Santa Ornaments archive

Thursday 20 November 2008

Cyndi Joslyn shows you how to carve these fun festive ornaments


Because of their small size and simple cuts, these ornaments are perfect for beginner carvers. Experienced carvers can add subtle changes to the hat, hat trim, and beard to create an entire collection of Santa ornaments from one basic pattern. I recommend the use of a Kevlar carving glove and a carving apron to ensure your safety.

Start by transferring the pattern to the sides, top, and bottom of the blank, using transfer paper and a stylus.

Cyndi Joslyn is a professional woodcarver who lives in Missoula, MT. Visit her website at

David Preece

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Santa Ornaments , Cyndi Joslyn , Figure Carving , Christmas

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"I recommend the use of a Kevlar carving glove and a carving apron to ensure your safety"


Painting Your Santa

Use two coats of Medium Flesh paint over the entire face area. Make sure you get into all the cracks and creases. It is okay to let the paint stray into the beard area. Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly before applying the second coat (see photo A).
For the cheeks take a small puddle of the Adobe paint and blend with an equal amount of water to create a paint wash. Dip one corner of a flat paintbrush into the paint wash. Paint the wash over Santa's cheeks - with the dipped corner next to the beard (see photo B). Rinse and dry the brush. Then pull the dry brush down from the top to the bottom of the Santa's face - this blends the blush. Allow the paint to dry. Repeat this process if you desire more colour in the blush. Do not add more paint over the wet areas as this will pull up the paint wash. Paint Santa's beard and the trim on the hat white. Paint the hat red.
Paint Santa's eyes (see photo C). Use a liner brush and Light Ivory. Allow the paint to dry. Select an iris color (Blue Haze for blue eyes, Autumn Brown for brown eyes). Using the iris color, apply enough pressure to form an oval of color that touches both the top and bottom edge of the eye and let it dry. Paint the pupils Black. Use the same technique, but have the pupil oval touch only the top of the eye. Allow to dry. With a fine stylus, add Light Ivory dots to the right sides of each eye.
Add the flower motif (see photo D). Dip the handle of a brush into Light Ivory. Keep the paintbrush perpendicular to the carving and make a 6mm (1/4in) wide dot in the centre of the hat. Dots are thick and need extra drying time. When dry, add a smaller Empire Gold dot to the centre of the first dot with a stylus. When dry, create tiny Hunter Green leaves, using a liner brush. Dip the tip of a stylus into the Light Ivory once, and create a random series of paint dots on each side of the flower. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Delta Ceramcoat paints are used in this article and are widely available in the USA but are harder to come by in the UK. It's fine to use alternative acrylic paints to create the shades you want to use. Remember this is a fun project and the colours can be any shade you choose, so enjoy experimenting. Go to: for paints.
Brown iron oxide paint and antiquing retarder can be replaced with antiquing wax such as Liberon Black Bison Fine Paste Wax, which provides a great seal over the top of acrylics. Go to:

Diagrams Click an image to enlarge