How to Make Wood Patterns

By Carl Hose ; Updated September 15, 2017

Woodworking is a hobby and craft that often requires attention to detail. Making a mistake in a woodcarving project can result in a loss of hours of work and an expensive piece of wood. Many woodcarvers lessen the chance of major setbacks by using wood patterns for their projects. You can purchase a wide range of wood patterns at hobby and craft shops, but if you have a talent for drawing, there’s no need to limit yourself to the patterns from a store. Making your own wood patterns is easy and cost effective.

Pattern Making Materials

Draw patterns on a wide range of materials. Thicker card stock is best because it’s less likely to tear. You can also purchase clear plastic sheets in a variety of sizes. Even if you draw well freehand, it’s a good idea to keep tracing paper around. Sketching tools include pencils, erasers and markers. Additional tools you’ll find useful include a ruler, protractor and utility knife.

Pattern Design Ideas

Keep a variety of patterns on hand, even if you don’t plan to use them on a current project. Having a stock of patterns can make your woodworking projects more enjoyable because you never know when a specific pattern may come in handy. The more patterns you have, the better your chance of finding what you need when the situation arises. Letter and number patterns in a variety of font styles are always good to have. Flower and other wildlife patterns are also popular wood patterns. A range of freehand designs in a Celtic tradition can come in handy for all types of woodworking projects. You can also purchase wood patterns or find them online at no cost and use these patterns as a guide to making your own original creations. Make patterns ahead of time and store them in a filing cabinet for future use or for trading with other wood artisans.

Wood Pattern Crafting Techniques

Draw your pattern designs directly onto plastic template sheets if you feel confident about your ability to draw. Simple line art sketching makes the easiest patterns. If you can’t draw, don't worry about it. You can purchase transparent plastic sheets and place them over images you want to reproduce. Coloring book line art is a good source for simple wood patterns, especially for wood designs for children. For complex designs, you can use tracing paper and apply your designs to a sturdier pattern material in layers to prevent costly mistakes. If you’re good with a computer, you can use software like Adobe Photoshop to create complex wood patterns, especially using the layer technique. Layering is a way to work on detailed designs while minimizing work time. Once you’ve drawn a pattern, use an X-Acto (utility) knife to cut them out, then store them safely away in a file cabinet with category tabs to make it easy to find a pattern when you need it.

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.