How to Carve a Santa Ornament

by Steve Gordon


  • 1 Scroll saw
  • 1 Wood
  • 1 Index card
  • 1 Drexel tool with sanding drum
  • 1 White acrylic paint
  • 1 Blue acrylic paint
  • 1 Red acrylic paint
  • 1 Skins one acrylic paint
  • 1 Drills press and bit
  • 1 Small screw eye
  • 1 Black thread
  • 1 Ornament hanger
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    This guide is best viewed in landscape mode.

    Step 2

    I have made numerous Santas over the years, giving them away at Christmas time. I get joy out of knowing that folks will be hanging these on their trees for years in the future, thinking about me.

    Step 3

    You need a well lighted and organized work space. A scroll saw, drill press and Dremel tool make the job easy!

    Step 4

    Don't forget your personal protective equipment.

    Step 5

    Here is the Santa pattern I made, download it at and transfer it to heavy card stock. I use index cards.

    Step 6

    Transfer the pattern to the wood, in this case it is 1 by 3 inch poplar wood.

    Step 7

    Cut out the profile using a scroll saw (a coping saw works too, just slower).

    Step 8

    Here is the Dremel tool with a sanding drum attached. I do all the carving with this tool. A flex shaft makes it easier to maneuver.

    Step 9

    Once you remove all the wood that does not look like a Santa with the sanding drum, it looks like this.

    Step 10

    Here is a comparison with the pattern, note I make the beard different lengths, use your imagination. No two Santas are ever alike!

    Step 11

    The drill press is used to make the eyes and mouth.

    Step 12

    Locate the proper positions with an awl, as seen here.

    Step 13

    Then use the drill to form the eyes and mouth, don't drill too deep.

    Step 14

    Profile of finished carving

    Step 15

    Back view, note how I do the hair/beard

    Step 16

    Other profile

    Step 17

    I use acrylic paint I get at the craft store. It is quite cheap and there is a multitude of colors. It covers in one coat. You may have to mix the flesh tone to get it right.

    Step 18

    Note how every Santa has his own "personality

    Step 19

    Another view. At this point you can use sandpaper to smooth the final surface. I use a finishing sander with fine 240 grit paper. Don't make it to smooth or you will loose the handmade appearance.

    Step 20

    Once painted, you install a small eye hook in the cap and hang it with an ornament hanger and some heavy thread. I use the toothpicks during the painting process.

    Step 21

    Paint the white first then follow up with the blue, red, and finally the flesh color. I use a toothpick to color the eyes and mouth.

    Step 22

    That's it, good luck with your Santa, I think you will find it fun!