How to Carve Bone

Bone carving is a famous and interesting form of art that allows artists to express their feelings by making works and masterpieces using animal bones. This act of making artworks is very easy to learn. In addition, bone carving is also an enjoyable, fun and a profitable hobby. Many popular personalities in the world excel in this form of art such as New Zealand’s Maori Queen. Below are guidelines that can help you know how to carve bone.

Materials and Tools

To enjoy this art, there are some materials and tools that you will need such as an animal bone, a coping saw, engraving chisels and etching knife. Other materials that are useful in bone carving are scrapers, safety goggles, a hand drill, a leather mat, a sandpaper as well as triangular and round files.


Look for pictures or illustrations of the design that you like to use in this activity. Unlike drawing and painting, carving is a three-dimensional form of art so it is best to visualize the appearance, size and style of the output before starting the project.

Get the animal bone. Based on the measurements of the design that you want to use, cut the bone with the use of the coping saw. Scrape and clean the bone. Remove unnecessary flesh and marrow in the bone. Soak it in hot water with soap for a day. Wash and dry the bone.

Cover your working area with protective materials like a leather mat. Get a cutting board before carving the bone. Make an outline for the design. Use the files and the etching knife to cut portions of the bone that are not needed. Carefully carve the design with the use of engraving chisels. After carving the bone, get the sandpaper. Use this material to remove scratches on the bone that are caused by the carving tools. Use a polishing tool to enhance the appearance and texture of the bone.

Tips on Selecting Bones to Be Used

Consider the size of the output when selecting the bone that will be used in this activity. Some of the most popular animal bones that are used in carving are cattle bone and camel bone. Aside from these, you can also use deer and sheep bones when making small bone carvings. Some artists also use horns of goats and cows for bone carvings. If you are in search for a thick bone to be used, look for hind shins or other bones that can be found in animal legs.

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