Carving a "Square Flower"

P. Michael Henderson
June 25, 2009

I carved a panel for a client a while back.  In the center of the panel was a four petal flower.  After carving it, I was impressed with how simple it was to carve and how nice it felt to the hand that I decided to do this tutorial to pass along the design.  

If you find this tutorial useful, I'd really appreciate if you would send me an e-mail with the subject line of "Square Flower" so I can get some indication of how many people are reading it.

Note that I use the Swiss system to describe carving tools in all of my carving tutorials.

I'm going to be working in basswood. I have a piece of basswood that's about 7" wide. You certainly don't have to make your flower the same size, just scale your work to the size wood you have.

I called this a "square flower" so the first thing I'm going to do is draw a line about 7" from the end so I have a square. Then, I'm going to divide that square into four quadrants by drawing a horizontal and vertical line half way - at 3.5"

Beginning layout

Next, I put a "tic mark" on the vertical and horizontal lines at 3" from the center and then connect those points with straight lines to give me a square.

Layout continued

Then, I subdivide that square into four quadrants, as shown in the picture below.

Divide it into four quadrants

I now want to sketch in the flower petals, which I do by hand. I come in 1/2" from the square and just draw the shape of the petals freehand.  If you want the petals to stand out more, just come in more (closer to the center).

Sketch the petals in freehand

I next draw the center of the flower - here I'm using a circle of 1" diameter but you should scale it to look good for the size of your flower.  Using a 2/19, I make stop cuts along the edges of the petals.

Make stop cuts around the petals

And then cut inward to give shape to the flower.

Start doing the relief of the petals

I deepen my stop cuts and then use a 5/10 to give a fluted effect around the flower.

Deepen the cuts

Using a 5/16, I make stop cuts around the center of the flower.

Make stop cuts around the center


The tutorial continues here.