Carving a Realistic Rabbit

eNews: Strop Talk / Spring Carving

Carving a Realistic Rabbit

Turn this woodland favorite into an adorable spring decoration

By Desiree Hajny

Thanks to popular media, we can’t help associating our long-eared friends with spring. I’ve had several batches of young bunnies in my backyard and always enjoy watching each one’s development from wide-eyed little creature to majestic adult. For this project, make sure not to carve off too much wood too quickly; you’ll need that volume later for the ears and tail, and to create a supple fur texture around the cheeks and ruff. After you finish this project, build yourself a custom paint rack to keep all your paints organized in your workspace!

Getting Started

Draw the front-view pattern onto the blank. Cut around the perimeter with a band saw. Then, remove the excess wood with a 3/8″ (10mm) #6 gouge. Trace the side-view pattern onto the blank and use the same gouge to remove the excess.


Carving and Finishing 

Refer to the patterns often as you carve the piece. Be careful not to cut off the top spool for the carving blank; you’ll need this for the ears. I use a detail knife and a small V-tool to define the eye and mouth areas and a 1/8″ (3mm) #11 veiner to create texture inside the ears and on the tail, cheeks, and ruff. Mark the whisker dots in using a woodburner with a writing nib. If you plan to use the writing and skew nibs to burn the fur texture in just a few places rather than all over the body, brush on a pre-stain conditioner, such as Minwax, before you paint to prevent blotchiness. Add a clear gloss acrylic finish to the eyes to make them shine.



• Basswood, 2 1/2″ (6.4cm) thick: 3 1/4″ x 3 3/4″ (8.3cm x 9.5cm)

• Pre-stain conditioner, such as Minwax

• Acrylic paint: black, burnt sienna, burnt umber, latte, white

• Tung oil: low gloss

• Finish: clear gloss acrylic

• Sandpaper (optional)


• #6 gouge: 3/8″ (10mm)

• #11 veiner: 1/8″ (3mm)

• V-tool: small

• Detail knife

• Woodburner, variable temperature, with nibs: skew, writing (optional)

• Paintbrushes: soft, round, detail, short-bristled


About the Author

Desiree Hajny of Blue Hill, Neb., has been a full-time sculptor of wood since 1985. Prior to that, she was a high school art instructor for six years. She has authored seven books and contributed to eight others. Desiree has also been a contributing author to periodicals in the United States and Europe. She was the third recipient of Woodcarving Illustrated’s “Woodcarver of the Year” award. Find more of Desiree’s work at


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