Patterns & Projects

The Cat’s Meow Refrigerator Magnet

Your fridge will be the cat’s meow with this adorable fridge magnet

Design by David Sabol

Refrigerator magnets are popular craft items, particularly those that are carved. I enjoy felines, especially when they’re up to some mischief. Going after a goldfish fits the bill.

A piece of 3/4″ (19mm)-thick white pine that is freshly cut is my choice for this beginner’s relief project because white pine carves easily when wet. My tools also make cleaner cuts because the wood’s pores are saturated with water. But basswood, dry or unseasoned, is a good substitute.

Although I paint my cat with grays and whites, a lot of other colors work just as well. The fish, which is really burned—not carved—into the bowl, is a combination of gold, yellow, and white, and the water is blue. While I use oil paints mixed with Minwax Natural Stain, acrylics thinned with water are a good alternative.

Flat magnets can be purchased at craft and hobby stores. I embed three round ones into the back of the carving with enough of the magnets exposed to catch a metal surface.


White pine or basswood: 3/4″ x 3 1/4″ x 4″ (95mm x 83mm x 10.2cm)
Acrylic or oil paints
Minwax Natural Stain
Magnets, 3 flat small

Bandsaw or scroll saw
Roughout knife
Detail knife
#3 palm gouge: 7/8″ (22mm)
#8 palm gouge: 3/8″ (10mm)
#11 palm gouges: 1/8″, 1 1/4″ (3mm, 32mm)
70° palm V-tool: 3/8″ (10mm)


CLICK HERE to download The Cat’s Meow Pattern.


For further reading see David Sabol’s book Woodcarving Basics (instructional DVD included). The author will guide you through a wide range of creative projects with step-by-step instructions designed to give beginners the experience of working in a wide variety of carving styles. The book is available for purchase from for $29.95 plus S&H.


This article originally appeared in Woodcarving Illustrated Summer 2004 (Issue 27).

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