How to Carve Dragons in Wood

How to Carve Dragons in Wood. The practice of woodcarving is about as ancient as the mystical stories of dragons. So combining the craft of woodcarving with the mysticism of dragons not only brings back a piece of history, but also creates some beautiful artwork.

Call a local community college or university to see if they offer woodcarving classes. If so, get the contact information for the instructor and ask him where you can get wordcarving supplies. Also, if you've never done any woodcarving it might be a good idea to sign up for one of the classes.

Begin with basswood if you're new to woodcarving. Basswood is easy to carve, and basic basswood cutouts are provided at most craft stores. Aspen and butternut wood are also soft and easy to carve.

Learn about the grain of the wood. When carving animals, such as dragons, the grain needs to run up and down in areas such as the legs.

Buy an X-Acto knife with a handle and a package of #11 blades if you're just beginning to carve wood. If you've been doing it longer and you know it's something you want to continue, buy a 45-degree "V" tool, a 1/2: gouge and a 1/4" gouge. You can usually find these tools at craft stores.

Make sure all your tools are sharp. If the tools are dull, you not only make carving more difficult, but risk injuries from having to push too hard on the wood.

Draw your dragon on paper first. If you're not good at drawing there are patterns you can buy at wood carving stores that are designed to carve on wood. Use graphite paper instead of carbon paper to transfer your pattern to the wood. This way you can erase mistakes with an eraser and not have to worry about smudges.

Use a band saw to cut out the outline of the dragon. Then begin using your X-Acto knife or other tools to carve out the remaining wood.


  • Don't use any old piece of wood from your shed to carve your dragons. Certain types of wood are more suitable to woodcarving and using the wrong type of wood makes it very difficult to carve and causes unneeded stress.


  • If you are 12 years old or under don't try this without an adult who is experienced at woodcarving. You can begin by using a plastic knife and carving on bars of soap. A piece of sandpaper works well for rounding out the edges.

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