Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Wooden Animals

DIY: Cutting animals from wood offcuts
  • Difficulty

Have you been thinking about brushing up on your DIY skills and getting to know your wood cutting tools? Follow our simple step-by-step guide, and you’ll be cutting your own wooden toys in no time. From transferring the design to sanding rough edges, we’ll show you how to complete the project from start to finish. What are you waiting for? Read on, learn how to handle your cutting tools, and start creating handmade toys for the little ones in your life.

You need

Transferring your design

New to wood cutting? Simple designs work best.

You need:

Do you have your piece of wood ready? Before you start cutting, you’ll need a guide. You can either draw your own design like we did for this project, or take inspiration from a source like Instagram and Pinterest. Whatever you choose, keep it simple. Rounder, organic shapes work better than shapes with lots of different straight edges. Next, trace your chosen design with a black pencil onto a piece of paper, and attach it to the wood using tape. Then, transfer the design using a piece of kitchen towel and acetone. Don’t have any? Nail polish remover does the trick too.


Secure your workpiece

Prevent the wood from moving when cutting.

You need:

To ensure your cut goes as planned, you’ll want to secure the wood to a surface. As well as a traditional clamp, you can also use Dremel’s Multi-Vise – a stationary vice, stand-alone clamp and tool-holder in one. Select a surface that is solid, like your dining table, built-in bench or something else that won’t move. To avoid dents or bumps in the wood, simply place a piece of scrap wood between the good piece and the clamp head.


Insert the cutting accessory

To cut wood, go for a multipurpose cutting bit.

You need:

Before you make the cut, you’ll need to attach the right accessory to your Multi-Tool. When it comes to cutting wood, the Multipurpose Spiral Cutting Bit works best. Insert the accessory into the accessory shaft of your Multi-Tool, and tighten the collet nut with the integrated wrench in the nose-cap. This prevents it from coming loose while you are cutting.


Attach the cutting guide

Make use of cutting attachments.

You need:

This particular cutting attachment provides controlled cutting on all materials. It attaches simply and easily to your Multi-Tool, and helps ensure you get a clean, smooth line. Remove the nosecap and attach the Cutting Guide by twisting it onto your Multi-Tool after you’ve fitted the accessory. The accessory should not protrude more than 15 mm out of the attachment. You can adjust the height once you’ve attached the Cutting Guide.


Take the time for safety precautions

You need:

Now you’ve got the right cutting tools for the job – you’re probably itching to get started. But before you do, it’s time for a quick recap on safety. A dust mask is essential – you don’t want to be breathing in tiny pieces of sawdust. Nor do you want it anywhere near your eyes, so combat this with goggles.


Cut out your design

Cutting goes best when you let the tool do the work.

You need:

Now you’ve got the prep part of the project out of the way, it’s time to make the cut. Switch on your Multi-Tool, and carefully guide it towards your secured workpiece. The Cutting Guide will ensure the accessory cuts the wood at the same depth, so you just have to trace the design. For best results, keep the pressure light and the pace steady – not too fast or too slow.


Perfect your shape

After you’ve made the cut, it’s sanding time.

You need:

After you’ve finished the cut, it’s time to neaten things up. First, you’ll need to swap the cutting bit for a new accessory: a sanding band. Just like with Step 3, here you can insert the sanding band into the collet of your Multi-Tool, and tighten the collet nut with the integrated wrench in the nose-cap. This prevents it from coming loose while you are sanding. Re-clamp the workpiece and sand the edges to remove the remaining overhanging wood and perfect the shape of your animal.


Smooth rough edges

Give your shapes splinter-free edges.

You need:

Sanding gives you the perfect shape and soft and jag-free edges. This is especially important in a project involving anything that’s designed to be handled over and over. Why? Because you want to avoid splinters, of course. Swap the sanding band for the EZ SpeedClic: Finishing Abrasive Buff 180, and soften the edges with long and steady movements.


Add some detail

The last step? Add some detail.

You need:

Now that the shapes are perfect and free of splinters, it’s time to give them their signature animal detail. The easiest way to do this is with a Dremel VersaTip. This tool is a convenient handheld 6-in-1 soldering iron, perfect for something known as pyrography, or wood-burning. Just like you would when using a pencil, you’re able to draw in the detail with the VersaTip. It’s the final step in really bringing your wooden animals to life.