. each board makes 6-8 pendants so it's very affordable. this is not the best wood to use but it's easy to get, cheap and well enough for this project. if you can get some 1/4 in. basswood, this will be much easier. the problem with the woodsies is that it's plywood so if you don't cut it right it could ruin your pendant. but if you have a little patience and a steady hand, i don't see why you would have a problem with these.
Step 2: Design
For this pendant i will be carving an elephant but you can use whatever animal you want. currently I am myself working on perfecting a design of the pendant from Free Willy two using this same technique (check back later, I'll post it on the site once it's ready). your first step is to draw it on directly to the wood. the drawing itself should be about one inch square. I will try in the future to post a usable pattern but honestly, Im no good with computers, or drawing for that matter.
Step 3: Cutting
Transfer the pattern onto the wood. You can use transfer paper or just draw it on directly on the wood. If you have a saw, please don't hesitate to use it. If not, the wood is thin enough so you can just chip away around the edges and smooth it with the knife. As you do this, round off the sharp edges.
Step 4: Detailing
I think that for anyone with carving experience, the pictures are self-explanitory, but for those who have never carved, I'll give a little explanation on what's going on. The process is the same for the entire carving. Start with the legs. Take the knife and keeping it at a straight angle cut along the shape of the leg. Next, go back to the begining of the cut and angle the knife down to about 45 degrees and foolw the same path of the original cut.
The process is the same for the other parts of the carving. All you need to figure out is which side of a specific cut you need to keep straight and which to angle down. Just remeber that the side you keep straight will always appear to overlap the other.
Step 5: Detailing-Part 2
While the ears are pretty much the same as the legs, i feel that the trunk may not be as obvious to the first time carver. Just remeber to angle the side that is the body, not the limb. For the eyes i used a mini hand drill that i picked up at hobby lobby for five dollars. I simply drilled it in at a slight angle and touched it up with a knife, but there are other alternatives you might be able to come up with.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
I used the same hand drill to make the hole for the necklace. The color of the paint is pure preference and i ussually use a glossy finish. The string of the necklace is wax cord. I secured it in place with an overhand knot 1-inch up and than added s chain sinnet on each end. If you need help with the chain, there's a great website called animatedknots.com that explains it much better than I could.