This mushroom wood carving with a caricature face is super easy to carve with our step-by-step instructions. You can change up the facial expression to make a whole community of little mushrooms.
This tutorial is also great practice if you want to improve how you carve faces. Instead of making a study stick, you can spend a few minutes more and create your own little mushroom man.
In case you didn’t know… mushrooms are actually fungi that have a plant-like form. These adorable toadstools would make a wonderful and comical addition to any kitchen!
You will need a block of wood that is 1 x 1 x 3 inches (2.5 x 2.5 x 7.6 cm). As always with our little whittles, you can easily double, triple, or even quadruple the size.
There is not that much wood to remove so you can get away with just using a detail knive. I (Dana) used my trusty OCC Tools straight knife (1-7/8 inch blade), which seems to prevent wood from crumbling, especially on little blocks of basswood.
You will need something to draw your guidelines. A ruler is also helpful for measuring the guidelines.
A painting guide is provided at the end, along with a free pattern if you prefer to carve a much larger mushroom and use a bandsaw.
Watch and the key steps to this easy mushroom wood carving tutorial.
You will carve off the corner for this mushroom wood carving. This gives you a ready-made plane to create a big nose with depth.
Draw the nose box on the front corner of the wood block (photos 1-3). You will use our triangle-by-triangle nose carving technique to carve the nose (unless you prefer using another nose-carving method). The colored triangles mark the wood that you will remove using a pyramid cut (photos 1-3).
To set up the nose box on the front corner, the top guideline is 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) across. The guideline across the bottom is 1 inch (2.5 cm) across. The nose box is 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) tall.
Don’t worry if the dimensions are not totally perfect. It does not matter. You have a lot of leeway with these little mushroom wood carvings.
Draw a curvy line that runs around the block, which marks the bottom of the mushroom tip (photos 1-4). Again, it can be as curvy as you want.
Make a stop cut under the nose (photo 5), removing (or relieving as some like to call it) wood from underneath.
Make a pyramid cut on one side (photo 6). Make a second pyramid cut on the opposite side (photo 7).
Draw two small triangles on each side of the nose that you will slice off to shape the nose (photo 7).
Make a cut at the top of the nose to angle it down (photo 8). You can refine the nose further later, including adding chip cuts in the corners, which I like to add after I carve the smile lines.
Once you have a rough shape of the nose, make stop cuts along the guideline for the bottom of the mushroom top (completed cuts are visible in photos 9,10). Use your knife to remove wood from underneath. You can also use V-cuts here, if you prefer using them.
Round all the corners on the lower part of the mushroom wood carving (photos 9,10). Draw a guideline that is 1/4-inch (0.6 cm) from the bottom to mark the top of the base (photos 9,10). Make stop cuts along the guideline and remove wood from above it to separate the base (photo 11).
Draw the outline of the mouth and cut along the guideline (photo 12). You can hold your knife like a pencil here or push the knife with your thumb. Tip: Carefully remove wood from the middle outward inside the mouth (to avoid carving against the grain).
Draw the teeth for the mushroom wood carving (photo 13).
Carefully make a stop cut along the guideline between the upper and lower teeth and remove wood from underneath (photo 14). The top of the bottom teeth should be angled back a little so it looks like they are behind the top teeth.
Also use V-cuts or slicing cuts to separate the individual teeth (photo 15).
Make some wide V-cuts on the face, and around the mushroom, to create facets that will reflect light (visible in photos 18-21).
Use a wood burner to accentuate the mouth, teeth, underpart of the mushroom, and a few wrinkles that you carved on your mushroom wood carving (photos 18-21).
Tip: If you don’t have a wood burner, you can use brown paint instead with a toothpick (but wait until after you paint the white teeth).
All the acrylic paints used are listed below and have been diluted with water to create a wash. You can use whatever paint brushes that you want. Keep a toothpick, and a pencil without an eraser, on hand for making the different-sized polka dots.
To get an antique look, you will start with a very thin wash using Academy burnt sienna. This is a technique that caricaturist Ryan Olsen uses. Then, add new color washes layer by layer until you reach the desired color.
Simply photocopy this mushroom wood carving pattern size to fit your wood block, particularly if you want to increase the size and use a band saw to create your roughout.
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