How to Get a Shovel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The ultimate guide on how to get a shovel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Including all the ‘shovel-knowledge’ that you should know.

Miles Vellozzo
Miles Vellozzo
7 Min Read

Shovels are a very versatile tool in Animal Crossing. They can be used to dig up fossils, plant trees, and even plant crops such as wheat. Shovels aren’t accessible at the start of the game, however. So, if you are wondering how to get a shovel in Animal Crossing, then this guide is for you!

This guide will explain how to unlock the shovel tool in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as well as some other useful ‘shovel-knowledge’. Whether you are a new player or a seasoned deserted island resident, there is sure to be useful shovel wisdom for everyone in this guide.  

Digging a hole in Animal Crossing.

So, How Do You Get a Shovel in Animal Crossing?

Shovels are initially locked behind a bit of progression through the Animal Crossing: New Horizons introductory tasks for Tom Nook. The exact task that needs to be completed to get a shovel is to donate five fish or bugs to Tom Nook. 

Blathers's initial tent he sets up on your island.
Blathers’s initial tent he sets up on your island.

Once you have donated five fish or bugs to Tom Nook, Blathers will come to your island. Initially, he will set up a small tent, but this will transform into an island Museum eventually. Blathers will then introduce you to fossils, which can be dug up around your island using a shovel.

Blathers will then give you access to shovels – and the Flimsy Shovel DIY recipe. The Flimsy Shovel can be crafted using five pieces of hardwood that drop from trees when struck with an axe. You will already have access to axes by this stage of the game. 

Blathers inspecting a fossil that the player has handed him.

How to Craft a Shovel in Animal Crossing

Once you get the DIY recipe for a Flimsy Shovel from blathers, you can go ahead and start crafting one! First things first; you need to get the required materials. As mentioned above, you only need five pieces of hardwood which shouldn’t be hard to come by. 

Once you have your wood, make your way to a crafting table. You probably have your own by now, but if not, you can use Tom Nooks in his tent. Crafting a shovel is just as easy as crafting anything else in Animal Crossing. If you followed Tom Nook’s DIY Workshop, it’s the same process basically. 

Simply walk towards the crafting table and press the A button. This will open the crafting recipe page, where you can find the Flimsy Shovel recipe. Hit A again to start crafting and voila! You should now have a Flimsy Shovel. 

The DIY recipe for a Flimsy Shovel, according to Animal Crossing.

Alternatively, once you have unlocked the shovel recipe, you can also purchase shovels from Nook’s Cranny. Flimsy Shovels cost 800 Bells and can be bought from the Nooklings. Note, they won’t sell this item until you unlock the recipe first!

Types of Shovels in Animal Crossing

Did you know that there are other types of shovels, however? Flimsy Shovels are just as much a shovel as other variants in the game. They can do the exact same things as the others. However, Flimsy Shovels are the least durable shovel variant. 

You may have noticed by now that items can break when they are used a lot. Well, Flimsy Shovels can be used 40 times before they eventually break. That isn’t much at all and can be quite annoying having to constantly buy a new one or make a new one. 

Fortunately, there are other types of shovels that you can get, which are much more durable. The following table shows the other types of shovels in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as well as how to get them and their durability. 

NameHow To Get ItDurability
Flimsy ShovelReward for donating 5 fish & bugs to Blathers. 40
ShovelCrafted using a Flimsy Shovel and an iron nugget. 100
Colorful ShovelSold in Nook’s Cranny for 2,500 Bells.100
Outdoorsy ShovelSold in Nook’s Cranny for 2,500 Bells.100
Printed-design ShovelSold in Nook’s Cranny for 2,500 Bells.100
Golden ShovelReward for helping Gulliver 30 times.200
An Outdoorsy Shovel for sale in Nook's Cranny.

How to Get the Golden Shovel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

As you can see from the table above, the best shovel to get is the Golden Shovel, which has a durability of 200. The recipe of which is obtained after helping Gulliver 30 times. You know that seagull character that appears on your beach far too often?

Once you have successfully helped Gulliver find his communicator parts 30 times, he will send you the Golden Shovel DIY recipe in the mail. You can then craft a Golden Shovel by using an ordinary shovel and a single Golden Nugget. You cannot purchase golden shovels for Bells, unlike the other shovel variants in the game. 

How to Upgrade the Flimsy Shovel

If you want to upgrade the Flimsy Shovel to be a lot more durable, you can turn it into a regular Shovel. To do so, you first need to learn the Pretty Good Tools Recipes. This is a recipe pack that can be bought from the Nook Stop machine for 2,000 Nook miles. Once purchased it will give you a bunch of new and improved tool recipes. 

Of which, you will get a Shovel recipe that can be crafted using a Flimsy Shovel and a single iron nugget. By this stage, you should have a decent amount of iron. However, if you don’t I have an iron guide that you can check out!  

The DIY recipe for a Shovel in Animal Crossing.

And that’s about it! If you have read through this guide, you should now be familiar with how to get a shovel in Animal Crossing. You should also know about the different types of shovels, and how to get better ones. If you have enjoyed reading, please feel free to check out my other articles!

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Miles is a passionate writer, with a keen interest in writing engaging and intriguing content on all things Nintendo. Franchises such as Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario have provided Miles with countless hours of fun, thus why he happily writes about them!
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