Onlays the art of woodworking


I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me, but I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes, unpacking tons of heirloom boxes of the attic. I stumbled upon these wonderful handcrafted, decorative wooden accessories and objects, all of them breathing the beauty of craftsmanship (quality starts within the hands of woodworkers and their tools), heaven for woodworking enthusiasts, millworkers and cabinetmakers. My husband’s father was a clockmaker who used them, so my husband started making clocks when he was a child. He would go to his dad woodworking shed and inevitably ended up amidst the clock parts and most of these onlays date from that time.

It’s ever so simple to breathe life into your home’s architecture by applying onlays to your woodwork, furniture, on cabinet doors, above doorways, fireplace mantels and walls.

Did you know that wood appliques and woodcarvings are often called gingerbreads? Making them is time consuming and difficult, which makes wood appliques expensive, but well worth it. Wood appliques can be painted and can be stained to match any existing wood furniture or new project.


The word “applique” is derived from the French “appliquer”, meaning to place or lay upon and that is exactly what one does with these relief carvings, use them as architectural accents.

Wood of course is an amazingly versatile, practical, yet beautiful material. Whether you want to decorate hand crafted jigsaw puzzles, wooden boxes or handcrafted furniture, these incredibly-detailed wooden appliques/onlays make the perfect addition to your crafting . You’ll always add a vintage look to your projects with these stunning patterned wooden keepsakes, each of them hand carved with special attention to detail.


Still a popular and respected trade today, the rich tradition of woodcarving was known in Ancient Egypt, the Chinese dynasties, the Catholic and Protestant architecture and in the traditional and modern Asian art. During the 17th century, the baroque and rococo styles apllied woodvarvings; they were extensively used to beautify furniture, interior objects and various architectural forms.


When onlays are carved from wood, the goal is to create the illusion that the onlay is carved from the wooden surface it adorns. These refined decorations and ornaments (all carved into some intricate geometric design, or featuring classic decorative elements, such as crisp acanthus, shells, festive grape clusters, scrolls, floral motifs) all provide with their detailed carving on the wood, an embellishment that will provide an attractive touch to any item, whether it is a clock or an antique desk. Each of them is a wonderful decorative ornament on its own, useful for bringing visual interest to flat areas. Although onlays can vary in size, detail, and design; their artistic impact on the surface is instantly recognizable.


Carved wooden onlays can exhibit abundant detail and elegant design and when applied to a piece, the onlay imparts its beauty. Though there are slight differences, a wooden onlay can also be referred to as a wooden applique, medallion, or even a rosette. Carved appliques generally are relatively flat pieces of wood carved by the artist’s inspiration, which remain flat on one side. The design motifs can consist of geometric patterns or organic representations of subjects.


Call it shabby chic if you like so, architectural embellishments sounds a lot better, I just love these fabulous additions, because they add decorative integrity and breathe new life into our own things!

Ready to enhance the look of your home? Do visit the Woohoocuties’ shop for these real vintage beauties!


ps: Just sold the oval and square ones out, round flowers (2 different sizes) are still available in the shop, sorry some items fly away!


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