Introduction: Sculpt and Carve a Hummingbird in Stone

Hello, my name is Mirko Prado and I'm from Bolivia, on this (my first instructable) I will show you how to sculpt a Hummingbird (or anything) in stone.

First of all, we need to know a little about WHAT TO SCULPT and ON WHAT WE CAN SCULPT.

If you wish to sculpt something, it can be made on several materials: wood, clay, glass, stone, etc. but the material will depend of the kind of sculpt that you wish to make, generally to begin you can try basic forms on 2D, choose a light and soft material and initiate to try to give a formed shape, circle, triangle, cube, them try to perfect the shape polish with a lot of patience, if you can made a perfect cube on any material, you can sculpt anything with time.

Step 1: Let's Talk a Little About Mohs Scale.

The Mohs Scale will help us to identify the materials that we can use to sculpt and what we need to make the work (tools)

Generally for my works I choose materials from 6 and low, because bring me a secure way to trace, cut and made details, anything from 7 to High, will need diamond tools and a lot of time.

The Hummingbird that I will show on this instructable was made on FLAGSTONE (Mohs scale will be 3 or 4) and it's a great material to sculpt a lot of images or shapes, easy to find and very durable on time, bring enough density for high details.

But you can use any material that you feel comfortable with it, just enjoy the process.

I keep a lot materials that I can find to sculpt: flagstone, fluorite, vegetal material, etc.

Ok, let's start with the project.

Step 2: Tools Need It to Sculp.

I like to made or adapt my own tools to sculpt, I feel comfortable with my selection and bring me high control on entire process.

As you can see in the photo, I use fine files, steel or brass brush, plastic brush (old toothbrush will works great too), adapted little saw, solder circuit tools and of course dental tools with sharp points (for details).

Also I use sandpaper from 100 to 2000 to finish the figure.

On the closeup picture you can check the files and the several shapes to work with it, each shape can be used to help you on several ways, holes, traces and cuts.

I don't like to use any electronic device like a Dremel because the vibration of the tool and the rise of temperature can break the fragile structure of the sculpt figure.

Step 3: Select You Example to Sculpt.

I like this little hummingbird that get on internet, I print it and adjust the size to the stone that I will use, try to give you enough space in the stone to cut freely and without worry.

Step 4: Copy the Main Lines.

Each design have MAIN LINES, the exterior an that lines define the size and final external shape, try to make it very clear to avoid errors on cut.

Step 5:

Cut and eliminate any not usable part of the stone, make the cuts with slow motions and avoid any twist on the cutting process, you can break easily your stone and lose time, cut straight and slow.

Step 6: With Files Try to Shape It.

Now it's time to use files and try to get near each main line on exterior, still not perfection, but you can reach the border and later define it, also you can RE-DRAW the interior design to get a general idea about the sculpt, made the inner lines with soft and delicate traces, when you have the design that you wish totally draw, you can make the lines a little more deep and start giving forms SLOWLY, because the stone don't allow any error, so if you trace, that line will stay there forever, go slowly and check the volume and shadows that you wish on the figure.

When you carving, you will get some metal spot on the stone, it's a very BAD LUCK to find one of them because it's a nightmare to try to carving, and you need to use diamond tools to avoid or eliminate it, on this figure I find a little metal spot on the wing and try to adjust the feathers with the line of the metal, that's why on the final pictures you will check a extra blink on the middle of the wing.

Step 7: More Details and More Deep Traces.

With the help of files and sharp tools like the dentist pike, you can define fine details and begin carving on stone, you need to check if the design need a deep or superficial carving, but go slowly, take your time and avoid apply pressure, you need to carve and give shape eliminating dust from the stone. Eventually you will get a very define shape and enough primary details to star with the polish and small details like the feathers rows.

Step 8: Given Extra FRAGILE STEEP.

When you finish with you carving and thinks all it's done, you need to make even more delicate and fragil your job, When I carve the hummingbird the little stone had 10mm width, with the help of sandpaper I reduce the width of the figure a just 1mm and the fragility and beauty of the figure raise a lot, this process need to be SLOWLY and on a flat surface, WITHOUT any pressure, just take your time and you will get a nicely width, each person that I give the final hummingbird, take with A LOT of care because it's very thin and don't wish to break it.


This delicate hummingbird carved and sculpt form flagstone, can resist more that you think, I drop several times and still resist, but show a very fragile finish, was sculpt for my little daughter Lenore and she loves it.

I like to protect the stone with Petroleum Jelly, give a GREAT BLACK finish and a nice aroma.

I sculpt this kind of stuff from several years ago and I always give like a present to important persons, it's a beautiful present and a great way to remember you, just try and enjoy the process, it's a nice Hobby too.

Thanks to all that enjoy this instructable and hope to add more on future, with several materials and adding precious metals (I take a jeweler course and now I can combine two beautiful arts)

Bye for now.

Mirko Prado.

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