How To Design Your Own Wood Carving Patterns

By: Rachel Mork

If you want to design your own wood carving patterns, you will want to take a good look at existing patterns before creating your own. You can design wood carving patterns that are as simple or as complex as you desire, but you need to pay attention to how pattern designers depict depths of cuts and positioning of patterns right on the patterns themselves. Each pattern you design is your own personal stamp, an exploration of your creative self. Indulge your creative passion, find inspiration from the patterns of others and experiment with variations of existing patterns as you explore the world of wood carving.

Using An Existing Pattern As A Guide

First, you will want to try carving a few pieces off an existing carving pattern so you have an idea of how to follow a pattern and what a typical pattern looks like. Pay attention to the way depth and style is portrayed on the existing pattern, and take inspiration from existing pieces of wood carving.

Look for a pattern that is similar to the design you have in mind, and then use graphite transfer paper to trace elements of the pattern that are similar to the pattern you wish to create. Make sure you mark which sides are which, including horizontal reference lines and other important reference points (such as front, side, back, top and bottom). Patterns can easily get flipped, so mark the side that should be side-up clearly.

If you don't like using graphite transfer paper, try creating your patterns on plastic stencil paper and then tracing along the edges of the stencils directly on the wood. An experienced wood carver can carve along the line without printed directions, but you may want to detail out for yourself instructions on how deep you want cuts to be and what kinds of tools you anticipate needing to use to achieve specific effects. Take notes as you carve, documenting what tools gave the desired effect or worked the best. This way, you can recreate your piece of art or use these new skills for another piece.

Creating Your Pattern

You can draw your patterns by hand or use a computer to design your patterns. Try one of the various computer software programs available, such as CorelDraw. Many people find these software programs helpful since they can show you how your two-dimensional pattern will look once carved as a three-dimensional piece of art.
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