How to Carve a Totem Pole

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Things You'll Need

  • White birch pole

  • Paint

  • Paintbrushes

  • Wood vises

  • Carving tools

How to Carve a Totem Pole. A totem pole is a rather unorthodox way for an artist to tell a story, unless that artist is of American Indian or Eskimo descent. Anyone can carve a totem pole using different symbols that tell about the individual or family that the pole will represent. Read on to get ideas that will help you carve a totem pole.


Always use sharp carving knives, awls and chisels. The chance of injuring yourself when carving a totem pole will not be as great if all implements are sharpened on a regular basis.


It is considered bad luck to duplicate a totem pole unless you have the original carver's permission. Don't push your luck.