How to Carve Soapstone Sculptures

Soapstone sculpture of a bear. image by Made available by

Soapstone is made from different minerals including talc, which makes it easy to scratch and chip the stone. Various indigenous tribes such as the Shona, Inuit and even Native Americans have created these soapstone sculptures. It was thought that the stone's spirit could be released by creating the sculpture. Read on to learn about how to carve soapstone sculptures.


How to Carve Soapstone Sculptures

Step 1

Purchase the essential materials you will need to create the sculpture. You will need a block of soapstone, a chisel or a carving knife, sandpaper and goggles to protect your eyes from the dust.

Step 2

Setup an area where you can do the carving. If you can do it outside, it will cause less of a mess for you to clean up. If carving inside, lay down a towel on a desk where you can work.

Step 3

If you are a beginner, start with simple shapes first or miniature totem poles. It's best to have a picture or drawing near you so you can reference something while carving. Keychains, jewelry and knick knacks are commonly made.

Step 4

Use your chisel or carving knife to form the general shape of your sculpture. Then use these tools to create the details of the sculpture. Work from big to small. A steady hand and a well-lit area are helpful.

Step 5

When you have finished the sculpture's details, use sandpaper to smooth the edges and the fine lines. Rub your hands over the crevasses to feel for any rough spots that still need sanded down.

Step 6

If you have a kiln, it is a good idea to bake the soapstone sculpture at 1300 centigrade. After it is baked and still warm, rub wax over it. The wax will melt and dry, which will protect it from moisture and scratches.

Tips and Warnings

Rub oil on the sculpture to smooth out any small scratches that may appear over time. Wear protective gear like goggles when using the sharp carving tools and work slowly and steadily so you don't cut yourself.

Things You'll Need

Chisel or carving knife, Block of soapstone, Goggles, 220-240 wet/dry sandpaper

About this Author

Marina Hanes has a B.A. in Professional Writing & Editing from Youngstown State University and eight years of writing and editing experience. She is a certified Reiki Master & Teacher and has an OSHA 40-Hour Training Certification. Hanes has written website content for Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Eco Hearth and others. She also has four years of experience editing medical manuscripts.

Photo by: Made available by

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Carve Soapstone Sculptures