Wooden Swans Tutorial

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NOTE: The pattern and tutorial for making the Wooden Swans can be found after the story.

Caleen sat on the front steps watching the sun go down. She loved her new home and she loved Kristoff, but sometimes, like this evening, waves of homesickness swept over her.

Kristoff joined her on the steps and held her hand.

“What’s up, Luv?” Kristoff asked. “You look so sad.”

“Not sad, really.” Caleen decided. “Just missing everything I left behind.”

“Hmm,” said Kristoff, “Tell me what you miss the most.”

Caleen thought about this for a while. She missed the open fields of flowers, she missed her brothers, she missed the smell of the earth after a rain, but she decided she missed the swans the most.

“I miss my swan friends the most, I think. I use to sit with them at the pond, dangling my feet in the water. They would circle around me and I’d share yesterday’s stale bread with them. They were so chatty and had the most wonderful tales of the places they had been and the sites they had seen. I never tired of listening to their adventures.”

That night after Caleen was sound asleep and purring like a kitten, Kristoff had an idea and slipped out of bed.

For the next week, every night after Caleen had fallen asleep Kristoff would leave the house and disappear down the beach.

One morning after Caleen awoke, she looked out the window she couldn’t believe her eyes! There on the beach were 2 beautiful white swans.

Caleen threw open the door and ran down to the beach. It took her a moment to realize they were not real, rather they had been carved from wood.

Behind her Kristoff whispered, “I know they aren’t your swan friends, but I thought maybe you would like these as a reminder. I carved them for you.”

“Oh, Kristoff”, cried Caleen, “I do love them and will cherish them forever! I can’t believe you did this for me.”

All day long Caleen stared at the swans and all day long she moved them around the yard trying to find just the right spot.

After Kristoff was asleep and growling like a bear, Caleen slipped out of bed and went into the yard. She decided to put the swans on the large rock by the water so that when she awoke in the morning and looked out the window, it would look like the swans were in the pond back home.

That night a storm drifted over the beach and Caleen snuggled in closer to Kristoff, thankful for her warm house and loving husband.

By morning the storm was gone but so were Caleen’s swans!

Caleen ran down to the rock and looked all around. She could not see the swans on the shore nor in the water. Caleen sunk to her knees and began to cry. She felt like she had just lost her old friends all over again! And, oh, Kristoff had made them special, just for her. She felt her heart breaking. Caleen thought there must have been large waves with the storm last night that knocked the swans off the rock. Oh, how could she have been so silly?

Just then Caleen noticed something small and white on the horizon. She stood and looked out to sea. The white dots were getting larger and coming closer. Before long she realized the white dots were her swans! They were swimming back to shore. But how could that be? They weren’t real. They couldn’t swim, yet they were quickly making their way back to her.

“What kind of magic is this?” Caleen wondered. And she didn’t need to wait long before she discovered exactly what kind of magic it was!


Materials for Making the Wooden Swans:

wood – Most of our wood projects are cut from 1″ woods. (i.e. 1″ x 8″, etc.) I have used pine, poplar, oak and maple. The harder the wood, the more durable the project, but harder it is to cut. These are poplar.
paint – non toxic acrylics or soy
permanent black marker (optional)
wood finish – non toxic – I used a beeswax finish but you can also use food grade acrylics

Tools and equipment for the Wooden Swans:

scroll saw
fine sandpaper
wide clear packing tape to reinforce pattern (optional)


Read the general directions for How To Cut Out Wood which can be found HERE.

Make a copy of the pattern. If desired, cover the pattern with wide packing tape before cutting out. This makes the pattern sturdy, easy to trace around and it can be used over and over again.

Position the pattern on the wood so the neck follows the grain of the wood. This will give extra strength to the neck. Trace the pattern on the wood. Cut out wood, and use the sandpaper to round the edges.

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Transfer markings from the pattern to swan for painting. Make sure to transfer the markings to both sides of the swan. There are 2 mirror images of the swan on the pattern to make this easier. For transferring markings to the wood I usually color the back of the pattern with pencil, making sure all the lines from the front are covered with pencil. Then, I place the pattern on the wood and trace the markings with a pen. This will lightly transfer the markings to the wood.

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Paint the swan. I created a wash by mixing equal amounts of paint and water. Paint the swan’s body. Then paint the beak. You can either use paint or a permanent marker to paint the black markings around the eyes and other detail lines. I find a marker is easier for really small areas.

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Finally, use a finish to protect the wood and paint. I use beeswax finishes but you can also use non toxic food grade acrylics.



  1. This is so dear. I cannot wait for the next installment!

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