Carve A Simple Christmas Penguin Ornament

Carve A Simple Christmas Penguin Ornament

By Bob Kozakiewicz

This is a 9 step tutorial on how to carve a Simple Christmas Penguin Ornament.

1. Start with a 1″ square x 5 1/4″ block of basswood and mark the blank according to the diagram.

2. Make stop cuts along both the upper and lower lines of the hat trim and cut back to them.  Make a notch cut to undercut below the beak but do not cut the lower trim above the beak yet.

3. Lay your knife blade against one edge of the beak then begin at the point of the beak and make a cut straight back to the back at the hat trim.  Make the same cut on the other side.  These two cuts should form a sharp edge along the top of the beak from front to back.  A few extra small cuts on either side of the beak may be necessary to get both sides to meet evenly at the top.

4. Round off the top and bottom of the hat trim edges all around and begin tapering the hat.

5. Carve the pom-pom and finish carving the hat.

6.Slightly round off all four sides of the penguin’s body.  Be careful not to make the penguin’s body too round.

7. Draw the penguin’s wings on both sides.   Make stop cuts along these lines and cut toward them.

8. Draw a shallow arch across the front from the bottom of one wing tip to the other.  Make a stop cut along this line and cut up to it from the bottom forming a wedge.  Separate the wedge in the middle to form the feet.

9. Paint the hat trim and pom-pom white, then the hat red.  Paint the beak yellow, the front of the penguin white and the rest of the penguin black, including the feet.  Add some extra fine crystal diamond glitter (optional) to the hat fur and pom-pom, Spray with the finish of your choice.  Add a small screw eye on top and hang with a hook, ribbon or colored string of your choice.

Completed Christmas Penguin Ornament

Reader’s Comments

I got a great suggestion this week from Jessi who wrote:

Hi Bob! I just wanted to submit a suggestion for a blog post. Could you write about flat-plane carving?


Thank you for writing, Jessi, that’s an excellent suggestion!  I’m not much of a flat plane carver…I just could never master it, but I do know several wood carvers who are excellent at flat plane work.  I am also aware of some books on flat plane carving so I will do some research and see if I can get some flat plane information out in future posts down the road.

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 

Elise Hartnagel of Palm Harbor, FL send in a couple of photos of a terrific miniature caricature she carved and asked me to give it my critique.  Elise writes:

“Hi Bob,

Here are a couple of photos of a miniature 3 inch figure that I carved in front of a quarter scale dollhouse that I built out of cardboard and craft wood.  Any advise or critique would be welcomed.

I enjoy your wood chip chatter newsletter. 

Elise Hartnagel

Palm Harbor, Florida”

First of all let me say that I hope you made it through the devastating hurricane that just went through Florida earlier this week okay.  We pray for you and all those who lost so much.

It’s not easy to get detail into miniature figures but you seem to have done a good job.  All of the facial feature are there, including the ears which are always a challenge.  I like how you did the collar on the shirt and how you have the back of the necktie showing out from the front of it.

The first thing that caught my eye, though, was that your paint is too thick.  Next time try adding your paint in several layers of thinned out washes of paint and build the color up that way instead of applying it in one thick coat.

Your face is a little too round.  It should be a little more egg shaped.  Try thinning the lower part of the face from the cheeks towards the chin.  Maybe add a shirt pocket next time.  Little details make a big difference.

It looks like you did quite a nice job on your miniature doll house too.  I really like it, and I like that you are enjoying Wood Chip Chatter.  Keep up the good work, Elise!

Our next entry to the “Carver’s Corner” comes from Dan Bennett who writes:

“I certainly enjoy all your guidance in your newsletters!  Thoughts please!

Thanks Bob.  —Dan” 

Thank you for your kind words, Dan!  I’m glad you’re enjoying Wood Chip Chatter.  As I mentioned above I’m not much of a flat plane carver and really admire those carvers who are talented in that form of woodcarving.  From your photos I can see you are quite an accomplished flat plane carver yourself.  Not being an expert in the field it’s difficult for me to judge a flat plane carving but from what I know it appears to me you’ve made all of the major basic cuts.  It may be a little bit too rounded for most flat plane experts but that’s about all I can say.  Perhaps a few more V-cuts for wrinkles in the clothing.

Keep at it, Dan!  You’re well on your way to becoming an expert flat plane carver!

News & Announcements

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

Zoom:  310-460-3575


10/1 – Chris Gardea

10/15 – Nikki Reece

10/22 – Bob Hershey

10/29 – Rod Gatlin

11/19 – Ryan Olsen



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

Sept. 15th, 29th

Oct. 6th, 20th

Nov. 3rd, 17th

Dec, 1st, 15th

For more information contact:

Al Santucci  President

Bill Brunner  newsletter/website editor

Or visit:




Your contributions to Wood Chip Chatter are a key component to making it the blog that it is.  You may notice that some weeks certain sections are missing and the reason is there were no entries sent in to that section.  For example, there is no “Photo Shop” this week.  I hate to see that and I’m sure you do to.  So let’s all pitch in and do just a little bit once in awhile with a question, comment or photo.  Send them to  They will be greatly appreciated.

Stay sharp, 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.

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