Wood Carving Fish Decoys

The fins of a wood carved ice fishing decoy can be created from a variety of household materials – tin cans, aluminum can lids, disposable pie pans, old car license plates, copper coins, cardboard from cereal boxes, leather scraps, and even scrapbook paper.  The original decoy carvers used whatever was on hand.  So look around the house, check out your junk drawers, and use your imagination for these next steps.

creating fins for a fish decoyStep 15

You can use just about anything for your fin material, from copper sheet to scrap leather, and even scrapbook paper.  for this decoy I chose two cat food can lids made of aluminum.  Wash the lids well.  Dry completely.




wood ice fishing decoyStep 16

Mark your fin pattern onto the aluminum lid with a pencil.   With scissors, cut out the fin shape.  Any metal will dull your scissors, so use an older pair for this step.  With your 320-grit sandpaper, remove any sharp edges on the fins.

For this fish you need a top fin, tail fin, dorsal fin, and two front belly fins.


metal fins for fish decoysStep 17

Hold each fin against the fish body.  Use a pencil to mark the body profile line onto your metal fin.  Cut the fin along the pencil line using your craft scissors.




adding metal fins to your fish decoyStep 18

With a pencil, mark a cutting line on the fish decoy body for your fin.  Use your bench knife to cut a slit in which you can insert the metal fin.  You want to drop the fin approximately 1/8″ or deeper into the wood.

Use a palette knife or a small piece of thin heavy paper to insert several drops of wood glue into the slit.  Using flat nose pliers push the metal fin into place.  Allow the glue to dry well, at least 1/2 hour, before you bend or shape the metal fin.

ice fishing wood carved decoyStep 19

This decoy is ready for painting!

A simple ice fishing decoy, as our sample wood carving, takes about one evening’s carving.

The carving steps for this decoy are done.  For painting and coloring ideas please visit our free online tutorial for Painting you Carvings.


free pattern for a wood carving fish decoyFree Ice Fish Decoy Pattern

I thought you might have some fun with this free wood carving fish decoy pattern!  Click on the pattern for a full-sized printable pattern.

free fish decoy pattern


Thanks for reading !!! Lora S. Irish





1 thought on “Wood Carving Fish Decoys”

  1. Pingback: Wood Carving Techniques | LSIrish.com

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