Carve a Caricature Canine

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Carve a Caricature Canine

Use a premade blank and simple cuts to carve this adorable dog

By Lori Dickie

This little dog is carved from a basswood egg. The pre-cut and lathe-turned eggs are available in various sizes online or at wood shows. I like using these eggs for my projects because I don’t need to round the wood before carving the design, which makes the process quicker.

This design was inspired by my dog, Zak, whose happy expression always made me smile. The dog can easily be made to look like different breeds by changing the type of ears and the paint color. Display the carving on a shelf or mantle, or add a brass eyelet to the top and use it as an ornament. Many people purchase my dog carvings because the carvings remind them of their own dog, or they collect dog carvings as a hobby.

Download the Pattern

Carving the Body

  Step 1: Transfer the pattern to the egg. Draw a centerline on the side of the egg where the grain is straight. This will be the front and back of the dog. Align the pattern and transfer it using graphite paper.
Step 2: Define the neck. With a knife, stop-cut around the neckline several times until the cut is 1/4″ (6mm) deep. Then remove wood on both sides of the line. Continue to stop-cut and remove wood until the neck is formed.
Step 3: Define the body. Use a knife to make stop-cuts along the lines for the legs, feet, haunches, and tail. Carve around the legs, tail, haunches, and feet toward the stop cuts to define each feature.
Step 4: Round the body. Use a knife to round and shape the body, comparing both sides to maintain symmetry. Be sure to remove the wood all over the body because un-carved wood will take finish differently than the carved surface.

Carving the Head

  Step 5: Outline the features. Make stop cuts along the lines for the face and ears with a knife, and then carve around the face and ears toward the stop cuts to define the features.
  Step 6: Round the head. Round and shape the head with a knife, maintaining symmetry and being sure to carve the entire surface.
  Step 7: Form the nose and face. Scoop out the eye area above the nose using a knife. Round the face to define the features and blend the edges of the eye area with the rest of the head.
  Step 8: Woodburn the fine details (optional). Using a woodburner with a fine writing or shading tip, burn along the cuts to remove burrs and add the facial features.


Paint the dog your choice of color. Paint the nose black and the tongue iron oxide. For a fur-life effect, you can dry-brush the carving with white or dark paint, which will highlight the carved texture. To dry-brush, dip a brush in paint, wipe the brush until most of the paint has been removed, and brush over the entire dog. Wait until the paint dries and apply two coats of matte varnish.

Materials & Tools


  • Basswood egg: hen size
  • Acrylic paints: black, brown, iron oxide, white
  • Varnish: matte
  • Graphite paper


  • Carving knife
  • Woodburner with tips: fine writing or shading (optional)
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil

The author used these products for the project. Substitute your choice of brands, tools, and materials as desired. 

About the Author

Lori Dickie lives in Michigan with her husband, Steve, three Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and 80 chickens. She has been carving for two decades and displays her work at local shows and at

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