Introduction: Dala Horse Carving in 5 Steps I Easy Wood Carving for Beginners
I was always fond of Sweden. It's a really beautiful country. Swedes study and work hard but they also take their rest and relaxation seriously. So the fika – a coffee break that normally consists of coffee or tea, cookies or sweet buns, but can also include soft drinks, fruit and sandwiches – is a social institution and an important part of the national culture. You can fika (it’s a verb as well as a noun) with your family or on your first date.
Maybe I'm a Swede, I'm having fika for more than 5 times a day :D
At the time I visited Sweden last time, I've seen their national symbol - Dala horse a lot of times. During the 19th century, it became custom to paint the wooden horses with richly colored floral patterns, similar to the Dalecarlian paintings that decorated furniture and interior walls. Since Viking times, the horse has been considered a holy animal.
It was quite natural that the handicraft was a horse. 18th century, people would sit around the fireplaces during winter nights, carving figures from odd pieces of wood.
The popular choice was a horse, which was a creature of great value for families. These were taken home to the children in the villages where they became much-treasured toys.
After our last visit to Sweden, my husband and I made a Dala horse and I'm going to share it with you. Plus it fits the multi-discipline contest the best, it combines drawing, carving and painting skills at once.
- horse blank (or just some wood)
- whittling knife
OR Dala horse carving kit that includes all above + leather strop, polishing compound to take care of the knife, safety tape to protect your fingers + a step-by-step video tutorial
Step 1: Drawing Phase I
- Take a pencil, a ruler and your horse blank.
- Draw lines on both sides.
- Draw a central line through the whole horse.
- Draw additional lines on both sides of a horse.
- Make marks of 0.5’’ to connect the hooves of a horse. Then draw circles for the hooves.
- Do the same on each side of the hooves (4 times).
Step 2: Drawing Phase II
- Draw additional lines on both sides from the central line.
- Make the lines 1/16’’ on both sides from the edge to round off the horse.
- Shade the area which we will remove from the top.
- Shade the area which we will remove from the sides.
Step 3: Carving Phase
- Start removing the shaded areas from both sides. For this, you'll need a whittling knife, either get one yourself, or you can receive a knife with all other necessary stuff in a kit.
- Cut the area between the hooves.
- Split off the ears by making two triangles.
- Draw the lines from the center of the head on both sides
- Cut the ears and round face from both sides.
Step 4: Sanding Phase
Use sandpaper P150 to sand the horse, so that the paint would cover a horse well in the next step.
Step 5: Painting Phase
Choose any design you want and follow it! The traditional color of Dala Horses is a bright orange-red, but they can also be found in white, blue, or black.
Hope you enjoyed my instructable.
It's really easy to make a horse. Even for kids, it would be an easy-peasy and fun thing to do.
In case you face any issues/questions while carving, feel free to message me here anytime.
Check out my other Instructables for some easy wood carving projects!
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