How to Carve a Face Into a Tree

Updated March 21, 2017

Tree carvings are culturally significant projects where peoples have inscribed sayings and images onto trees. For example, the art known as arborglyph is based upon tree carvings done by Basque and Irish sheep herders in Oregon. Although many cultures and novices carve images into trees, the art of carving a face into a tree is particular hard because of the detailed needed. Knowing what you want before you start carving a face into a tree is important to the carving process.

Draw a design. Outline a facial design that you can follow throughout the process.

Pick the tree to work on. Investigate to see how thick and healthy the bark is. An unhealthy tree is not ideal to work with and figuring out the thickness helps you determine what kind of carving knife you need.

Put on your safety goggles to protect your eyes from tree dust. Wear gloves during this procedure to protect your hands and skin.

Measure the dimensions of the area you will use to make the face. This helps determine the outline of the face and how large the face will look on the tree.

Smooth the circumference of the face area with the sanding block. If any bark dust is still on the area, utilise the wire brush to comb over the region.

Slowly etch an outline of the face over the smooth areas.

Carve the diameter lightly out of the face.

Carve out the eye section of the face and lightly carve the eyebrows on top of each eye. This section is exclusively within the top half of the face.

Structure the nose section next just below the dimensions of your eye section. The nose section should be right around the middle of the diameter.

Carve out the mouth. This section should be on the bottom half of the face.

Add any other detail you might want for the face, such as hair, once all the major facial features are done.

Wipe out any bark dust with your wire brush, especially in the carved crevices.

Things You'll Need

  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Carving knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Wire brush
  • Sanding block
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About the Author

Mark Fitzpatrick began writing professionally in 2006. He has written in literary journals such as Read Herrings and provides written online guides for towns ranging from Seymour, Connecticut to Haines, Alaska. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Massachusetts.