Friday, November 4, 2011

Carving a Pine Cone

A friend asked me how to carve a pine cone, so I will lay out the steps I take. This one is made as a ornament and it can be carved any size with a change in the layout dimensions. Other dimensions will give different results and that is OK. Cones come in all shapes and lengths.
I use a 1 1/2 inch block about 7 inches long. This will give two cones 3 inches long and it will be easier to hold on to when carving. Bullet shape the cone on each end. I free hand the vertical lines a little more than 1/2 inch apart to the point. This will even out the lines around the cone. I freehand the lines because it is quicker and I have trouble following the lines when I carve anyway. The start of the horizontal line is 3/4 inch from the top of a 3 inch cone.I make dots at the vertical line at 5/16 for the first three lines and 1/4 inch for the rest of the lines. Draw in those lines. Mark a X in each rectangle. The very tip will be v-tooled out, so don't worry about that. Spray with Deft to protect the lines you worked so hard to draw. Chip cut each diamond shape. Cut straight down the inverted V and then cut at an angle up to free the chip. Go around each row before starting the next row.. Depending how good you carve this might be good but for me it is a roughing stage. I like to carve fast.
Here I went back and cleaned up my cuts and deepened the cut to open up the cone. On the very end I used a v-tool and cut from the v to the end of the cone. Now to do the other one.
Now cut these two cones apart and shape the ends. These will be ornaments so there is enough wood to add ornament hooks to the top. You may notice that one cone I carved was more open than the other.
I painted the pine cones with acrylic's. I painted wet on wet with three different browns and green. Turn the carving as you paint because it is easy to miss a spot in one of the corners. The knob on the top I used gold. It went well with the browns. When dry I coated it with Deft.


  1. I appreciate the technique information. Thank you for sharing. I plan on doing pine cones and branches as part of the decoration on an elk based gun stock. Oak leaves are pretty, but we don't have any oaks here in Northwest Wyoming.

  2. Very nice and thank you for sharing. I'm just getting started whittling and I'm making this my first project.
    Rick in England.