Holiday Carving / Patterns & Projects

Shelf Sitter Elf

Fantasy caricature hangs out on any ledge

By Floyd Rhadigan

I love to create projects that incorporate my two passions: fantasy literature and caricature carving. This little elf shelf sitter, guaranteed to elicit a smile, blends the two together perfectly. Fantasy caricatures are a lot of fun because they allow you to take creative liberties. While there are generalizations, such as pointed ears on an elf, there are no hard rules that must be followed.

I start with a rough out. If you cut out the blank with a band saw, it won’t take you long to get to this point. Carve in the basic forms using the pattern as a guide.

Basswood: 2 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ (65mm x 14cm x 19.1cm)
Acrylic paint, such as Delta Ceramcoat: medium flesh, Hooker’s green, white, pthalo blue, moss green, cadmium orange, burnt umber, burnt sienna, tomato spice red, black
Finish, such as Krylon: matte
Finishing wax, such as Watco: natural
Finishing wax, such as Watco: dark

Carving knife
Detail knife
#7 gouge: 3/8″
Gouge: 2mm
#11 gouges: 1/4″ (6mm), 3/16″ (5mm)
V-tools: 1/4″ (6mm), 3/16″ (5mm)

CLICK HERE to download the Shelf Sitter Elf Pattern.

For more information on how to carve fantasy characters read Carving Fantasy Characters by Floyd Rhadigan. Learn to carve 15 different lighthearted fantasy characters such as an elf, troll, pixie and more with detailed patterns and instructions. It is available for purchase at for $16.99 plus S&H.

For full step-by-step instructions get Woodcarving Illustrated Fall 2010 (Issue 52) here. 

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