Carved Wooden Seals

Please note, that this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs. Please read our disclaimer.

As presents for our teachers last year, we decided to make a series of stamps. we chose cats because we like cats  We prefer using a Japanese saw because it gives us a clean cut and is much easier to use.

Making Wooden Seals

To get the basic cat shape we do rough cuts with the saw, then use a craving tool to  clean up the edges.  The make sure the vice does not cut into the wood we used scrape from an old pair of jeans.

Making Wooden Seals

To get the ears we need to create a negative space between the slanted edges we just cut. The do this we first cut several slots making sure to stop just short of the end of the slanted edge. You do not want got beyond that point or the ears will more like bunny ears than cat ears.

Making Wooden Seals

You want to have several slots cut to to make removing them easy. If the slots are too thick when you try to pop them out (the next step you could instead break off the ears.

Making Wooden Seals

Once we have cut the slots we use a chisel to pop them off. Make sure to go slow and start with the center slot. When you pop off the ones next to the ears make sure to have the flat edge of the chisel pointed towards the ear. Most of the time this works like a charm but sometimes the wood refuse to cooperate. If this happens to you try you best then try using other tools like a flat head screw driver. Worst case use the chisel to cut the out and if nothing works just start over.

Making Wooden Seals

Then we used the chisel to clean up the rough parts between the ears. Two of the seals in this batch had slots that broke off half way making the clean up job a bit hard. Go slot and do not use force. If the chisel is sticking it is either at the wrong angle or you are trying to carve out too much in one go.

Making Wooden Seals

We use a rasp to finish it out.  You can use sand paper as well but we like how you can shape thing with a rasp.

Making Wooden Seals

Next we used a spoke shave to round the edges of the square dowel to make it more cat-like. Again, do not force the tool. Just use a gentile motion while applied light pressure. If you use too much force you can cut into the wood.

Making Wooden Seals

Then sand to get the finished look. And remember to take the time to sand it right.  After all the work it took to get here you do not want to spoil it by not having a clean surface for painting.

Making Wooden Seals

For a finishing touch we made a cut all the way around the seal to create a neck for the cat, We made sure the cut was not too deep and went evenly al the way around the body.

Making Wooden Seals

We then used a craving tool to widened the cur being careful not to cut too much out.

Making Wooden Seals

Here is a line up of all six seals ready for painting!

Making Wooden Seals

For each seal we picked three different colors to create a unique theme.  We used acrylic paint for these seals but you can us wood stain or oil paint if you prefer.

Making Wooden Seals

This one reminded us of lava!Making Wooden Seals

We painted the layers over time to make sure each color stood out and did not blend in with the rest too much.

Making Wooden Seals

All six seals with their paint jobs finished!

Making Wooden Seals

The seal for the seals was made of an eraser.  We used wood carving tools to engrave them. Make sure you do a reverse image of what you want printed!

Making Wooden Seals

Here are the seals with their seals.Making Wooden Seals

We attached the eraser to the seal using hot glue. Make sure to score the bottom of the wood seal and the eraser so you get a strong bound.


Happy Creating!

Wooden Deer Sculpture

This is our wooden deer sculpture, made as a Christmas present. We only used wood from our yard to make it more meaningful. We always save leftover wood, so we can use it in our woodworking projects instead of wasting it.

DIY Wooden toy deer

This is the back view of the deer. As you can see, we attached the tail, limbs and antlers by drilling holes and fitting them into the holes, like a peg. We attached the head and the neck by drilling a smaller hole inside the neck and the body, then used a strong piece of aluminium wire to connect them together. To make the tail look more realistic, we rounded the end of it and drilled the hole at an angle instead of straight down.

DIY Wooden toy deer

The head was made from sanding part of a tree branch. We chose that branch because it already looked like a deer head, so we didn’t have to work on it very much. It even had little indents for the eyes! All we had to do was sand it, trim the ears, and drill two small holes for the antlers.

DIY wooden toy deerWe attached the antlers of the deer by taking small branches from our birch tree and putting them in the holes that we drilled on the head. The antlers were very important because it would help people recognize this as a deer. We had to find branches that were strong so they won’t break, but small enough to look realistic. Luckily, birch trees shed a lot of branches, so it wasn’t too hard to find perfect branches.

Happy Creating!

DIY Pump Drill

Comleted Pump Drils
Comleted Pump Drils

The Hip Monster’s sister team has created a DIY pump drill.  Pump drills are ancient tools used by many cultures including Native Americans. The sisters got the idea from seeing pump drills made by the Miwok tribe who used to live in California.

Please note, this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs. Please read our disclaimer.

Supplies for a handmade pump drill.
Some of the supplies


  1. saw
  2. drill
  3. spade drill bit ~1 inch
  4. drill bit 1/8 inch
  5. spokeshave
  6. sandpaper
  7. strong string
  8. bee’s wax
  9. three long, straight branches


1) shaft: the centerpiece of the pump drill. Look for a long, straight, and thin piece of wood.

2) spindle whorl: Attached near the tip of the shaft and makes the drill rewind. This piece should be heavy and thick enough the shaft can go through it.

3) handle: What you hold onto. This piece should be just thick enough for the shaft to go through.

First, you pick out three straight pieces of wood, one long and skinny, and the other two thick. Make sure the handle and the spindle ones are thick enough for the shaft to go through. Cut off the extra parts making sure to leave a bit extra on each end.

This se should look like this. The extra inch on each side of the sticks are so you can secure them to a vice for shaving.

The first one will be the spindle, the second the handle, and the last the shaft.

Next, spokeshave the pieces to make them smooth. Be very careful while spoke shaving you don’t want to make any of the pieces too thin or curved. Continuously flip the piece over to get to make all the sides are even. Sometimes when there is a knot or we accidentally cut into the wood, an adult can help smooth it out. If you have finished spoke shaving but don’t have enough time to stain or wax it, soak it in water so it doesn’t dry out to much.

For the main shaft, spokeshave till it is as straight as possible. To find out which side to shave roll the stick on a table and see which part is bent up. For the handle and spindle, you just need to get the bark off.

Now cut the piece to the right size. Make sure the thin one is the longest because that would be the main piece that supports everything else. Measure everything out the right size before you cut it.

Sand the pieces to make them really smooth. Spend more effort on the shaft. Remember, the shaft needs to be smooth and straight for the pump drill to work. They should look like this when done. Drill the holes in the two thick pieces. The with of the holes should be a bit bigger than the diameter of the shaft. When drilling, go slowly to avoid splitting. Make sure you drill in the middle of the wood. When done you should have two big holes in the large pieces big enough for the shaft. For drilling hole likes these where the edge of the drill bit comes close to the vice we let an adult do the final set up and test.

After you have drilled all the holes apply bee’s wax.  The bee’s wax makes them smooth and help avoid splitting.

To apply the bee’s wax use an old towel.  Since bee’s wax does not go bad, we use the same rag repeated for other projects.

Drill two holes at the tip of the shaft the same width as the string you will be using. Measure the string and put the string through it.

Now drill holes at both ends of the handle. Make sure the hole is in the same direction as the shaft hole.

Next, assemble the pump drill by sliding the shaft through the handle.

Then loop the string through the two holes you drilled in the handle.

Adjust the string so that the center stick if a little less than halfway down the pole. Then tied knots on both ends of the string.

Now slide the spindle onto the shaft.

Use a thin board of wood like the one shown in the photo and break off a strip.

Wedge the strip of wood in the gap to make the fit tight.  Add more strips of wood as needed. The spindle should not be able to move.

And finally, cut a slot at the end of the shaft by cutting two parallel cuts. Then use a chisel to clean up the notch. Secure a sharp stone shaped like an arrow tip with string.

Yay! You finished!

Now you know how to make a DIY pump drill!

You use the drill by first winding it up. Then gently push down on the handle. Let the string rewind itself (thanks to the spindle whorl). Do not push the stick up but let the pump drill wind back then, again, gently push down.

Happy Creating!

DIY Ukulele

Inspired by our trips to Hawaii, the sisters team decided to make their own working ukulele. We ended up making a whole lot of them because it is a good way to practice some woodworking skills. We advise using wood that isn’t to hard for the sides, because that makes drilling the center hole a lot easier.Supplies for a DIY Ukulele

We are missing some photos between the required supplies and the final clamping- sorry.


DIY Ukulele- clamping the front and back
Clamping the front and back together

After lots of cutting and drilling, we clamped the front and back together. We used a big drill bit to drill the center hole after measuring for the right spot. Make sure that you don’t put two keyholes directly on top of each other, leave room for the strings to go down.  

DIY Ukulele
Ready for painting

We put the keys in and glued the bridge on. We double-checked out measurements a lot so the strings would all align. We also made sure to sand it a lot, you don’t want to get a splinter while playing music. 

DIY Ukulele
Top View
DIY Ukulele
Close up of the end with the bridge

(The keys and bridge came from a set ordered online) 

DIY Ukulele
Painted in a color scheme with sparkly paint 


Here is an indestructible ukulele capable of fending off a troll. Made from poplar and bound together with the magic of the ages, its music will impress even fairies.

Happy Creating!