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How to Carve Cork

Bottle corks can make interesting art projects.
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Because of it’s pliability, cork is easily carved and has many artistic uses. One such use is to make small carved reliefs from recycled bottle corks. These reliefs can be their own form of art, demonstrating how everyday items can be recycled into objects of beauty, or they can be used as tools to make other artwork.

Things You'll Need:

  • V-Gouge
  • Pen
  • Marker
  • Art Transfer Paper
  • Pencil
  • Utility Knife, Such As An X-Acto Knife
  • Stamp Pad
  • Inks
  • Scrap Paper
  • Glue
  • Paints
  • Bottle Corks

Art Stamps

Place the cork on a sheet of paper, and trace around it. Sketch the image you want inside the diameter you traced. This will give you an idea of the detail and size of the relief you need to carve. Stick to simple designs. Because the area is small, the more detail you have the harder it will be to identify the image.

Place art transfer paper over the bottle cork, and place your drawing over the transfer paper. Outline your drawing to trace the design onto the cork.

Remove the paper, and trace the outlined design with the utility knife. Hold the knife straight with the tip pointing down as you cut out the image. Cut lightly along the lines, angling the blade so it slopes down from the image into the background. Cut off the cork that surrounds the image.

Cut the curves of your design by rotating the cork as you cut instead of rotating the blade. This will make your curves smoother.

Chisel out parts of the design at different small depths using the V-gouge to create the three-dimensional relief shapes. Remove the slivers of cork as you work so you can better see the finished design.

Press the finished cork image into a stamp pad or a dab of paint. Make sure the image is completely covered in color. Press the stamp onto a piece of paper, holding it for a moment. Remove the cork stamp, and see the image you created.

Glue lots of carved corks together on a backing material such as canvas, plastic silicone sheeting or plywood to make one large carved relief made of the smaller carved cork stamps.

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