Animal Crossing New Horizons Shovel: How to Get It

Here's everything you need to know about the Animal Crossing: New Horizons shovel.

So you've started your island life in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and you're probably wondering where all the necessities are. Unlike previous Animal Crossing games, you won't be buying your tools in New Horizons; you have to make them. That's well and good for most of them, but the New Horizons shovel is actually a bit elusive and requires a few extra steps to unlock.

Here's how to get it, but note: The guide below has a few spoilers for how island development unfolds.

How to Get the Shovel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

When your first day starts, your neighbors will tell you Tom Nook is hosting a DIY workshop, which is your clue to head over to Resident Services. Nook teaches you all about crafting and has you gather materials to create a fishing rod.

After you do that, Nook gives you a Flimsy Net DIY recipe and a hint about what to do next: He wants to see some of the island's wildlife (other than your fellow islanders, that is). Your goal, though he doesn't tell you this, is giving Nook five unique species.

First get the flimsy DIY recipe from Tom Nook to get the New Horizons shovel.

You can grab up more wood to make the net or just use the fishing rod to get the five. Each time you hand over a fish or bug to Nook, you'll get a small reward, including the Flimsy Axe DIY recipe.

Go ahead and make that, too, because you'll need it for the shovel. If you've somehow run out of branches lying around on the island, remember you can shake trees to make branches drop.

After you give Nook the fifth critter, he gets a phone call from Blathers. The abundant wildlife the island apparently has to offer — and some gentle cajoling from Nook — convince Blathers he should head to the island and set up shop there.

Set up the Museum Tent while you wait on Blathers to bring you the shovel recipe.

Your next task is finding a suitable place for the museum tent. Head out to do that. Pro tip: Try to space things out. The museum's required space is big, and you're limited on space right now until you get the pole vault. There are more neighbors to move in and more shops to plan, so you don't want everything crowded in the same place (unless you do).

Blathers will give you the shovel DIY recipe once he arrives. The kicker here is that he won't arrive until the next day.

Once you do get the shovel recipe, you'll need 5 Hardwood to make it. That's where the axe comes in handy.

Take your Flimsy Axe and go hack at a few trees. You'll potentially get a few different varieties of wood to fall out, but you want the dark wood for the shovel. 

How to Upgrade the Shovel

Flimsy is key here. Your tools, including your lovely new shovel, won't last forever. After you upgrade your Tent by paying off your initial 5,000 Nook Miles loan, Tom Nook upgrades your Nook Phone to the + version, which grants you access to new items.

One of those is the Pretty Good Tools book, and you'll get it at the Automatic Bell Dispenser/Nook Stop machine in the corner of Resident Services for 3,000 Nook Miles. Once you've got it, you can upgrade your shovel (and other tools) using existing Flimsy tools and Iron Nuggets. We've got everything you need to know about Iron Nuggets too.


That's all you need to know about the Animal Crossing: New Horizons shovel. You can't get it on day one, but you can at least get everything ready for it while you wait for Blathers to arrive.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Animal Crossing: New Horizons guides.


Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.

Published Mar. 28th 2020

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