Fun wood carving patterns for beginners

Most can be carved with only a knife. 

Looking for wood carving patterns for beginners? Not only do we provide fun and free patterns on this page, but every pattern is linked to a free, step-by-step tutorial to help you get the great results you want! You also get a free painting guide with every tutorial.

When you are first starting out, you probably don’t have a ton of wood carving tools. That’s no problem as these patterns and tutorials can all be carved with primarily a knife. If I do use other tools, I often offer suggestions for ways you can use your knife. 

Wood carving patterns for beginners

How to use this wood carving patterns for beginners page

All of these patterns were carved from a small block of basswood. If you want to make a much bigger wood carving, simply photocopy the pattern to fit the size of your wood block. You can also use a band saw if you want to roughout your wood block that way.

We encourage you to check out our beginner’s guide to wood carving to get great tips, techniques, and learn what safety (and other wood carving tools) you should have before you start any project. Also, check out our wood carving cuts page to master the basic cuts you will need. It includes a great video that can help guide you.

There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to complete a project that you can be proud of. All of these patterns are specifically designed to be easy to carve. Of course, wood carving takes practice, practice, and more practice.  

Wood carving patterns for beginners: caricatures 

Our modern-day gnome tutorial is a great carve for beginners because it has no eyes. He is small in stature but big with details. You will also learn how to clasp hands on the back.

Since there are no eyes—and the hands are mittens—this is one of the best wood carving patterns for beginners. 

If you want to practice carving facial expressions, our mushroom wood carving tutorial is perfect for you. These little whittles carve up very fast so you can make a little village of these guys.

You can have fun carving a big nose (the bigger the funnier) and the eyes are painted on, making it perfect for beginner wood carvers. 

Bold, big bosomed, and hilarious. That’s Tessie, our pink-haired female troll who harks from the same Yashkin clan as her brother, Atticus.  This troll carving tutorial is filled with fun details and you can carve her pretty quickly, too. 

She offers a few challenges for beginners, including the fingers and feet. Because it’s a troll, however, you do not have to worry about these details being perfect.  

Female figures can be challenging for beginners, but female trolls don’t have to look super feminine. So this wood carving pattern is great to practice your female carving skills.

The Cigar Charlie tutorial features a template that you can use carve other caricatures from a block of wood without using a bandsaw.   Simply trace it onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out.  

This step-by-step tutorial is perfect for beginners who want to learn how to carve a caricature and get the body dimensions right.  I developed this system for carving when I was first starting out and it helped me understand the basics of wood carving a body. 

Wood carving patterns for beginners: animals

This alligator wood carving tutorial is a breeze and super fun to carve. He is also super easy to paint, which is great for beginners.  

Like wood carving, painting takes a lot of practice too!  I was terrible at painting when I first started (and didn’t like it). Now, painting is meditative. But I make sure I’m not rushing when I’m painting. That’s the secret… take your time!

What could be more adorable to carve than a fun, fat, feline? This whittle a cat tutorial makes it super easy to carve yourself a little grumpy cat. He can be carved with just a knife.

Eyes can be challenging for beginners, but the eyes for this whittled cat are painted on, which will make your wood carving easier. 

This fox wood carving tutorIal is super simple for beginners. The tail is attached to the body, so you don’t have to worry about breaking it.  The eyes are simply deep cuts, which makes this pattern ideal for beginner wood carvers. 

Our pig carving tutorial goes fast, is easy to paint, and you end up with this cutie patootie! He is real grinner. This carving is great to practice animal ears and carving the outline of the eyes.

You can also add a little wire tail to the back for added interest. 

This northern Cardinal wood carving tutorial is a quick carve and makes a beautiful decorative piece, especially if you glue it to a stick of wood. You can carve this bird with just one knife, which makes it perfect for beginner wood carvers. 

This is a very simple cat pattern to easily carve this beautiful feline. It is a perfect wood carving pattern for beginners.

Get ready to roar with this fun lion wood carving tutorial that can be carved with just a knife. You will make a series of V-cuts for the mane, which is a great cut to practice and learn.

Who doesn't love a hedgehog? This tutorial is great for beginners because it is simple to carve. 

Wood carving patterns for beginners: holidays

This is another super easy tutorial that can be carved in different sizes. Three together make a great windowsill decoration for the holidays. The eyes are simple slits, which makes carving these little characters so simple. 

This easy Christmas tree pattern is part of a trio (see the two patterns below) that makes a wonderful little holiday decoration or a stocking stuffer. 

These Christmas trees are fun and fast to carve with our step-by-step Christmas tree carving tutorial.

Cherry, walnut, pecan, or pumpkin pie. You decide with this very easy pie wood carving tutorial.

 They are a wonderful little table decoration or can be used as name card holders for table settings. 

Halloween wouldn't be complete without a Candy Corn carving.  This is another easy carving that goes quickly and makes an adorable gift for a child’s Halloween bag. 

Looking for more fun wood carving ideas?

Check out our fun things to carve page, which has links to more of our step-by-step tutorials that feature tons of progress photos to help you get stellar results. 

Some great knives I (Dana) use! 

I love these
very sturdy Focuser Carving knives (affiliate link). Their carving knife is very comfortable to use.
The chip carving knife is my go-to for clean pyramid cuts. The long whittling knife  is good for roughing out wood.
All are terrific for beginners, reasonably priced, and readily available.
They also support this website whenever purchases are made using these links (at no cost to you).


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