Sunday, September 21, 2014

Christmas Tree Pin

It's always fun to teach a kid to whittle/carve.  It's even more fun to teach them them to whittle/carve something that can be useful to them, and give them the feeling of accomplishment.   Whether this whittling is accomplished with a knife or if the carving is done with a rotary tool the results will be the same.

Here's a simple little Christmas tree pin that can be as different as you want it to be.

Materials needed:

Knife or rotary tool
1/4 inch thick basswood
safety glove and thumb quard
scroll saw or coping saw
Green paint
Brown paint
white paint
small artists brush
small beads or 3-D fabric paint
Pin back
adhesive to attach pin back

Start by drawing or tracing the Christmas tree onto 1/4 inch thick Basswood, and cutting the blank out.  Some times I leave a "handle" on the blank.  Because of the small size of the pin it's nice to have something to hold onto when whittling or carving.  After the tree is carved, the handle can be cut off.

The first cuts should be to taper the tree to its top, and to begin to "round" it over to its sides to give it some shape.
The next cuts should be stop cuts across the tree, and remove wood up to these stop cuts.  Again, round the sides over a bit for shape. 
Finally, make a stop cut separating the tree trunk from the tree itself, and remove the wood up to this stop cut. 
Paint the tree, and the trunk.  Green for the tree and brown for the trunk.  Add a bit of white at the ends of the tree branch sections for the snow.
I like to also add some tree lights.  In this example, I use 3 D fabric paint.  Just squeeze a bit out of the bottle applicator for each "light".  This fabric paint will dry rounded and make a good light.
Just add the pin back and you've got a real nice little pin.  This example is small, but a larger one is done the same way, and might be a better choice for a young or less experienced whittler.  A rotary tool and sanding sleeve works great too.



Anonymous said...

Hi Tom, ran across your blog recently via woodcarving illustrated and I'm loving it. I'm thinking about trying it and wondering what beginner knife you would recommend. A nice starter knife that would be okay for these types of designs. Something not too cheap or to pricey. Would $40 be okay to spend on a nice starter blade? Any advice would be appreciated, I'm getting confused reading other blogs and message boards regarding this. Thanks!

Tom H said...

For a new carver, a good knife is a must. For students, I am purchasing a very good knife from a fellow by the name of Brian Ferguson
This is a hand made knife that holds an edge very well, and makes a great first knife, for about half what you mention.