I'm not sure if these blocks are called Breeze Blocks everywhere. They are light aerated blocks used in construction. Please don't get them mixed up with the much heavier and denser blocks.
I've made a quick video to demonstrate how easy it is to carve these blocks. I hope you find it helpful:
- Breeze Block (Aerated Concrete Block)
- Cheap Old Hand Saw
- Cheap Old Chisels
- Sand Paper
- Black Marker Pen
Step 1: Draw on Design & Rough Cut
If you don't feel very artistic you can of course print of a design to trace but for this owl its very basic shapes and its really easy to free hand.
I start with a rough circle for the head. Then I draw a tear drop shape for the front wing and finish it off with a curve to the right of the wing for the body. I try to make the shape resemble a love heart as a guide. You can of course apply this technique for any design you like. I will add some photos at the end of some other carvings I have done to give you some inspiration.
A black marker pen really is the best choice to draw on these blocks. They are very dusty and can lose other markings quickly.
Once I had the design drawn. I used the handsaw to roughly cut out the shape. These blocks cut really easily with a hand saw. The block was a bit bulky for the design I wanted so I cut it in half again using the handsaw. I then proceeded to cut of the corners to get it as close to round as I could.
Step 2: Carve the Details
Now we have the rough shape established its time to carve the details.
These blocks carve really easily with old rusty chisels so there isn't any need to use fancy tools. Also don't use your best tools on this project. They aren't needed and you will blunt them quickly.
For the owl design I start by chiselling along the wing line to create a groove. I use the smaller chisel for this job. Once I have the groove carved I use the larger chisel to remove the bulk material on the body. It really is a quick process so take your time. You can always remove more if needed but its hard to put it back.
Next I carve the face details. For an owl its very easy. I lower the surface below the brow and nose. The brow and nose basically look like a how we draw birds when we are young. I then use the chisel to create indentations to represent the eyes.
Step 3: Round & Smooth
Now all the details are carved we can round everything over and sand it smooth.
I used the larger chisel to round over the edges and give it a much more elegant look. Its best to take light passes and as always take your time. You just want to achieve a gradual curve on the edges. Don't worry about it not looking too smooth because the sandpaper will soon sort that out.
Right now for sanding. Using some 80 grit paper I sanded the carving all over. In seconds you will see how smooth it gets and it starts to resemble stone.
At this point I would recommend adding some masonry sealer although I'm yet to try this myself. I've had a couple of carvings in my garden for a year now with no protections and they still look like new. I do think that a sealer would be best though.
I've added the other carvings I did last year. I hope you enjoy this project and give it a go for yourselves. Its great fun and its very easy to do.