Holiday Carving / Patterns & Projects

Candy Cane Squirrel Ornament


Woodburned details and dry brushing bring this cute critter to life

By Leah Goddard

Given the right circumstances, realistic wildlife carvings make great holiday ornaments. I created this squirrel holding a candy cane to combine my interest in realistic wildlife with whimsical situations.

Carve this piece out of a solid block of wood, using a variety of power and hand tools. After shaping the carving, add texture with power-carving bits and a woodburner.

After you have finished adding texture with the woodburner, mix a bit of water with burnt sienna acrylic paint and apply it to the squirrel with a round brush. Use the photo of the ornament as a reference. Allow the paint to dry. Dip a stiff-bristle brush in white acrylic paint and scrub it on a paper bag to remove most of the paint and evenly distribute the remaining paint through the brush. Stroke the brush across the fur texture to apply a bit of white paint to just the high parts of the fur.

Use a detail brush to paint the eyes black, the teeth and white stripe on the candy cane white, and the red stripes on the candy cane red. Add a few dots of black around the mouth to simulate whiskers.

Basswood: 3 3/4″ x 6 1/2″ x 7″ (95mm x 16.5cm x 17.8cm)
• Acrylic paint, such as Liquitex heavy body: unbleached titanium, titanium white, burnt umber, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, sap green, ivory black
• Acrylic varnish

Carving knife of choice
• V-tool: 5mm
• #3 palm gouge: 10mm
• Micro gouge
• Woodburner
• Woodburning pen, flat rounded
• Woodburning pen, small and large skew-tip
• Woodburning pen, round tip
• Paintbrushes

CLICK HERE to download the Candy Cane Squirrel Pattern.

CLICK HERE to download additional Candy Cane Animal Ornament Patterns (1).

CLICK HERE to download additional Candy Cane Animal Ornaments Patterns (2).


For more information on carving Christmas ornaments read Carving & Painting Christmas Ornaments by Betty Paddon. Carve and paint your own festive wooden Christmas ornaments, with step-by-step projects, detailed instructions, original patterns, and inspiring color photographs. The book is available from for $16.99 plus S&H.

CLICK HERE for full step-by-step instructions and to read more great articles from Woodcarving Illustrated Fall 2010 (Issue 52). 

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