Carving Play Food Tutorial: Cutting Board and Knife, "cutting" food

Today I'm going to show how I make a simple cutting board and play knife. Also, I'll show the steps to make the kind of veggies that kids can cut apart. 

For the cutting board and knife here's what you need. 


-wood piece- I used a scrap of pine 1x9 that was about 8" long because it's what I had on hand. I made a play cutting board before from a scrap of cherry and it was lovely.
-wood piece that's about 1x1x8 for the knife. Again, I used dry pine, but this is an ideal project for green wood.  
-beeswax or polish


-knife (see here for more on knives)
-hand saw
-Drill with 1/2" spade bit
-Electric sander or sandpaper: 150, 220 grit 

1. Cut the board to length. I was using recycled lumber that was really dirty and beat up, so I decided to use my orbital sander to clean up the surface and round the edges. 

I like to make the edges slightly wonky and not quite perfect. Be sure to hit all the corners and edges. If you are using new, clean wood you can probably get away with using sandpaper and elbow grease. Start with 150 grit and follow with 220 grit. 

2. Using the drill and spade bit, drill a hole in a corner. To prevent splintering, flip the board and drill from the other side when you're most of the way through the board. I forgot to do that and had to do more sanding.

3. Wrap sandpaper around a pencil and sand the inside and edges of the hole. 

4. Add polish and buff off excess. That's it! 

The knife is more complicated. 

1. Sketch a shape on the side of your wood piece. The blade on mine is about 2 1/2" and the handle is about 3 1/2".

2. Draw a line down the center of the knife blade and begin removing wood from the sides of the knife, to make the blade taper as it comes away from the handle. It's tricky to make this even, just keep going back and forth from one side to the other. 

I work until the knife blade is about 1/4" thick. 

3. Taper the cutting edge of the knife. Mine goes down to a scant 1/8".  

4. Score the bottom of the knife where the blade meets the handle and cut a "v" shape by working from either side of the scored line.

To make the handle, remove the wood from the handle side of the "v," working your way down the handle.

4. Round the handle edges and taper the end. 

5. Spend some time making the join of the handle and the blade even and smooth.

6. Sketch the shape for the knife end on the blade and remove the extra wood.

Here's what my knife looked like pre-sanding:

Give it a good sanding with 150 then 220 grit sandpaper. Add polish and buff. 

Your cutting board and knife are ready for some play slicing and dicing! 

Now I'll show how I make food that you can cut apart. 

Start with some carved veggies- I used the cuke I made a couple weeks ago, I've also made carrots like this.

1. Cut it into sections. I used a mitre box and saw because it's easier to keep everything straight. Plus that saw cuts a finer cut than my regular hand saw.

I wish I had remembered to put masking tape on the cuke before I cut it, that's supposed to help with splintering and I did have some trouble with that.

2. Sand, sand, sand the cut ends. I used my orbital sander here. 

3. Touch up the painted edges. 

4. Add your velcro dots. I don't add beeswax to the cut ends because I worry it will make the velcro come off.