Instructions for Jewelry Woodcarving Patterns

by Clarence Born

jewelry woodcarving


For most of the pieces shown here or in my jewelry gallery. I start with 1/4” aspen from the craft woods section at Lowes. A few pieces were carved from 3/8” bass wood, but I thinned the wood in the process.

Most of the hardware is available at craft stores. The tiny drill bit used in making necklaces may also be available there or can be found in most hobby shops.

The blue stone in the pierced carving near the end of the patterns is crushed turquoise from Treeline in Provo, Utah. It is set in a recessed bed of titebond glue.


I cut out each piece with a scroll saw, leaving a little extra wood around the piece for final shaping. For pieces where the border is to be lowered I saw the piece out first. For pierced carvings and for those where the image is to be recessed I find it easier to hold the work if I wait and saw after most of the carving is done.

Some of the images are inset about 1/16”. On a few of the others the image and the border are left high but the area around the image is recessed.

On the other solid pieces the image is carved as necessary and the surrounding area is lowered about 1/16” from the image out to the edge.

jewelry woodcarving

On pierced carvings I cut through in 4 or 5 stages. Trying to cut more deeply invites splitting and/or having the cut angle off to one side or the other. For all cuts through the back place a solid piece of scrap under the wood to prevent the cut's tearing out rather than cutting cleanly through.

In all cases, I round the front and back edges of the piece.


The painted pieces are done with craft acrylics. I use the paint full strength because I like the effect. The stains are water based Minwax stains, which unfortunately no longer seem to be available.


To make a brooch from one of the solid jewelry pieces I either carve a small recess on the back and glue in a clasp like the one shown in the photo, or I carve an appropriate circle and glue in a super strong magnet. Using a washer inside the cloth holds the brooch in place without poking holes in the cloth or the person. I would not trust a normal craft magnet, but a super strong magnet will hold even through a fairly heavy sweater. Don't do this for anyone you like if they have a pacemaker.

I use E6000 glue to attach the clasp or magnet to the carving.

I have made brooches from some of the pierced pieces but I don't recommend it because the back of the clasp will show through.

brooch woodcarving


To make a necklace from one of the solid pieces I use the following jewelry hardware as shown below.
1 leather cord or chain (I use 1/8” deerskin lace about 20” long.)
2 jewelry crimps
3 6mm split rings (jump rings won't work.)
1 lobster clasp (Any comparable clasp would work as well.)
1 small screw eye (I use the shank cut from a size 2 bait holder fishhook.)

brooch woodcarving

I find that assembly in the following order works well for me.

A. Drill an appropriately sized hole into the top of the carving and insert the screw eye or the shank of the fishhook. The barb on the shank will hold, but I use a little E6000 glue as insurance. I insert the shank with the barb facing either the front or back and then turn the shank 90 degrees so that the barb will be under new wood. This also aligns the eye so that later the chain or cord will feed from side to side through the split ring.

B. Insert split rings in one of the jewelry crimps and in the eye of the fishhook or screw eye.

C. Insert the third split ring in the other jewelry crimp and in the eye of the lobster clasp.

D. Hook the lobster clasp through the split ring holding the other jewelry crimp.

E. Crimp the cord in one of the jewelry crimps.

F. Thread the cord through the split ring on the carving.

I leave the other end of the cord loose for now. When I give the necklace to someone I have them decide how long they want the cord. Then I cut the cord to length and crimp the loose end.

To make a necklace from one of the pierced pieces I loop the cord through the carving as shown and omit the fishhook or screw eye and the third split ring.

woodcarving jewlry