How to Make a Personalized Wooden Spoon

Updated on November 12, 2015

Wooden Spoons

Wooden spoons have been around a very long time. While they serve a practical purpose, many of them are purely decorative. It is enjoyable to take a piece of wood and see what is hiding inside. This particular spoon is a simple design that I've seen pop up here and there. With the handle being shaped the way it is, it gives you a chance to put a little embellishment on it. You could chip carve something on it or you could just simply paint something on it.

If you are new to woodcarving, this will prove to be an easy project for you. Even though the design is simple it still is a nice looking wooden spoon.

Selecting the wood.

This is a very simple spoon to make. When I made this one I used a band saw, some gouges, a carving knife, and sandpaper. You could also use a scroll saw, hand coping saw, or even a saber saw instead of a band saw depending on what tools that you have access to. No matter how you go about this we all start at the same place; selecting the wood.

Because of this spoons flare on the handle, you will need to have wood that is about 1 1/2" thick. The bowl part of the spoon is about 2 1/4" across at the widest part. This spoon is more of a "stylized" carving and the wood grain will really be noticed. Stylized means that there is very little ornamentation in the carving itself. Instead you are allowing the wood to "show off" its beauty and grain a little more.

Different woods will work in different ways. Pine is pretty easy to work with. You could select a nice piece of hardwood, but keep in mind that hardwood is exactly that - hard wood. It might take you a little more time.

The wood that I selected is a piece of pine that came out of an old door. The door came off of a mansion in Detroit that was built around 1900. The drying process was different then and this piece is rather brittle and can split easily.

With your wood selection made and in hand, lets get started!

Carefully cut on the outside of the layout lines.
Carefully cut on the outside of the layout lines.

Cutting the excess wood away.

As mentioned earlier, this wood came off of a very old door. If you look at the photo above you will see the screw holes from the hinges that are near my thumb. I made sure that the holes wouldn't interfere with the carving and I also made sure that there weren't any splits in the wood before I invested much time.

When working with wood like this, the method of drying the wood was different than it is today. The wood was dried at a very high temperature, crystalizing the resin in the wood. This is what made it brittle. If you select newer wood you won't have this concern.

The spoon has been cut out or "relieved" from the board.
The spoon has been cut out or "relieved" from the board.

Making the first cut.

In the photo above, the spoon has been cut out or "relieved" from the board. There will be more wood to be removed but the bowl part of the spoon needs to be hollowed out while there is still a flat surface to clamp to the bench top. The cut out length of the spoon is 7" long and the width of the handle is about 3/8" wide.

If you were to saw the extra wood away first, it would put you in a position where you would have to hold the wood with one hand while you were pushing sharp gouges toward your fingers. I think you get the point!

The spoon is securely clamped to the bench top.
The spoon is securely clamped to the bench top.

Hollowing out the bowl of the spoon.

In the photo above you can see that the spoon is securely clamped down to the bench top. You can now use both hands to hold and control the sharp gouges. You can also see that a Kevlar glove is used on my left hand. I highly recommend this. This will keep woodcarving as an enjoyable hobby and not a dangerous one!

Hollowing out the spoon.
Hollowing out the spoon.

Making the spoon emerge from the wood.

When you hollow out the bowl of the spoon, take your time. Use a gouge to carve the concave surface by going halfway across and then gouge the chips out from the opposite direction. Keep working the wood chips out until you have a nice inside shape.

To save yourself some work when you start sanding, you will want to gradually scrape the bowl surface to get rid of all of the chisel marks that you can. It is quicker than sanding all of the unevenness down. In the photo below you will see the hollowing out process finished.

The hollowing process completed.
The hollowing process completed.

Removing more wood.

At this point, you are ready to saw away the rest of the wood. Draw good lines on the wood for a guide, sawing slightly on the outside of the lines.

With your guide lines drawn, you are ready to take more wood off.
With your guide lines drawn, you are ready to take more wood off.

After you cut the extra wood away you will be ready to do the final shaping.

All of the unwanted wood has been removed.
All of the unwanted wood has been removed.

Taking off the square edges.

In the photo above the spoon is ready to have the finishing touches done with the final carving and sanding. I use a carving knife to shape the convex part of the spoon. Next, I take pieces of old sanding belts that are 80 grit to start doing some of the shaping. The sanding belts have cloth backs and conform to the shape well. I tear them in 3" squares to use them. You can also just use 80 grit sandpaper to do the same.

After you are happy with the shape that you have created, progress to a 100 grit sandpaper. Once you have smoothed out all of the scratches from the first stage of sanding you are ready to progress to a 150 grit sandpaper. Once this is done you are ready to choose your finish!

Choosing a finish.

When it comes to selecting a finish, you can choose many different options. If the wood grain is beautiful you could finish with three coats of Tung oil. Tung oil will really accentuate the grain and give a natural look.

You could do an "aging" process to the wood by applying a coat of black coffee; letting it dry: then coat it with a solution of vinegar that has steel wool in it that was allowed to sit overnight. This brings out a very nice, old looking patina in the wood. You can follow this by a coat of Linseed oil which brings out the luster of the wood.

With this spoon, I simply used a penetrating oil stain in a honey color. I followed with three coats of lacquer. I will be doing a "personalization" on the handle and the lacquer is a good base to paint on. Using acrylic paint, this spoon will be customized for my Granddaughter. The paint is sealed with a light coat of lacquer on the handle.

Completion of staining.
Completion of staining.
After applying three coats of lacquer.
After applying three coats of lacquer.
After painting my Granddaughter's initial and adding some flowers to the handle.
After painting my Granddaughter's initial and adding some flowers to the handle.

Finishing up.

The spoon is completed at this point. You can do some painting if you want to make it special for someone or leave it as is. Which ever way you choose to finish the spoon it will look very nice. If you hand this to someone as a gift you are sure to get a big smile. After all, you have just created a keepsake!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • MHiggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michael Higgins 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Patrick. I would use a tight grained wood like maple and use several coats of butcher block oil, (a type of mineral oil), to finish it. Butcher block oil is food safe. it will also enhance the wood grain. Vegetable oil has been used, but it can turn rancid. I hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by to read the hub!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      If you were to make a spoon for actual food use what type of wood and finish would you use?

    • MHiggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michael Higgins 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for the kind words, Jan. I appreciate the vote up and for you taking the time to stop by. Thanks again!

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Wow! This is very interesting; amazing to see the spoon emerge from the piece of wood, taken from an old door built in the 1900s! Your steps and pictures help provide a visual understanding of how the spoon is made. It's a lovely form of art. Voted up, useful, and interesting.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)