Norse Rune Charms




About: Avid Kayaker, Canoeist, Wildcamper, SUP-er and Photographer,

I started off today messing around with the dremel tool seeing if i could engrave things and generally what i could do with it. I wanted very simple design so that i wouldn't end up messing it up.

That's where the thought of nordic runes came in. With their simple straight line designs i thought they'd be an idea place to start engraving. 

Whilst i was looking through imaged of runes and nordic symbols i remembered one of my friends always wears a protection rune whilst he's kayaking, that inspired me to make some protection charm type of things.

After a little research into runes and their meanings i decided on three with a general protection/ water/ kayaking theme. (These might not make any sense to people who know about runes and stuff i just chose them because i liked the meanings and designs)

Top to bottom. 
Algiz: A protecting shield
Uruz: Strength, speed, energy and freedom.
Laguz: Water and healing energy.

Deer antler (shed)
Wood (Oak)
Leather scaps

Dremel (or other rotary tool) (sanding, drill and engraving attachments)
Various files
Small vice

Step 1: Prepping Materials

I started off by cutting my antler and oak pieces into small strips of the size i wanted for my talisman. Then i used the rotary tool with a sanding attachment to smooth over and thin out the two pieces. 
Finally i drew on the designs i wanted ready for engraving.

Step 2: Engraving

I next clamped the antler strongly in the vice and fitted the narrowest engraving bit to the rotary tool. With gentle strokes i worked away at the areas until the grooves were several mm deep.

I then swapped to a wider engraving bit to smooth out some of the top edges or the runes. 

The final part of this step was to drill a small hole in the top of the strip.

Step 3: Smoothing

Using a selection of files i smoother off the outer edges of the piece and to remove some rough bits from the edges of the carving. Next i used a piece of P240 sanding sponge to smooth off and polish the piece. 

Step 4: Filler

I was thinking of various ways for making the engravings stand out against the pale antler. One idea was to use paint but i wanted the surface of the engraving to be flush with that of the antler, so i needed something to fill the gap. I decided to use black boot polish (seen as it was the only thing i had to hand) I rubbed the polish into the cracks and wiped away any excess that was on the surface.

I had thought about other materials that i could use, the only other thing i could come up with was some kind of clay. If anybody has any other ideas or any tips i'd be grateful. 

Step 5: Finishing Touches

To finish off the oak piece by rubbing it down with linseed oil and drilled holes in the top of each part. 
I then cut a strip of leather to go through the holes and bind them together. 
Not really sure what im going to do with it yet, though it would make a nice pendant.
I also engraved some on a piece of antler that lives on my keychain.

Again if anyone has any ideas about filling the engravings, that would work better than boot polish, please let me know.

Step 6: *Update*

After a number of suggestions of using wax ive been having a mess about. Wax crayons where by far the easiest to come by, and also give a rang of colors which is nice.

Initially i started by just rubbing the wax into the engravings. This worked fine for shallow ones but not so good for the deeper ones.7

Next i started melting the tip of the crayon over a lighter and dripping the wax onto the carving. Worked really well as the wax flowed into all the markings. Any excess wax was easy enough to scrape off with a knife.

I started to have a little bit of a play around with using different colors, quite pleased with some of the results.



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    19 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Just a suggestion for cheap people like me without tools or the materials, you can make the runes using clay and just carve out the symbols with a toothpick.

    1 reply

    5 years ago

    Thank you for the ideas. I enjoyed making these. Melting crayons for the filler was the best part, felt like a kid again.

    13, 1:51 PM.jpg
    2 replies

    Runes can be used in any way not just singily by themselves but combined (called 'Binerunes') "protection" looks like a bird track.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    the easiest way to search up good examples of runes & bindrunes is on Ebay or Bing BTW :) you really can't screw up the meaning or way to make out a rune BUT from one website to make them attuned to you was to use your own blood but red paint that represents 'blood' will do nail polish works good too (has its own brush!)

    Not sure, i remember some of the elder futhark runes being about protection. A quick web search should throw up some

    Nice! I have a soldering iron so I figure if I just engrave with that it will burn the runes in so you won't have to fill in the letters.

    1 reply
    Erod D-Isle

    5 years ago on Introduction

    good thing to use the elder futhark (if i am correct) because its one o the more commonly used runic scripts out there also soapstone and certain kinds o granite can also be used for this application. very nice

    2 replies
    the binksErod D-Isle

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yep, it is elder futhark. Soap stone would give a really nice finish, i might try and pick some up. Thanks for the idea.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice job! :) I am not an expert so I am not 100% sure of what I am saying, but try to look for bitumen wax...I've seen it used on wood furniture for aging and making cracks stand out.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    It's cheesy, but might work. Did you try crayons? We used to fill rpg dice numbers with it.

    1 reply