Heart-Shaped Bottle Stopper

eNews: Strop Talk / Whittling

Heart-Shaped Bottle Stopper

Simple stopper makes a great gift

By Greg Young

This simple design is quick and easy to carve from a small piece of basswood. Expand the idea to make themed bottle stoppers for all occasions—an Easter egg, pumpkin, clover, football, snowman, and birthday or wedding cake are just a few of the possibilities. Give the stoppers as gifts along with a bottle of wine, gourmet vinegar, or flavored olive oil. You can also adapt this pattern to make a pendant, pin, or ornament. Before you make your first cut, make sure to check out our exclusive article on selecting the right carving knife for you.

Carving the Heart

Use a 3/8″ (10mm)-dia. drill bit to drill a 5/8″ (16mm)-deep hole in the bottom of the blank. Then, transfer the pattern to the wood and use a scroll or coping saw to cut the outline.

Use the tip of a bench knife to make stop cuts along the lines that separate the hearts, both front and back. Notice that the bottom heart is both larger and thicker than the two hearts above it. Starting with the smallest heart, use the bench knife to round and shape the edges of the heart and then carve away wood along the sides down to the stop cut. Repeat for the middle and then bottom hearts.


Finishing the Stopper

You can sand the hearts if you like, but I prefer to see the texture of the carving marks—it adds a dimension and depth to the painted project.

Wipe the carving with a soft rag, and then use red acrylic to paint it. After the stopper has dried, use a stiff paintbrush and metallic gold paint to dry-brush the hearts, highlighting the carving marks. When the gold paint is dry, spray the carving with matte finish.

Put a few drops of cyanoacrylate (CA) glue into the hole in the carving and insert a dowel. Measure the cork against the dowel, mark the length, and cut off the excess dowel. Put CA glue in the cork and insert the dowel.



• Basswood, 1″ (2.5cm) thick: 3″ x 4″ (7.6cm x 10.2cm)

• Hardwood dowel, 3/8″ (10mm)-dia. or size to fit hole in cork: 3″ (7.6cm) long

• Pencil

• Sandpaper (optional)

• Soft rag

• Acrylic paints: red, metallic gold

• Spray finish: matte

• Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue

• Pre-drilled cork stopper (available at craft and woodcarving stores)


• Scroll or coping saw

• Drill with bits: 3/8″ (10mm)-dia or size to fit hole in cork

• Bench knife

• Paintbrushes


About the Author

Greg Young is a chaplain with the FBI and a psychological debriefer and trainer for two Wisconsin police departments. He teaches courses around the country on crisis response and intervention, and responds to disasters locally and nationally. Teaching and practicing woodcarving is, in part, what Greg does to take care of himself.



Get the Winter 2023 Issue

Purchase the Issue

For more articles like this, subscribe to Woodcarving Illustrated magazine.

Magazine Subscription
Plus! Get digital mini magazines in your e-mail between printed issues.

Comments are closed.