Why carve a swan?  Well, to carve a swan you need to know many basic techniques.  I consider the following to be the 7 Steps of every ice sculpture-

7 Steps of Sculpting

  • Design- Apply the design
  • Silhouette- Cut out the silhouette
  • Blocking in- Push back the levels
  • Rounding- Cut off the corners
  • Sanding- Smooth the ice
  • Details- Add refractive angles
  • Clean- Remove small scratches & chips of ice

The following photos show how we carve using the 7 Steps

We carve at room temperature

(this block tempered for about 1 hour)

The template paper sticks right to the melting ice

Click here to learn 4 methods of making templates

Using a tracing bit, & die grinder

draw through the paper

Try to stay right next to the line on the outside
The complete design is traced onto the ice

Because the ice is warm, you can easily remove

the template paper & discard

Using a chainsaw, Cut away all of the ice to create

a “Cookie Cutter” of the sculpture

(Be sure to cut out at 90 degrees)

More “Cookie Cutter”
finishing the “Cookie Cutter”

Using a Bullet Burr 125,

Remove the ice beneath the neck

Connect from the other side
The finished Sillhouette “Cookie Cutter”

Next carve in the reference lines

(still using the bullet burr 125)

More carving reference lines

All reference lines carved

Use a die grinder for reference lines not a chainsaw!

This is important

Using a chainsaw, Begin blocking in the carving

You will notice that the ice will just fall away as you carve

Remove the ice next to the head and neck
Remove some ice under the swan
Angle cut the large feathers
Angle cut the small feathers
Angle cut the tail
Split the wings

Using a bullet burr 125

Round of all of the corners

Cutting away 1 corner makes 2 corners

Cut those 2 corners away & your pretty close to round

Using a pistol grip sander,

Sand all of the surfaces that are to be smooth

Using a Rotary Knife,

Detail the feathers

Using A Rotary Knife or Vee bit

Detail the eye & wave

Above are 2 views of the finished swan We used a hose to clean this sculpture.