Whittle Your Way to Christmas!

Dec 6, 2021 | 0 comments

Whittling is a great way to bring the camping feeling into your life all year long! My Santas are 6″ tall: I purchase 12″ blocks of wood and cut them in half.

When I was young, one of my favorite responsibilities when setting up camp was finding the sticks for roasting marshmallows. I had responsibility for finding four lengthy twigs and once I had Dad’s approval for my finds, the next important step ended up launching a life-long hobby for me.

My Dad always carried an Old Timer pocketknife. I felt privileged when he handed it over to me to remove the bark and sharpen the tips of our s’more tools. He always told me to be careful and taught me to move the knife away from me when removing the bark. I enjoyed this task so much!

Eventually I started asking if I could use his knife to debark branches just for fun. That led to the exciting Christmas morning when I received a Swiss Army knife of my own! That summer at the campsite I started carving designs into larger sticks and grew to love the sight and fragrance of wood chips around my feet.

I like to whittle piggies from soap bars!
This is great for toddlers learning to wash their hands.

Years later, I started carving faces and hearts from avocado pits. At camp or birthday parties, I made soap carvings for children. I give them a choice of a piggy, dog, or fish soap carving. Carving soap is fun because it’s so quick. At the last birthday party where I was carving soap for the young party goers, a 12-year-old girl asked if I would teach her. With her mother’s approval, I guided her as she carved a fish. She was so excited; it still makes me smile to think of it.

A birthday party attendee asks if she can carve a fish!
A small pocket knife or Swiss Army Knife is perfect for whittling soap.
Santa Cat whittled from basswood.

In the last few years I started whittling Santas. Sitting on the living room floor in front of the woodstove, whittling for hours and letting the wood chips fly is a wonderful pastime. Giving people one of my whittled Santas for Christmas is a surprise for them, and enjoyable for me.

Swiss Army Knife: https://amzn.to/36mhi2C

I prefer Ivory soap for carving – it holds up: https://amzn.to/3eLt8a7

I start with a block of basswood and a larger knife. You can use a fixed blade knife at this stage, but I like this knife: https://amzn.to/36lTXy6

Once I have the basic shape whittled out with the larger knife, I use two smaller knives to carve in the details:

Old Timer – several useful tools on this knife: https://amzn.to/3kiYXrW

Three basic blades on this Boker (my favorite knife brand) I use this knife for most of the detail: https://amzn.to/32vPxna

I hand sand the wood and use acrylic paint to finish the piece.

Here’s the wood I use: https://amzn.to/2Ub6KxF

Nun whittled from basswood.

Whittling is one of the ways I bring that camping feeling into my life all year. It’s a meditative practice; working with wood is grounding. Even if you just carve on sticks, I encourage you to give whittling a try. It’s an easy stress-reducing activity and you never know where your creativity will lead you!

Article written by: Catherine Goggia

To see the complete list of my articles, click here: https://girlcamper.com/northern-california/articles/

Do you travel often or tend to take long trips? Let RV Trip Wizard be your trip-planning copilot, telling you where the campgrounds and RV parks are that will accommodate your RV, trailer, or tent – plus get a free RV Life GPS account: https://www.rvtripwizard.com/#5ff359c12459b

Follow the Girl Camper Northern California page: Girl Camper Northern California

Subscribe to Girl Camper Magazine here! Award Winning Design

Check out upcoming Girl Camper Events – you can attend events in any chapter! https://girlcamper.com/events/


Submit a Comment

Our Partners

Go RVing - Girl Camper Partner Camco - Girl Camper Partner Lippert - Girl Camper Partner

Pin It on Pinterest