Basic Small 2D Carving Instructions
Our 2D carving kits are designed to be simple, especially for kids ages 5-12.
All of our finished carvings and other tips and tricks can be found on this website.
Congratulations! You have an opportunity to produce your own work of art.
As you work on your personal soapstone animal, you must remember
to have fun. Remember too that traditional Inuit carvings are
noted for their powerful simplicity.
60 grit mesh sandpaper
320 grit wet/dry sandpaper
600 grit wet/dry sandpaper
Tung oil (food grade)
Think of what kind of carving you would like to do. There are many different ways to carve the same animal. Look at pictures in books or on the internet. Keep in mind that soapstone is a soft mineral, so detailed work is very limited. As with all minerals, you will get varying hardnesses between soapstone pieces, however they are all fairly soft.
Click here to download the printable PDF
Use the mesh sandpaper, begin to sand the edges of the soapstone shape. If you want to add more detail to your carving, fold the mesh sandpaper and use it to file detail grooves into the soapstone shape. Continue until all edges are rounded and any detail you want is added.
Set up a bucket of water to carve/sand in, or dip the carving in as you go.
Water keeps the dust down, making clean up much easier.
There are natural
fractures in stone and
it can be easy to drop your
piece while carving.
If a breakage occurs, don't panic!
Let your piece to dry, then use
superglue to repair the break.
Allow time for the glue to
cure, and continue
Once satisfied with your animal's shape, it is time to begin sanding. Starting with the coarsest mesh of sandpaper, sand away all the unwanted tool marks. Follow with the next coarsest, and then the finest. Continue until the sculpture is nice and smooth. This is an important step! The better your sanding, the better the sculpture will look when oiled.
Sanding in water is a must, because frequently dipping it will show you where more sanding is needed.
Leave your sculpture to dry completely.
Included in the kit is a food grade tung oil. Apply the oil with a thin rag. Allow 24 hours before applying a second coat. Tung oil leaves a more matte finish. If you want your carving to be super shiny, spray with an aerosol water-based wood varnish available from most local hardware stores. Traditionally, carvings are heated up and beeswax is applied to the surface.
Sometimes stones get dropped or seams in the stone let go and break while carving. When this happens, the first thing to do is stop carving.
Rinse off any dust on the carving and let dry. Do not rub the pieces together, as this may alter your contact points making the breakage point more noticeable. Once dry, apply a medium viscosity superglue on one of your contact points. Place the two pieces together, squeezing them together until excess glue weeps out the sides. Place your carving it in a spot where it will sit undisturbed until the glue sets, usually about 15-30 minutes. Once cured, use a rasp to remove excess glue, and continue carving. If there is a big gap missing, you can make a filler by mixing with extra dust with an epoxy glue.