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Carved Wood Farm Plaque

By: Walnut Hollow

A rustic basswood plank with bark is painted and the technique of negative-carving is used to create a message and design on the front. Give this country plaque to a grandparent or change the message as you like.

Carved Wood Farm Plaque


  • Grandpa’s Farm Carved Plaque
  • Materials:
  • Walnut Hollow® #3510 Medium Basswood Plank
  • Walnut Hollow® #4004 Carving Set – Four Pieces
  • Pattern [pdf]
  • Brown Paint
  • Other Supplies: brush, eraser, white chalk, paper towel, pencil or stylus, sandpaper, spray varnish


Negative Carving: Negative Carving is done using a painted surface. The carving techniques allow the light wood color to show through the paint in the carved areas. Be sure to seal the wood after carving to protect against moisture gain and loss. The U-shaped gouges will make soft carving lines. V-shaped gouges will make sharp v-shaped lines. Both can be used for outlining or texturing within the pattern.

Practice on a scrap of wood to get used to the tools before starting the project. Do not make deep cuts. Basically only the paint and a small amount of wood are removed.

  1. To prepare plank for painting, use sandpaper to lightly sand surface. Remove dust with paper towel.
  2. Use brush to apply brown paint to center of plank. Be careful not to get paint on the bark. Let dry.
  3. Rub white chalk on the back of the pattern. Place pattern back on the brown paint. Trace pattern with stylus. Remove pattern.
  4. Use Straight Square Chisel to make a stop cut around the edge of the design. Hold chisel in a straight position and press into the wood. Make short cuts in order to follow the lines of the pattern. If the cuts need to be deeper, go over the lines a second time. The stop cut will help keep the gouges from going past the line. Use the small gouge to make most of the cuts. Work very slowly and do not press too hard.
  5. When complete, use eraser or damp cloth to remove any chalk marks. Apply 2-3 coats of spray varnish for protective finish.
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