How to Carve Bone

One of the most popular, interesting and earliest forms of art, bone carving is also considered as a fun, profitable and enjoyable hobby. Many people try this hobby to make attractive three-dimensional artworks. Learning how to carve bone is easy. By collecting all the materials and tools beforehand as well as following the simple steps and guidelines, you can easily make an attractive and beautiful bone carving.

Important Tools and Materials

To make sure that you will make an interesting bone carving and to avoid having hassles while doing the activity, get all the important tools and materials before initiating the project. Engraving chisels, a coping saw and an etching knife are some of the carving tools that artists commonly use in bone carving. Aside from these materials, you can also use scrapers, a hand drill, round files, a sandpaper as well as scrapers.


Search pictures in books and websites for the design that you plan to use in the project. Visualize the style, size and appearance of the output before you start carving the animal bone. Remember that bone carving is a three-dimensional visual art so the activity requires your full attention.

The first step in this activity is to prepare and clean the bone. Depending on the measurements and size of the design, use the saw to cut the portions of the bone that will not be needed in the activity. Get the scrapers and clean bone fragments and marrow. Pour a liter of water in a basin. Add a teaspoon of liquid soap in the water. Put the bone in the pail for at least 24 hours. Wash the animal bone and expose to sunlight to dry.

Cover the table where you plan to work with a leather mat. Place the bone on a cutting board and start outlining the design on the bone. Get the etching knife and files. Use these tools to remove the parts of the bone that are not important to the design. With the use of the chisels, follow the outline and carve the bone. Clean the surface of the bone with a sand paper. Make sure to eliminate scratches that were caused by chisels and the etching knife.

Animal Bones Used in Carving

In the early times, artists use bones of walruses and whales in bone carving. However, since environmental laws concerning the rehabilitation and protection of marine animals were implemented in different countries, most artists today prefer to use bones of other animals like cattle and camels. In addition to these, other carvers use bones of deer as well as sheep in their projects.

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