How to get a shovel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing villager using shovel

Dig into our handy guide

If you want to be successful in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ve gotta have the right tools. One of the essential pieces of equipment you’ll need to get your bulbous little hands on is a shovel. While that seems like it should be a simple enough task in an Animal Crossing game, there a few steps you’ll need to take before you can start digging around your island like Mr. Resetti. Here’s a guide to getting your very own shovel in New Horizons

First thing’s first

Before you can get your shovel, you’ll have to get everyone’s favorite museum curator, Blathers, to your island. After going through the tutorial and completing Tom Nook’s DIY Workshop, he’ll ask you to bring him any bugs or fish you find while you’re out on your adventures. All you have to do is bring Nook five unique species of either bugs or fish, and then he’ll invite Blathers to come set up shop.

Once he arrives, introduce yourself to Blathers and he should give you two DIY recipes: one for the Vaulting Pole which will help you cross rivers, and of course the Flimsy Shovel. As the name suggests, the Flimsy Shovel has the lowest durability of the shovels you’ll be able to get in the game, but don’t worry, you’ll be able to upgrade it soon enough. More on that in a bit.

Crafting the Flimsy Shovel

Thankfully crafting your Flimsy Shovel is an easy task, because you’ll only need one ingredient to get the job done. Just go around hitting some trees with your axe, and once you have five pieces of hardwood (that’s the darkest of the three kinds of wood you can get), you’re all set to craft. Congratulations, you have a shovel now! Of course, the downside is that your shovel is somewhat fragile — the Flimsy Shovel will only last for 40 uses before breaking on you. The good news is you can always craft more if need be.

Once you unlock your island’s general store known as Nook’s Cranny, you’ll also have the option to simply buy Flimsy Shovels from Timmy and Tommy for 800 bells.

Time for an upgrade

Upgrading your equipment isn’t too difficult after you know how to craft the Flimsy versions, but this is one other step you’ll have to take care of first. Go to Resident Services and access the Nook Stop kiosk, and then purchase the Pretty-Good Tools pack for 3,000 Nook Miles. The pack will download right to your in-game phone, and will give you access to the recipes for all of the upgraded tools.

Now all you’ll need is a Flimsy Shovel and an iron nugget (which you can get from hitting rocks with your shovel or axe) and you’re all set to craft your upgraded Shovel. The tool will now last for 100 uses, which is more than twice the durability of the Flimsy Shovel. Once Nook’s Cranny has been upgraded enough times, you’ll also be able to purchase upgraded versions of the Shovel, including Outdoorsy, Colorful, and Printed variations.

But wait, there’s more!

The final evolution of the shovel you can get in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the coveted Golden Shovel. While the golden versions of tools were much rarer in previous entries in the AC franchise, you can make as many as you want in New Horizons as long as you have the required ingredients. In order to get the DIY recipe for the Golden Shovel, you’ll need to find Gulliver, the pelican character who passes out on the beach from time to time, and do his mini-quests by helping him find the pieces of his broken communicator a total of 30 times. After you help him out, Gulliver will send you a letter that includes the Golden Shovel DIY recipe. Ta da!

To craft the Golden Shovel, you’ll need a regular Shovel (which you should be able to get easily at this point) and a golden nugget. Golden nuggets are a rare drop, with only a 1% of appearing when you hit a rock with your shovel or axe, so it’ll take some patience before you can get your hands on one. It’ll be worth it, though, because the Golden Shovels are good for 200 uses, which makes them twice as durable as the upgraded Shovel. Not bad for a shovel made of gold.

[Featured Image via Nintendo]
Noelle Warner
Features Editor - After a few years of working in game development, Noelle joined the Destructoid team in 2021. She particularly loves interactive storytelling and cuddling with her cats!