The Face of Santa – for Carolyn


You gotta love your friends…


Carved, painted Santa made from tree branches.

I have two blogging friends that mentioned on the last post, Stick it To Christmas -Easy Projects to Make, that Santa either needed a face, or looked good without.

So to address the faceless Santa dilemma and answer Carolyn from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, I gave Santa a face today. She wondered how I would paint in the features. I am now wondering if Santa having no arms will cause concern? I am planning a number of Santas, and even ones with clasped gloved hands!

Well, I thought about it and cut myself an 1 ¾ inch thick tree branch and whipped out another Santa. He took about an hour and fifteen minutes to make, not a big deal. I lost about twenty minutes too as you will see how I changed mid stream.

You can see, I changed my mind on painting in the facial features, but not right away as shown below. And this was not the twenty-minute delay either.

I started whittling a new Santa just like the ones in the last post, then thought, “Can I give Santa a little 3-D. Still not the delay…

I was not sure how to approach such a small project, since I was more accustomed to carving wooden ducks. And they are real duck size. This little guy was a bit of a challenge because the ducks are made of basswood, a much softer wood.


The beginning of Carved Santa

Karin, from Southern Meadows , liked faceless Santa.


Santa gets a face.

Oddly, it was not as hard to sculpt the face, but I had to be very patient, which I am not so much.  I did have to deal with knots and imperfections in the Norway Maple branch, too. Not the delay either…

First I carved in the lips and mouth, then a pretty nice nose. Then I saw this triangular piece of wood from Santa’s hat laying on my studio floor and thought that could be a bigger nose. When you make carved wooden ducks, the head and neck are made separately from the body, so I thought Santa could have a more prominent schnoz.

So Santa got a nose job. This was our twenty-minute change of heart. More shavings led to bushy eyebrows. I was going to make hundreds of long curled shavings for the beard, but thought the hat can’t be the only painted part of Santa.


Wooden Santa from the side.

Is he not a handsome fellow? Or is he still a bit “spooky”. He gave me an Easter Island, moai vibe… even though I made him have a slight smirk. I still may give him rosy cheeks, a wind burned nose and blue Santa eyes. Still debating. What do you think?


Santa made from a tree branch 1.75 inches thick.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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21 Responses to The Face of Santa – for Carolyn

  1. thequeenofseaford says:

    I like his bushy eyebrows. Very cute, I like them both faceless & faces.

  2. I like your Santa a great deal. He looks much wiser and much more fit than the usual.

  3. I think he’s great just the way he is! You’re a talented carver. My dad is into that hobby big-time, too. He makes us spoons and figurines and all kinds of stuff. Very nice!

  4. Karen says:

    I love it! I thnk he looks better with a face. He really doesn’t need arms or blue eyes, although either would look fine.

  5. The minimalist Santa is nice, but I love this one. The face is great! I don’t think you need to paint the eyes. The body is implied, so if you add more detail to the face, it might throw the piece out of balance. But I think you would have an audience for Santas with painted eyes, too.

  6. I’d proclaim this Santa “finished” as is. I liked how you explained the process, although never before have I been kept on the edge of my seat so long to find out what a “20-minute delay” was all about. 🙂

  7. HolleyGarden says:

    Yes, he needed a face. Every Santa needs a smile! I love his busy eyebrows, and the little shavings on top of his hat, too.

  8. b-a-g says:

    It was definitely worth the 20 minute delay – the bushy eyebrows and well-defined nose add to his charisma. I also like the fluffy effect on the hat edging.

  9. Beautiful & Oh So Creative – thanks for sharing! Have a Great One:)

  10. Poor Santa…undergoing so much surgery, LOL!! You are very talented Donna and to think you make ducks too!

  11. catmint says:

    wonderful creative ideas – much appreciated Donna.

  12. Barbie says:

    What a great idea!! So delicate and to think of this! Amazing talent you have!

  13. Thanks again for the Inspiration I have an award over here with your name on it 🙂

  14. Indie says:

    Love it! You are so talented! His eyes look quite stern to me. (You’d better not be naughty or else!)

  15. I love the warm charm your Santa face evokes…I collected Santas for years and this one has a wonderful face…I also like it faceless as it is very rustic and primitive…

  16. Karen says:

    It really amazes me how talented you are in all of your endeavors. Love your Santa.

  17. Denise says:

    This Santa looks very wise and friendly. You have so many talents. Amazing.

  18. Sorry it took me so long to get here. I love the Santa with the face especially his cheeks, they give him real character. I knew that if you made a face you would do something really clever. Thanks for the link too. Arms are not necessary but I bet you could handle it.

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