How To Carve Letters Into Wood?


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The DIY wood etching is now on-trend as gifts or items best sold online. It is a great wood project you can do at home with proper tools to carve letters into a wood that easy.Choose writing styles that are not too complex for beginners like you.You can start engraving your name by tracing a printed design sample onto the wood. It might be hard at first, so bring lots of patience and passion with you.

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So now, prepare your workplace to begin your next wood project. Look for a table with a wide surface to hold all the materials needed. Aim for a comfortable working area where you can stay for longer hours to finish an art. You heard it right, it will take several hours and so patience is vital.

Tools Required

The tools below consider the need for a beginner woodcarver. For the wood type, softwood is more advisable for learners as it allows easy carving experience.Here are the other essential handy tools you need to prepare:

  • Pencil
  • Carbon Paper
  • Hand Clamp
  • Right-Angle Chisel or Flat Chisel
  • Mallet
  • Sandpaper
  • Rotary Tool

7 Easy Steps to Carve Letters into Wood

Let us now proceed to the reason why you clicked this post. We can feel how excited you are in making your own wood artwork at home. Upon learning how to etch different letter designs into a block of wood, you need to master some basic steps to get started. It consists of:

1. Pick the Right Wood

The most crucial part of wood carving is choosing the right wood that can provide the best carving experience. Hardwood is recommended for skilled carvers, while softwood is for the beginners. Examples are pinewood, basswood, and many more.These woods are tool-friendly.

Make sure not to pick a defective wood.

2. Write the Letters

Do not directly write the letters onto the wood, but make use of printed design and carbon paper. We prefer block letters because they are easier to carve out later on.

Place the carbon paper with the darker side facing the wood and trace the letter with the use of a pencil. In this way, you can easily transfer the text to the wood for easy carving.

In tracing the letters, do not press too hard not to leave a dent on the wood which could be difficult to erase.

3. Secure the Wood

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Clean up your workplace and then use the hand clamp to secure the wood on the surface. Keep the clamp away from the letters that need to be carved.The wood must not move, so if it does move, add another clamp.

4. Carve the Letters

Get the right-angle chisel with a v-shaped end and then start carving the engraved letters onto the wood. The v-shaped should face-up to your letter’s outline.Its position will depend on the letter’s format whether block or beveled edge.

Better practice using a chisel on scrap wood first to know the correct technique.Slowly push the chisel along the outline and tilt the handle when it reaches the edge. Avoid putting your hand in front of the tool since you might get hurt.

You may use a flat chisel to remove smaller pieces of wood in between the letters. This tool is good at working for straight edges and vertical cuts.

Some parts of wood could be tough for the chisel to break, and so the use of mallet is necessary. Your other hand is responsible for hitting the chisel with the mallet to carve hardwood easily.

Keep carving up to your desired depth and just do not go beyond the outline. Be careful about carving around curves while using the right-angle chisel.

5. Sand the Edges

This process will let you see the parts that require additional work. Remove the sawdust with sandpaper. It also helps in smoothing the wood edges. Pencil and carbon marks should also be erased on this step.

That is why the depth of every engraved letter is important, as sanding may lose the detail if done too much. Keep being gentle in sanding the wood thereof.

6. Outline Carving

Plugin the rotary tool in carving the outline of each letter perfectly. Choosing of rotary bits will depend on the type of cut needed.Smaller bits are for narrow cuts while wider cuts require the use of larger bits.

The rotary tool should be held by the dominant hand and the thumb will control the speed. Tighten the bit in place while you are holding the lock button.Keep away your fingers on its end while spinning not to get hurt.

Start carving the outline of the letters by pushing the tip of the tool onto the wood.It is up to you to carve the letter in 3D or inset design.Do this process in one direction to look more consistent.

You may wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from small particles.

7. Wipe Sawdust

You must wipe the wood in between carvings to ensure the lines are still straight.Use your hands to wipe out sawdust or just shake the wood out.

Then again, sand the edges for a final look.If you want to achieve rounded edges, just rub the edges with sandpaper.Other rotary tools have a sanding bit that is suitable for smoothing out your work.

Please check this video on how to carve letters into wood.


Overall,carving a letter into wood requires a bit of skill on wood carving. With the use of the right tools,beginners can start a wood project right away.It is never wrong to try the skill on scrap wood and keep on learning. Every good artist began with just an idea as well, just like you today.This wood art could be your business someday and so continue improving in your craft.

Share your woodworks in the comment box to inspire others to start the new trend. We will be glad to see your artworks and will try to give you additional tips for better outputs. What are you waiting for? Pin your work now!

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