How To Carve Wood with Dremel? [The Proper Way]

Wood carving with Dremel is an amazing art and a great way of displaying your creativity. However, it is essential to master the art properly to ensure beautiful artwork. But for that, you have to know how to carve wood with Dremel correctly.

Even though the art of wood carving with the help of a Dremel tool looks easy, one tiny mistake can ruin your entire work. When I first got into wood carving, many projects made their way into the garbage as I could not grasp the art properly.

I dropped everything in my hand and decided to learn about the mistakes and tips for improving the art of wood carving. So, stay tuned till the end of the guide, as I will share several useful tips and advice that will help you master wood carving with a Dremel tool.

10 Steps Should Follow To Carve Wood With Dremel: The Easiest Way

Below I explain the whole procedure step-by-step. Read them carefully before starting the carving with wood Dremel.

Step-1: Preparation Phase To Carve Wood With Dremel

Every carver should have some basic woodcarving tools of their own. And you need to choose them before any carving learning. For example, axes and knives.

The purpose-built knives are an amazing investment for whittling tasks. And having an ax is also pretty elementary. The grip is a tad bit simpler with a small ax by the way. Oh, you also need a sharpening stone. Not to forget the knowledge on How to Sharpen Wood Carving Tools.

Step-2: About The Selection Process Of Dremel Accessories

A big part of wood carving involves having the sense of proper Dremel tools and accessories selection. The three high-speed cutters (7.8mm, 7.2mm, and 4.8mm), engraving cutter, and carbine cutter ball tip are all fine examples. You also need to pick Dremel tools for the smoothing step afterward.

Step-3: About The Selection of Wood

There are lots of Dremel wood carving patterns that you might be tempted to try. But keep in mind, this is your first time. And so, you want to be very selective about most things for the first few projects.

The choice of wood is also something you should be picky about. Usually, for starters, it’s best to go for softwood. For example, horse chestnuts are very easy to carve. Also, you can try limewood, birch, willow, and pine.

After you reach the intermittent level of carving, go for maple, walnut, cherrywood, and the ones that come with beautiful colors and patterns for living up to your design desires. 

Keep In Mind- You want to avoid natural formations and go for the cleanest wood possible when starting with wood carving. The ones that have growth rings or knots are something to avoid. Also, don’t try to get it from the lumberyard.

Step-4: Educate Yourself on Safety to Carve Wood with Dremel. 

You can find more information on this in detail from several other sources. These are basic, so; I’ll just add some pointers to remind you.

  • Along with the Dremel wood carving machine, your knife is also very important. Make sure it’s well sharp, or a dull knife can cause accidents.
  • The hand that isn’t holding the knife needs gloves protection. A good pair is mandatory to wear when handling the Dremel tool.
  • You can inhale dust accidentally while carving with Dremel. Make sure to wear a dust mask to not harm yourself.

Step-5: Finally, Start Practicing Carving Wood

Is a Dremel good for wood carving? This is a frequently asked question by newbies who have little idea about using the tool. And the straight answer is that any tool will work the best only if you know what you’re doing.

So, practicing carving beforehand and brushing your skills is very important. Once you have the proper ability, any quality carving tool will feel good for the purpose.

You want to have the design sketched on paper before drawing on wood. Usually, the piece keeps changing as the process proceeds. But it’s still better to stick with the basic shape you initially intended for.

A pencil will help you lightly trace the design on the piece. Do so before any whittling at all. And then try your best to always stay within the lines. Also, other tools, such as angle grinder discs for wood carving and similar ones, ensure you have a full idea of these machines before trying them. Not only would it be less confusing, but also, that will keep things safe.

Step-6: Design Transferring To Piece

I’m guessing you chose softwood for carving, and it’s properly clean to start the process. Now, trace the Dremel wood carving designs that you want to try on the wood directly with a pencil. If there are bigger areas, use X or slanted lines for marking those.

Now, if you are trying to learn how to Carve Designs into Wood that’s dark in tone, then using a white pencil will help to trace

If you are trying to transfer the design, use carbon paper. You can simply use any design found online this way. Just print it out and then outline it onto the wood. Make sure there’s no rubbing done on the paper with your hand, or it would catch smudges on the wood. 

Step-7: Securing The Wood With Clamp

Your workspace should have enough light sources for you to work without issue. Once you finalize where to work, make sure you clamp the workpieces using C-clamp to the surface. It should not shift while you try to carve. 

Step-8: Carve Wood with Dremel Tool

Use the flexible shad attachment to easily hold and work with the tool. Now just like you’d hold a pencil, grip the Dremel tool the same way. Make sure the rotating end is at least an inch away from your fingers. Now start working on the wood piece while maintaining a 30- or 45-degree angle with the tool. This is proven to give the most control while carving. 

Shorter strokes gradually, that’s the key point for beginners. Also, always follow the wood grain direction. Each session should be no longer than 10 seconds. Making a mistake is very probable. So don’t rush and accidentally carve sections that are not meant to.

Also, with the Dremel wood carving projects, while pressing onto the material, it should be done very lightly. This way removing too much wood would not be the case. Keep in mind that once you take off too much wood, it won’t be able to go back. 

Step- 9: Using Bits for Carving

You can choose from different Dremel bits for wood carving according to your project. For example, to handle vast areas of wood, a sabretooth works best. This type of bit often needs one to test the speed before trying on the main piece. Then there are the fluted carbide Dremel bits for wood carving afterward. Also:

  • You can use the cylindrical bits for V-shaped channels, and flat edges work.
  • For detailed lining, use the pointed or tapered bits.
  • Rounded edges can be made with ball-shaped bits.
  • To smooth cuts and sand the edges, use a diamond bit.
  • To add texture, use a fluted ball bit.

Step-10: Finishing Touches

Use the diamond bit with the rough texture if there’s any sharp edge on the designs that need softening. Make sure to wipe the sawdust frequently as well by taking breaks while carving. Stop every five minutes for this purpose. You can make the workpiece even more interesting.

Lately, add a thin layer of stain that you prefer on the piece. A rag or paintbrush shall help you here. Secure everything with a polyurethane finish coating as well. And You Are Done!

8 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid While Carving Wood With Dremel

When it comes to carving wood with a Dremel tool, there are quite a few common mistakes that we all make at one point or the other. Here, we will discuss some of the most common mistakes and how to prevent them.

1. Not Testing The Tool Or Skills First

The most common that we often make during wood carving with a Dremel is that we do not test the tools or our skills. We usually start working directly on the wood and miss important pieces that ruin the entire project. While confidence is necessary, testing the tools beforehand is essential to understanding the flow of work.

Not only that, but it will also help grasp the feeling and understand how the tool works better. Before carving the wood, check the tools on a spare wooden piece and test the carving skills. This will allow using skills and tools while carving wood properly.

2. Not Keeping The Tools Sharp

Blunt edges or tips of the Dremel will not be able to present a neat and beautiful design. Not only that, but it will also ruin the projected style to a certain extent. To avoid this mistake, sharpen all the edges properly before starting carving.

3. Applying Too Much Pressure

The Dremel tool is a fast and robust wood carving tool. The machine easily carves desired designs on wood without much struggle. However, while carving wood, we often apply too much pressure on the wood, which causes it to crack and ruin the entire thing.

To prevent this from happening, apply a low pressure on the wood and allow the tool to do the work. However, ensure that you keep a steady hand throughout the project, otherwise, the design will not sit properly.

4. Carving Against The Grain

We all know that wood has a certain grain to it, so make sure to carve towards the grain. We often carve or move the Dremel towards the opposite side of the grain. This does not only cause damage to the wood and break it but also causes the tool to get stuck and damaged.

Before starting, ensure that the tool is aligned to move towards the direction of the grain. This way, the Dremel tool will be able to work swiftly, and the wood will not be damaged.

5. Rushing The Process

Wood carving is an activity that requires a lot of patience and time. Many of us often rush the carving and drying process, causing the wood to break or chip away easily. When working on wood carving, be patient and slowly work on each step to make the project successful.

6. Not Using The Right Polishing Substance

To ensure the carving lasts a lifetime, polish the wood once it has dried completely. However, to ensure proper longevity, choose a suitable polishing substance. Many people use olive oil, accumulating dirt, dust, and so on over time.

Other than olive oil, you can use several different types of oil, including linseed oil and walnut oil. Because it prevents the carving from getting affected by the contraction and expansion of the wood.

7. Not Preparing Properly Before Carving

We often just take out our Dremel and start carving on the piece of wood. This is a major mistake and can often disrupt the work at hand. Make sure that the Dremel is fully charged before turning it on so that the battery does not run out in the middle of work.

Prepare the wood properly by cleaning it with a cloth and clearing the surface. Keep all wood shavings, dust, and so on away from the table, so there is enough space to move the tool and wood around easily.

8. Not Wearing Appropriate Protective Wear

Many people skip the protective wear when carving wood, which can often result in a major accident. Protective wear is essential to protect the eyes, nose, and mouth well. Leather gloves are also necessary to keep hands safe.

Wear protective eyewear along with a dust mask to prevent damage from wood shavings and dust. Wear a glove on the hand that is not operating the tool to ensure that it does not get hurt.

How Do You Get Good At Wood Carving With Dremel? (5 Tips)

We all know that practice makes perfect, and the phrase is relatively true regarding wood carving. Regular carving quality will gradually improve the work quality and skills. Here, I will discuss a few tips to help you be good at wood carving with Dremel.

Tip 1: Properly Sketch Or Mark The Design

One of the most important things in wood carving is to get the design right. A poorly carved design will not give the project success. Before starting carving, make sure to properly sketch the design on the wood with the help of chalk or marker. This will help work with the Dremel tool efficiently. Also, the design can be carved out without any mistakes.

Tip 2: Work With Short And Clean Strokes

While carving on the wood with Dremel, apply a low pressure on the wood to avoid damage. In addition to that, work your way on the design with short and clean strokes. This will prevent any mistakes and ensure a clean carving without any damage.

Tip 3: Cut And Remove Along The Way

A vital tip to remember during wood carving is to cut and remove the wood, shaving, and dust along the way. Make sure the surface is clean at all times to give proper working space. Use a sanding drum to round edges and blunt corners as well.

Tip 4: Always Use Sharp And Proper Tools

Using a Dremel tool to carve out wood, use the right carving bits. Not only that, but the carving bits must be sharp to provide an accurate carving on wood. Sharpen the bits properly before putting them on the wood.

Tip 5: Carefully Carve The Details

To ensure a proper and creative design on the wood, ensure that all the details are set and carved correctly. After you have carved the basic design or shape on the wood, take out the pointed carving bits and focus on the detailing. The carved wood will not be eye-catching if the details are blurry or unclear.

What Is The Best Wood For Carving With Dremel?

Several types of wood are available in nature, but unfortunately, not all are suitable for wood carving. Only a handful of wood types are suitable for Dremel wood carving. As a beginner, go for pine, limewood, horse chestnut, and similar wood types. However, cherry wood, maple, basswood, yellow cedar, and so on are good options after gaining a decent wood carving experience.

On the other hand, quite a few wood types are considered the worst in terms of wood carving. Hickory and burl are the two wood types that must be avoided when carving on wood with Dremel.

When choosing the best wood for carving with Dremel, make sure that the wood is easy to cut and carve. Not only that, but try to get your hands on a freshly cut piece of wood due to ease of work. Beginners should make sure that their pieces are clean and free of knots or other damage.

Related Questions

How Do You Start Wood Carving With Dremel?

Working on wood with Dremel is an easy and effective way of carving. Take a small piece of wood and trace or sketch the design you want to carve on the wood. Set the wooden piece on a properly lit surface and wear protective eyewear, mask, and glove.

Turn on the Dremel tool and carve the outline of the design. Move to the detailing once the outline is properly carved, and regularly remove the dust and shavings. Once the carving is complete, dry and polish the wood to make it last for an extended period. 

Anyway, the Dremel Rotary Tool Accessory Kit will make your wood carving experience smoother. You should use them to see how impressive they are.

Is A Dremel Good For Wood Carving?

A Dremel is an outstanding and practical tool for woodworking and carving. This highly efficient tool comes with a wide range of attachments and bits to make the work easier. It is a perfect tool for beginners to get their hands in wood carving.

In addition, the Dremel also gets a precise wood carving experience at all times. However, make sure to charge the Dremel before starting a project and sharpen the bits for an undisrupted and clean performance.

What Is A Good Wood To Use For Carving With Dremel?

When carving wood with a Dremel tool, there are quite a few wood types that are suitable for the job. However, maple is considered the best wood type available for Dremel carving. Not only that but pine and cherry wood are also great options for the beginner. The Dremel tool can also carve oak, basswood, and other woods. But hickory and burl are not suitable for Dremel or any other wood carving tool.

 Is Wood Carving With Dremel Hard To Learn?

Wood carving with Dremel is relatively easy, and you do not have to struggle with wood carving. Set up and draw the design on the piece of wood to ensure a proper carving experience. Sharpen the bits of Dremel and make sure that it is fully charged.

Wear protective gear and turn on the Dremel to carve the outline of the design. Once it is done, change the bit to work on the design details properly. Let the wood piece dry properly and polish it, and Voila!


Wood carving is a highly appreciated art style all around the globe, and Dremel makes the art much more manageable. Now that we are at the end of the guide, I hope that you are now aware of how to carve wood with Dremel accurately.

Learn to avoid common mistakes and follow the tips properly for a better experience. Remember, practice makes perfect, so do not give up and continue regular work on wood carving. 

About Sam Maxi

Hi, this is Sam Maxi. I love talking about woodwork tools and my reviews are mostly based on the experience I have from my work. Apart from reviewing, I am a huge fan of surfing. Also, I love watching horror genre movies.

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