This simple wood whittling tutorial to carve a mini crooked house is fun and easy. This project is small enough to take with you outdoors (as I did on a recent camping trip in Maine).
The inspiration for this adorable little house came from an illustration I saw online (credit: Lineartestpilot). I knew I wanted to carve it in wood.
I hope you have as much fun with this simple wood whittling project as I did!
Start with a wood block that is 1 x 1 x 3 inches (2.5 x 2.5 x 7.6 cm). To make a larger house, simply increase the dimensions. If you prefer to use a band saw to roughout your house, photocopy the pattern at the end of this page to size to fit your wood block.
You will be carving off the front corner of your turned block (photo 1), which will give you more space for your little house. Use a pencil to sketch your guidelines.
You probably only need one sharp knife for this piece. If you use a long-bladed knife, you might want to switch to a smaller bladed detail knife to carve the tiny windows.
Always wear a carving glove for safety. If you carve across your lap, also place a flat piece of wood—or a plastic cutting board—across your thighs to protect your vital blood arteries from a knife slip.
Strop your knife every 30 minutes to keep it super sharp. There is nothing more dangerous (or frustrating) than a dull knife!
As always, a painting guide is included at the end of this tutorial if you want your crooked house to look like mine.
It may help to watch this short video—which has snapshots off all the steps—before you start this simple wood whittling project.
Turn your wood block (as shown in photo 1) and mark the areas of wood that you will remove (from the top all the way to bottom) to flatten the front and back of your wood block. It may take several passes. Also round the remaining corners on the left and right sides to create a rectangular shape.
Once you have your roughout, sketch the curvy house on the front, marking the areas of wood you will remove (photo 2). You can freehand sketch the pattern. Or, photocopy the pattern at the end of this page to size to fit your block. Cut out the pattern with a scissors and trace it on your wood block. Note: You can skip sketching the windows and door. I ended up carving them off to create a flatter front surface on my crooked house.
Use your knife to remove wood from the top right of the block (photo 3) to carve the roof. Tip: Move your fingers out of the way if you’re holding the piece in your hand!
Make a stop cut on the inside edge of the chimney (photo 4) and remove wood from around it. Shave wood off the other side of the chimney and shape it.
Use your knife to remove marked wood on each side of your house (photo 5). You often run into grain issues when you carve curves. Carving from the bottom up to the middle (photo 5)—and switching from the top down to the middle—should make carving easier. If that doesn’t help, make a stop cut across the middle and try again.
Make stop cuts along the underside of the roof eaves (photo 6) and remove wood from underneath. Also, make a shallow stop cut at the bottom of the chimney and remove a little wood from underneath (visible in photo 10).
Tip: Once you have the general shape of the front of your house (you will carve the back later) you may need to remove some additional wood to ensure that you have a flat surface to add—and carve—the windows.
Use stop cuts to separate the front step (photo 7). Now, sketch the crooked door (photo 8). Hold your knife like a pencil and cut along the guideline. Make a second slicing cut to remove the wood (photo 9). Or, you can use stop cuts here.
Sketch the 6 small windows at an angle on your crooked house (photo 10). Carve the windows the same way you carved the door (photo 11).
With a pencil, extend your front roof eave guideline around the sides—and across the back (photo 12)—and use your knife to separate it (completed in photo 13).
If needed flatten the back of the house. Sketch the larger back windows at an angle (photo 13) and carve them (completed in photo 14).
Refine the shape of your crooked house (photos 14-17) . Add small chip (pyramid) cuts in the corners of all the windows, bottom sides of the door, and under the roof (in the middle) to add shadow.
Clean up any ragged cuts on this simple wood whittling project. Tip: I use a denture brush to clean up fuzzies.
Now, it’s time to paint!
For great tips, read this page on painting a wood carving. Use whatever acrylic paints and paint brushes that you like. Dilute the paint with water (called a wash).
If you want a similar look, use these paint colors:
You can use this pattern to sketch your house or with a bandsaw for a bigger project. Simply photocopy the pattern to size to fit your wood block.