How to Make Dirt

Many times when you make a carving (particularly a small one) you want to put it into a diorama, or little scene with added accessories such as docks, fences, and other little carvings to go with it.  If your scene is going to be set on the ground you will probably want to use some kind of sand or dirt to make it look more realistic.  The tutorial below shows you how to make realistic looking dirt which will really add to your diorama’s authenticity.

How to Make Dirt

1.  Take a cup of coffee grounds, add 1/4 cup white fluffy beach sand.  Mix completely while it is dry.

2.  Mist spray very lightly, do not let it clump.  Fluff up the mix.

3.  Using a teaspoon, place the mix where you need on your carving.

4.  Next mist lightly to settle it down to get it ready for the glue mix.

5.  Mix 50/50 Elmer’s white glue and water.  Mix, do not shake, you do not want bubbles in it. 

6.  Take a few drops of burnt sienna acrylic paint and mix.  It should look like chocolate milk. 

7.  Take an eye dropper or pipette and drop the glue on the “new earth”, and make sure you do not allow it to get beyond the edge of your dirt.

8.  Let dry overnight.

The great thing is you can come back and add more dirt if needed and it will glue in place very well.  The coffee will stain the sand and you get a pretty good representation of the real thing.

Reader’s Comments

There are no comments or questions from our readers this week.

Carver’s Corner

“Carver’s Corner” is the section where you can send in photos of your carvings to have them critiqued by me and get my truthful opinions on what you did right and where you might improve next time.  It’s an excellent opportunity to improve your carving skills!  Send your photos to

Since we don’t have any entries to the “Carver’s Corner” again this week I’m sharing some photos of a mule I carved about 50 years ago when I first started out in wood carving.  I hope you like it.

Photo Shop

“Photo Shop” is the section of Wood Chip Chatter where carvers can send in photos of their wood carvings for display. It’s your chance to show off your work…sort of a show and tell. The photos will only be displayed and no comments or critiques will be made.  For critiques on your carvings send them in to the “Carver’s Corner.”  Send your photos to 

This week we have an entry to the “Photo Shop” from my good friend, Tony Harris, of a praying cowboy he recently carved.

That’s an exceptional job you did on that carving, Tony!  The detailed carving and coloring are spot on!  Great work, my friend!

Free Pattern!

News & Announcements


The Lancaster County Woodcarving & Wildlife Art Festival at Millersville University, Millersville, PA. March 12 & 13; Sat. 10 to 5, Sun. 10 to 4.  Located in the Student Memorial Center, 101 Shenk Lane on your GPS (the entrance is across the street from this address).  Masks are optional but not required as previously announced.  I will be at Tables 67 & 68, so stop by and chat for awhile!

The International Association of Woodcarvers has upcoming Zoom meetings on the following Saturdays at 3PM EST with special guest presenters.  Check them out…

Zoom:  3104603575


3/12 – Roger Beane

3/19 – Ray Meyer

3/26 – Cam Merkle – Razortip

4/2 – Steve Tomashek

4/9 – Joe You

4/16 – Chris Hammack

4/23 – Brett Andrews

4/30 – Cecilia Schiller – Cranklady

5/14 – Dana Kababik – Carving Junkies



The Jersey Hills Wood Carvers (JHWC) club is a small but growing group of wood carvers sharing their time, knowledge and joy of woodcarving.  The JHWC generally meets from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday of each month (when school is in session) at the Jefferson Township High School wood shop classroom.

Membership is “FREE” and open to anyone interested in woodcarving regardless of their ability.

JHWC’s Upcoming Meetings and Events

Mar. 17th

Apr. 7th

May 5th, 19th

Jun. 2nd, 16th, 30th

For more information contact:

Al Santucci  President

Bill Brunner  newsletter/website editor

Or visit:




Contributions to “Carver’s Corner” and “Photo Shop” have wistfully slowed to a crawl.  I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share.  Photos of your carvings not only liven up the Blog’s appearance but they are a huge part of what makes Wood Chip Chatter interesting.

“Carver’s Corner” is a great place to get constructive critiques on your carvings so you can learn where to improve on your next ones.  “Photo Shop” is a great place to show off your work!

Your questions, comments and photos are what Wood Chip Chatter is all about.  They are all a vital part of what makes this Blog what it is.  Send them in to and let’s keep the wood chips flying!

Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!

Funny Bone

Published by carverbobk

I’m a self taught award winning wood carver who has been carving since I was a teenager. I enjoy instructing other carvers, especially beginners.

2 thoughts on “How to Make Dirt

  1. good infor on sand..i take and use saw dust..spread glue on the base thin and put saw dust on.pat down and let dry..brush off great


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: