Carved Wood Owl Caricatures - Owl You Need Is Love




My name is Jeff and I've been a Maker all my life. I will be posting Instructables of my project...

This simple caricature of two owls in a wintery scene can be made with a few hand tools and wood burner.

It is made from a rectangular bass wood block which can be found at your local craft store for under $5.

If you are new to woodcarving, it may take a little time to get the feel of cutting with the grain. But with patience the end result is a cute folk art piece.

It should be noted that this Instructable uses sharp carving tools and hot wood burner. Remember SAFETY FIRST ...

1) Always wear a carving glove and thumb guard when using the carving tools.

2) Use caution with the hot wood burner and work in a well ventilated space.

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Step 1: Carve 2 Owl Shapes From a Basswood Block

Starting with a rectangular basswood block cut off two pieces using a handsaw to make two owls.

Using a carving knife, round off the corners of the wood blocks and start shaping the wood until it looks potato shaped. The size and shape is flexible as this is a simple caricature carving.

Remember to leave a small amount of the wood to carve in the beak and feet.

Use a pencil to draw in the wings. Then undercut the wings so they sit on the owl's body.

Draw the shape of the beak and toes with a pencil, then use a gouge to shape the beak and feet.

Using a hole punch make circles for the eyes. Then using the knife round the eyes and make undercuts to set them into the owl's face.Wood

Step 2: Woodburn Feathers

Follow a natural pattern of flow for the feathers as in the sketch. Use the blade of the wood burning tip to make various strokes for the small feathers. Being a caricature the feathers are not realistic but are done to add an interesting texture.

On the wing tips burn larger flight feathers. First burn the feather shaft down the centre then the barbs.

Use the flat side of the wood burning tip to shade in the eyes.

Step 3: Paint Owls

Seal the wood carvings with Tung Oil. This will prevent the paint from bleeding into the wood.

Use acrylic paint thinned (50/50) with water to make a wash that will not cover the burned detail texture.

Give the Owls a base coat of Antique White. Add the pattern with burnt umber. Paint the feet with orange and the beak with a blend of black and blue.

Add a small white dot the the corners of the eye to simulate a light reflection. Coat the eyes with Gloss Mod Podge. This gives a glassy effect.

Use Snow-Tex to simulate the snow. Mix with light blue acrylic paint and add an undercoat to make shadows. Then top coat with just Snow-Tex to add white highlights.

When the paint dries, spay on a protective layer with Deft clear wood finish.

Step 4: Make the Mount

Gather some twigs and attach them with wood glue to make an interesting display for the owl carvings. Use a suitable sized scrap piece of wood for the base.

Use Snow-Tex to simulate snow on the ground using the painting technique in the previous step. Build up lumps and bumps to make it look realistic.

Use Tinkercad and a 3D Printer to make a label such as "Owl You Need Is Love". Design the labels with mounting holes so the 3D printed label can be nailed to the base.

Attach the owls to the branch by drilling matching holes and glueing in pins.

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    15 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

    I only used the 3D printer to make a label. You could simply print off a paper tag and apply it if you do not have access to a 3d printer


    Reply 3 years ago

    Whovian123 if you make one please share a photo when complete. I was looking at this on shelf I should do a doctor who Owl.

    You can actually whittle the whole project with a sharp common pocket knife. But a glove and thumb guard should still be used for safety. A proper fixed blade carving knife would be faster and easier. A beginner set usually contains a roughing knife, detail knife, a V-tool and gouge. There are a number of popular brands. I use Flexcut which is a good quality entry level tool. If there is a local carving club in your area that the best place to start. Members ofter are willing to share extra tools with beginners. Most carvers buy many tools in their lifetime, but end up sticking with a couple favourite tools for an actual project.


    4 years ago

    That's awesome! Keep up the good work and I hope you have more great ideas to share.

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    Great job. I'd love to see a bit more instruction on how to do the feathering.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks sellers.nathan. It was my first Instructable, and I wished I had taken more photos of the process. But being a caricatures any texturing would pass as feathers. I wanted to keep it simple as to encourage others to try. Real bird carvers create realistic feathers that look like the birds will fly off the table. I am a beginner myself and nowhere near that skill level. If you are going to give it a try I would suggest practicing on a piece of scrap wood first. Draw out a feather pattern and try burning it different ways to find a technique that feels right for you. I will do a video on how I do feathers in a future Instructable.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Great. I look forward to seeing the video you put out.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks tomatoskins. I made it for a gift for my wife. I tried to capture us in the owl carvings. She being small and cute and me being big with a hugh nose :)