After having fun playing around quite alot with dremel bits for wood carving, I had the opportunity to develop some familiarity with rotary tools, and eventually found myself using them for many of my dremel wood carving projects. It’s good at speeding up the carving process, which is notorious (and incredibly rewarding) for being time consuming with hand tools. However, power carving itself is an art form, has a bit of a learning curve, and requires time invested before you can effectively use it. For one reason or another, finding any sort of wood carving ideas with dremel, resources, or outlines to use as a guide are few and far between.
Sure, workshops help plenty in getting you jumpstarted into beginner dremel projects, but if you’re like me, you found these are heavily dependent on where you live and when you have free time (not much). I wrote this article to help fill this gap. You’ll see I found some free online alternatives that have designs, are easy to follow, demonstrate useful techniques, and have detailed explanations to help new comers.
Wood Carving Ideas With Dremel
For the better part of this year, I have been using YouTube as resource for expanding my knowledge, and experience, with rotary tools. One of the channels I avidly check is CarvingandSuch, can’t find much information regarding the account that makes the videos, but the guy almost exclusively uses rotary tools for carving.
Take a look at this beautiful wooden carved owl as a dremel project.
This is a still from one of his more popular videos where he uses both a Foredom and a Dremel throughout the video (both are highly recommended as best dremel tools for wood carving). There are a few videos of him doing 3d structures, but most are carvings that are shaped into the wood, like the one above.
Other walk-through videos I suggest:
Regardless, there’s plenty of videos to check out that benefit as a reference for various shaping ideas, and techniques to try out. The videos are pretty straight forward, and jump right into the project.
Carving Fusion Dremel Wood Carving
Another, perhaps more polished, channel that has plenty of informative videos is Carving Fusion, an account ran by a carver named Jordy Johnson. He goes in depth on carving tips, taking care of your tools, etc. But also has tutorial videos.
Wood spirits are his dremel wood carving specialty, and his tutorials on making them don’t have much preparation before starting. In this one, he’s able to pick up what looks like a branch you would find on the ground, and make a wood spirit in 6 minutes. For new comers, or those without a firm grasp on the ins-and-outs of rotary tools, I would suggest watching his dremel beginner series for carving spirits. It’s super easy to follow along with, and doesn’t go too fast. You will see him take his time explaining things in detail before moving forward. There’s a lot of useful information he gives throughout the project, so a lot of what he says will only help you get better.
Jonas Olsen Woodcraft Dremel Projects
As you progress, you will naturally start to develop your own inspirations and designs to try out, but even that is a process itself. Basically, the idea is to draw your design on paper, glue it to the wood, and go to work. Jonas Olsen Woodcraft has a great video on this whole process where he carves an owl pendent from scratch, literally from start to finish. Almost all of his videos are carvings he does with rotary tools and are incredibly fun and informative to watch.
He is much more advanced in his demonstrations and his craft. If you simply look at the result of his work, you might wonder why I would even include him as a resource because most of it is almost impossible to do as a beginner. There is a perfectly good explanation for that.
First off, it is a lot less about being able to replicate his work, and more about learning the creative process of wood carving. It is incredibly difficult to create your own work if you don’t know how to form your own blueprints, map out a plan, and execute the job correctly. Jonas’ depth of information is something you’ll just need to soak up and learn for yourself, especially if you are wanting to get better at wood carving with rotary tools.
Additionally, Jonas Olsen has several free PDF templates on his website. That’s certainly not something you often see people giving out without payment.
Anikas DIY Life Dremel Wood Carving
A fantastic website comprised of DIY wood craft projects that aren’t limited to wood carving, but rather, include an extensive array of examples by building furniture and miscellaneous crafts. I particularly enjoyed her post on the mandala wall art she made with a dremel. I encourage you to check it out as Anika has updated to include a dremel art project tutorial.
Dremel’s (and Foredom’s) have a significant variety of uses, and Anika does a great job bringing the aesthetic designs you can use with rotary tools.
She does have a YouTube channel, however they are not designs exclusive to rotary tools. Instead, they are mainly woodworking and furniture building projects.
More Ideas for Dremel Wood Carving
This elegant little tree could work well as a beginner dremel wood carving pattern.
As far as dremel art goes, this snail, with it’s finer antennae, smooth rounded shell and skin patterning work is probably a step up in complexity as a DIY dremel project for a beginner.
Professional Dremel Art Projects for Generating Ideas
Not being a natural artist myself, I have found tremendous inspiration for my own beginner projects from a variety of very talented dremel art professionals. In physical exhibitions and online, I have been continually surprised by the intricate art that can be carved using a handheld rotary tool.
Here’s an example of what a professional can create. Simply admire this dremel wood carving fine art work in an intricate statue. Not sure I’ll ever reach this level of artisan wood carving work. But hey? It’s always great to aspire to improve and this is certainly inspiration for me.
Some of my favorite professional artists are, in no particular order:
Jamie Locke Art
Like many of us, Jamie is self-taught both with art and rotary tools. She specializes in and creates amazing dremel mandala art on many different materials including wood, leather, glass and metal. Jamie is a very talented artist and includes drawing and painting in her beautiful expression. I was privileged enough to see one of her many exhibitions at the Harrison Center for The Arts in Indianapolis a few years ago. I encourage you checkout her website, which includes a shop filled with beautiful hand crafted items. If you are in the area, consider attending her dremel art classes to learn from the expert herself.
A particularly beautiful example of Jamie’s dremel art and painting is this Meditation Bench she carves on demand from reclaimed Indiana Walnut. If you’re local, why not stop in an pick your up direct from her studio and say hello?
Gary Harvey from GPHCarvings
I’ve found Etsy as great a source of dremel art project ideas and that’s exactly where I found the very talented Australian, Gary Harvey. Gary’s Etsy store contains a wide range of carvings from both hand carving tools and power rotary tools. There isn’t alot of public information I can find on Gary, so I’ll let some of his wood carvings speak for themselves. I’ve picked a couple of recent favorites. You can find his Etsy store here.
Beginner Dremel Art Projects
If you’re like me, you find the professional dremel artists both inspiring and intimidating. So what is a good dremel project for a beginner? I think a great place start is something simple like a leaf relief carving. The cool thing is that these can be created both with hand carving tools and rotary carving power tools like the dremel. Perhaps you’re great with a knife but new to the dremel? That was me, and this is one way I started building confidence.
Want to get started on your project? I can highly recommend this 18 minute tutorial from Stumpy Nubs. He covers everything you need to create your first dremel art project. I followed a very similar tutorial I found in an old book when I started. I only wish Stumpy was available, I might have saved a few days of trial and error. One lesson comes through loud and clear that I can echo…. “less is more”. Watch and you’ll no doubt see what we mean.
As you can see, in terms of creative options, dremel wood carving is really only limited by your imagination and time available to dedicate to learning. I hope some of these dremel carving tutorials and pattern examples help guide you. If you are ready to get started but don’t know which rotary carving set to buy, slide on over and read my dremel wood carving tools guide to assist.
Have fun and check back here regularly for updates on our various wood carving ideas and projects.
FAQ and Additional Resources:
What are the best dremel bits for wood carving?Great question and commonly asked. The real answer is “it depends”, as a wood carver always says. I dived deep into my favourite dremel bits in this guide.
What is the best dremel tool for wood carving?Really this depends on a few factors like, experience, wood carving project ideas in mind and of course, your budget. There are also great alternatives to dremel like the Foredom and WEN rotary tools. I have covered many of these in my best rotary tool guide.
Where can I find a list of beginner dremel wood carving patterns?Checkout Pinterest. There is a huge variety of wood carving examples and patterns collected. Here are a bunch to get you started:
- These Yard Dice present simple flat surfaces for a beginner to practice creating simple patterns with the dremel router bit. Add in some wood burning with a pyrography pen and you’ll get fancy in no time.
- The Wooden Spoon is a simple beginner whittling favorite that is also a great choice for a beginner dremel pattern to work with.
- How about a simple Snail like this to get you started with rotary tool work?
What is a good wood to use for carving with Dremel?There are lots of great choices for wood to get started. Like whittling by hand, I always recommend working with a structure like tightly packed drinking straws. These tight-grained woods take fine detail well. Some that I have used and like working with are:
- See my in-depth guide for more detail on choosing the best wood for carving.
What other rotary tools for wood carving are good alternatives to Dremel?WEN is a decent choice if you are looking for a budget power carving alternative to dremel. The Foredom rotary tools are really the best of the best if you are looking to invest for the long-term in an excellent kit that has a very wide range of uses and incredible durability for precision work.