Free your imagination: Learn to carve a simple woodspirit and a cool wooden sewing kit!

This is not a particular skill that you must know to live and survive in the woods, but in my opinion it’s this is a good and playful way to improve cutting skills, at home or near a campfire. 
You don’t need many tools for this work, but only your favorite backup blade, something to sand your work and a pencil or a piece or char to draw the main lines.
As you will see this woodworking technique it’s not too difficult and uses two types of cuts: straight cuts and angled cut.
The straight cut is a stop for your blade, when you are using an angled cut.
You have to work patiently. The more time you spend practicing, the better your results.
Apply this carving technique also to make something useful for you or
something to decorate your equipment or your backpack:
a pendant, a firesteel handle, a spoon… a sewing kit (?!? … read below!).
You’ll make something to distinguish yourself and your bushcraft style!

Woodspirits, a simple woodspirit pendant and a wooden sewing kit.

Woodspirits, a simple woodspirit pendant and a wooden sewing kit.

How to carve a simple wood spirit

Surfing on the web you can find many interesting step-by-step guides to learn about, I recommend you to read this really inspirational and detailed tutorial.
Now… Let’s start!
Cut a small branch and think like ‘Michelangelo’ or…if you prefer… ‘Geppetto’.. observe its curious shape, its curves and visualize a figure of an ancient man, a gnome, a spirit of the woods.


Tools you need for this woodwork: swiss army knife or an opinel, nail file (? see below), a small branch, a pencil

Choose a subject and start scraping off bark from the branch.
You can also keep the bark of your branch and define only a small area for your work, like my example.


Defining the face shape.


Then draw the main lines of your subject.
Remember that these ‘strange forest inhabitants’ have usually a big nose and a long use an exaggeration of some characteristics.
Help your work drawing guidelines to maintain symmetry.

Now start carving! Use your blade to define the nose. First trace over the line and then use angled cuts and remove the wood excess.

Repeat this also for eyebrows, for the mouth, the beard, the moustache and the eyes.

With cuts in a very acute angle you can define also the beard, and the face wrinkles.
Now with a nail file ( yes nail file because is adaptable and very thin) refine your work.


If you do this in the woods, when you back to home, you can finish it with paint, i’ve used acrylic color for detail to give a realistic touch.

Let’s start painting! Use a similar wood color and with a wet brush, paint all your work.

Then with a towel remove the paint excess…
Note: with this trick you have darken the face details to emphasize your work.

Now give the soul to your woodspirit.
With a small brush and the white paint draw the eyes, then with a color you like, the iris and with black the pupils.

Use a small point of white to highlight and give a realistic look!

Now add a small layer of vinyl glue to protect and add brightness to your work!

Simple woodspirits

Simple wood spirits

Apply this technique also to a walking stick…you’ll have a magic walk companion!

The wooden sewing kit

Just by chance I found this cool idea on the web (this is the link), it comes from Bushcraft USA forum, I think it’s a very nice and useful woodcarving project and now… you can make your own!
As you can see, in this project you have to carve a full anthropomorphic figure.
The subject of my sewing kit its an old man with a medieval hood ‘cucullus’, but feel free to create your subject and… share your work here in the comments!

How to create this wooden sewing kit


This is all you need:

– a small piece of leather;
– a small branch;
– small pieces of wood
– a pencil
– a SAK;
– an hand drill;
– Sand paper and nails file;
– coffee powder;
– olive oil.


  1. Saw a small branch about 10-12.5 cm/4-5 inch.
  2. Scrape off all the bark.wooden_sewing_kit_1
  3. In this project we try to realize a full figure, so define the dimension of the head and trace it.
  4. Start removing the wood excess and round the head.
  5. Draw the guide lines and follow the previous instruction for the head and the body parts. You can use the SAK saw to trace the two areas for the sewing thread and after, you have to remove all the wood excess.wooden_sewing_kit_2
  6. With an hand drill create an hole at the base of your figure and a smaller hole on the top. So you have made the container for your needles!
  7. Sand your workwooden_sewing_kit_3
  8. Cut the leather in this shape (note that is not a scaled image).wooden_sewing_kit_leather_needles_holderThis is the place to store your needles! insert four or five needles through the leather.
  9. Roll and Put the needles holder inside your wood container
  10. Secure the top with a simple knot and  a small round piece of wood.
  11. Add a wooden ‘cap’ at the end of the leather.
  12. Apply water and coffee powder on the wood, with this technique you add to your work an effects of light and shade.
  13. Finish it with olive oil, so you remove the coffee mixture excess and make your woodwork polish.wooden_sewing_kit_4
  14. Add sewing threads.wooden_sewing_kit_5

Now you have a retro style bushcraft sewing kit!
I hope you had fun with these two project!
Go out for adventure!

Ciao, Bye, Tschüß, またね!



17 thoughts on “Free your imagination: Learn to carve a simple woodspirit and a cool wooden sewing kit!

  1. This is an awesome post!

    I’ve always wanted to learn to carve like this. I’ve done a few cross–pattern handles for fire sticks, but I’ve never tried any actual art. After reading this, I am inspired to give it a try on my next outing. Thanks for the inspiration and the instruction. I’ll put it to good use.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Free your imagination: Learn to carve a simple woodspirit and a cool wooden sewing kit! |

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