How to Carve Cottonwood Bark


Cottonwood trees provide an excellent source of bark for wood carving enthusiasts across America. The cottonwood tree is found growing from close to Canada all the way down to the Texas plains. With the rough-faced bark, wood carving enthusiasts have used cotton wood for its unique, one-of-a-kind bark to create many different types of crafts such as wind chimes, wood spirits and even mail boxes. With a few tools and a little time, you will be able to create your own wood carvings from cottonwood bark.

Step 1

Select a piece of cottonwood bark to begin your carving project. If you do not have a cotton wood tree that you can directly harvest the bark from, you can purchase cottonwood bark from online retailers and from craft specialty stores.

Step 2

Place the cottonwood bark onto a sturdy work bench, and secure the wood into place using wood clamps.

Step 3

Begin carving your desired design using the proper carving tools. Make your carving cuts at least 1/16th of an inch or deeper, depending upon the type of design you wish to achieve. Make all of your cuts, by pushing the blade away from you, across the surface of the cottonwood bark.

Step 4

Notice the grain pattern of the bark. Follow the grain pattern if you want your finished product to have a somewhat smooth finish. If you wish to achieve a rough, grainy finish, then there is not a specific pattern in which to move your carving tool across the surface of the wood.

Step 5

Coat the finished product using a varnish or stain of your choice, or you can simply leave the carving natural.

Things You'll Need

  • Carving instruments
  • Work bench
  • Wood clamps


  • Chipping Away: Getting Started With Cottonwood Bark
  • Great Plains Nature Center: Cottonwood
Keywords: cottonwood bark carving, carving cottonwood bark, cottonwood bark uses

About this Author

Jason M. Bruner is a freelance writer who has been in the field for more than five years. His content has been previously published on sites such as eHow.