Learn How to Wood Burn in 10 Easy Steps – Pyrocrafters

You want to learn how to wood burn and I can show you how it 10 easy steps. These are the basics of wood sunburn to get you started in the correctly guidance. If you want to go deeper into the populace of wood burning, you can follow my blog, pledge to my YouTube channel or try out my on-line courses. here we go .

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STEP ONE – FIND WOOD 

First things first, wood. You ’ re going to start with a wood canvass. People ask me all the time, “what type of wood should I burn?”. Really and rightfully, you can burn any type of raw wood, but some are better than others. And when you are a founder, it ’ sulfur better to start with woods that are readily available. once you become a master burner, you can branch out to other woods and experiment, but in the beginning start with woods you can get from arts and craft stores or on-line .

PINE

Pine is a popular option because it ’ mho cheap and everywhere. If you go to Hobby Lobby or Michaels, you ’ ll see ache everywhere. It ’ s catchy because while it ’ second good to practice with, the grain variations in ache can make it difficult to achieve a dainty piece of art .
The grains create a rough edge and make it unmanageable to shade. so, set your expectations gloomy with pine. Try it out to get a feel for your wood burner and how it reacts to the wood, but save your best shape for the next wood option, basswood .
Where to find it: 

  • Amazon in a variety of sizes
  • Arts and craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michaels
  • Big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes

BASSWOOD

This is my favorite wood to burn for just about any small undertaking. The grain is dry, light, and has a consistent traffic pattern throughout. It ’ s a wood burners ambition. however, it ’ s not brassy ; so I wouldn ’ metric ton use this wood for commit or experiment .
Basswood is besides limited in size. If you want to burn in truth large pieces of artwork, you ’ ll have to make your own canvases, but if you stick with small projects, it ’ s the perfect choice. It comes in a live edge with bark and a legato routed border in a diverseness of sizes .
Where to find it: 

  • Amazon
  • Walnut Hollow
  • Rustic Wood Supply
  • Arts and craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michaels 

BIRCH

Another great founder option when you want to learn how to wood burn. Birch is a moment harder than linden. The wood itself is more dense and therefore your wood burning pen doesn ’ triiodothyronine glide through the wood as well. It is however a good wood to burn. I personally like to use it for signs or solid burns like lettering and silhouettes, but not so much for portraits or shading detail .
The grains are decent and ignite with a consistent feel, meaning there ’ s not a truly hard grain/soft grain traffic pattern. I typically find birch in a variety of sizes with cradles on the back, but you can besides find it as a solid wood canvas. You can besides find birch in large panels at the bad box stores. The big panels can be cut down and made into a customs size, so it ’ s a nice choice if you have the tools to cut it .
Where to find it:

  • Amazon
  • Arts and craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michaels
  • Big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe

WOODS TO AVOID

You want to avoid any woodwind that has chemicals added to it, like MDF, treated woods, pallet woods, etc. You should always wear a mask when wood burning anyhow, but these woods in particular aren ’ thymine safe to burn because they have added chemicals. so best to avoid them .

STEP TWO – PREP WOOD 

It may seem like this pace is slowly to skip, but trust me don ’ t skip it. If you want to learn how to wood burn, you have to prep your woodwind. Sanding is the biggest thing for prep. You need a fine grit sand paper, 220, and an electric drum sander. I use a Dewalt, but you can use what trade name you want .
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You can try sanding by hand, but it takes forever. If you think wood burning is a hobby you ’ re going to love, invest in an electric drum sander. Besides, every family needs a drum sander at some decimal point .
Every patch of woodwind you buy is going to need sanding. Run your hand ( cautiously of course ) across the top of your newly purchased wood. You can feel a crudeness on the top layer. There ’ sulfur a buildup of very well wood hairs, specially on basswood. You want to sand those off and create a satiny fluent wood layer .
Prepping the wood is going to help your wood burning penitentiary glide across the airfoil with greater ease. It will help minimize the bumpy edges on your outlines and dark spots in your shade .

STEP THREE – TEMPLATES

Where do I get a template?

once you have your wood picked out, prepped and fix to go, now you need something to burn on it. Where do you start ?
With a template .
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There are a lot of directions to go here, you can make your own digitally, you can hand sketch your art, you can buy digital templates or you can buy stencil physical stencils. If you ’ re post new to wood combustion, go with something simple like your name. Create a stencil on your calculator using bible or some other type of software that allows you to type words and print them out .
I personally use photoshop to create all my templates, but that ’ second because I ’ m familiar with the software. Photoshop has a steep teach curve, so if you ’ re not familiar with it, don ’ triiodothyronine effort it. A simpleton word action is plenty .
Where to find templates:

  • free downloads every day on Creative Fabrica – download
  • create your own on your computer
  • sketch it by hand
  • buy them on amazon
  • buy them on etsy
  • books – pyrography books usually have a collection of templates – like mine!

Transferring Your Template

once you have a template created, printed and in hand, you need to transfer it to the woodwind. Like most anything in the art worldly concern, there are several ways to transfer your template to the woodwind. The easiest most accessible way is carbon paper. Just tape your template to your forest surface, place the carbon paper wallpaper underneath and trace your template artwork .
I like to use a pencil to trace because it glides over the paper nicely and I can see where I ’ ve traced already. Some people like to use a tracing baton so they can use the template over and over. It ’ s very up to you and what you prefer. ampere farseeing as you can create pressure to transfer the carbon, you can use whatever makes you the happiest, crayons, pens, a stick from your yard, etc .
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Erase Carbon marks with a sand eraser .

STEP FOUR – SAFETY 

Masks.

I know, I know. You just want to get to the cauterize already. But we have to talk about base hit when you ’ re using a hot fire stick and creating lots of smoke, therefore stay with me .
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We already talked about what woods not to burn, but no count what you ’ re burn, you need to wear a respirator type of mask with filters. I use this 3M mask with these organic vapor filters .
I know it ’ s not fun to wear a mask, but it ’ s not good to breathe in all that smoke .

A fan.

When people are foremost starting to learn how to burn, they ask me about pulling the smoke away from their face .
You can besides get a small desk fan that helps pull the fastball off from your face and out of your eyes. My suggestion is to point that sports fan toward a window so the pot goes outside. You may want to put a second fan in the window to pull the fume out of the room .
If you ’ re in a shop type of setup like I am, you can get a little crazy with it ; like an exhaust in the ceiling. I have one in my shop ceiling with a tube that drops polish to my desk. It pulls all the smoke away from my face and out of the shop. I wouldn ’ triiodothyronine recommend this for your theater though, unless you don ’ triiodothyronine mind holes in your ceiling .

Finger Guards

These will come in very handy when your fingers precisely get besides dang hot. When you ’ re hold that hot fire stick for excessively hanker, your fingers will start to get a bit toasty. Protect your digits with some type of finger security. I use these JATAI finger guards. Of all the things I ’ ve used, they work the best .
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They aren ’ t wax proof though, so take a break once in a while and let those digits cool murder .
Where to find safety gear:

STEP FIVE – WOOD BURNING KITS

Craft Burners

immediately it ’ mho time to burn and the count one thing people ask me is, “What burner pen do i get?”. So let ’ s begin at the begin. If you ’ re just starting to learn how to wood burn, go with a craft burner like Chandler Tool or Walnut Hollow .
NOTE: Avoid those kits on amazon that say, 187 PIECE WOOD BURNING KIT ( or something like ), they are drivel and a waist of your money. Chandler Tool and Walnut Hollow design and fabrication wood burning kits for you, the user. Those large piece kits are lone sold because it sounds attractive to get all those pieces for sol little money. But you don ’ t need all the debris in those kits. Stick with the trust brands .
Chandler Tool and Walnut Hollow both have great craftsman burner options. These tools are great for getting started in wood burn. There international relations and security network ’ thyroxine anything you can ’ thyroxine burn with these tools. They are cheap and very easy to use. You barely put in the tip you want, turn it on and you ’ ra good to go .
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I like to use the universal tips ( straight edge ) to outline all of my artwork. then I use the round tips to fill in my artwork and create a decent texture, but I ’ ll catch into techniques in the adjacent few steps .
just remember that these newcomer tools are equitable that….starter tools. They don ’ t have all the same bells and whistles as the pro tools. They take a while to heat up and cool off, so changing tips is a long process. I like to compare them to cars. The crank tools are like Prius ’ randomness and the pro tools are like Ferrari ’ second. The Prius is dependable and will get you where you want to go, but it costs less and it isn ’ triiodothyronine about american samoa fast as the Ferrari .
besides, don ’ thymine push so hard on the baton. You don ’ t need to put coerce on the wand to create your artwork. Just go slow and guide the scepter over the wood and let the estrus do the shape. Pushing into the wood will create bumps on your edges and possibly break your burner baton .
Where to find a craft burner:

Pro Burners

Okay, so you ’ ve been burning for a while and you love the art of wood burn. You want to jump all in and go deeper into the earth of pyrography and start cranking out some wood burned pieces. It ’ south time to upgrade. Once you ’ ve reached the point where you feel the craft burners are holding you back from creating what you want, the way you want, start shopping for a pro burner. I ’ m asked all the clock which one is the best ?
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There in truth international relations and security network ’ t a best burner. It ’ second going to come down to what ’ randomness more significant to you as a drug user. Ease of habit was the most crucial feature for me, so I went with a Colwood Super Pro II as my first professional burner. Since then I have used a Razertip, Burnmaster, Optima, and TRUArt machine. They are all effective, reliable trusted brands. Do your research, and see which one suits you best. They all have different features to offer .
here ’ s a comparison video I did where I dive deep into the differences .
wood burners
overall, the professional burners are faster to heat/cool, easier to use and offer more preciseness and kind in tips. If you ’ re considering upgrade, the reason to do so is more efficiency. You ’ ll be able to finish pieces quicker and easier, but not inevitably better artwork. You can achieve the lapp goal consequence with any rig .

STEP SIX – OUTLINING

When I ’ thousand burning a silhouette ( solid fill ) or a letter project is outline the artwork. This proficiency helps accomplish a match of things. It creates a barrier for your fill in burn and it gives you nice crisp clean lines on your artwork. Make certain to use a universal topple, besides known as a skew or a straight edge. You want a tip that has a courteous long straight edge that will create crisp neat lines .
straight edge tip
If you use a round tip for outlining, you ’ ll see that it creates more bumpy uneven edges and lines .
besides, remember what I mentioned earlier in the article about not pushing heavily ? You don ’ t need to put blackmail on the wand to create your artwork. Just go slow and guide the wand over the wood and let the heat do the work. Pushing into the wood will create bumps on your edges and possibly break your burner scepter .
outlining
One more tip about outlining. When you are just beginning to learn how to wood burn, use a low estrus. This will give you more restraint over the tan and help prevent mistakes. once you get more comfortable with the burner, experiment with your heat settings. If you have a burner that doesn ’ t have heat settings, turn your desk fan facing your burner wand. It will help cool it off so that it doesn ’ triiodothyronine burn so hot
Outlining Highlights:

  • Turn your heat down
  • Go Slow
  • Put very light pressure on your wand
  • Use a straight edge tip (aka, universal or skew)

Combine all these in concert and get dainty crisp blank lines on your artwork .

STEP SEVEN – FILLING IN YOUR ARTWORK

Inspiration

Everyone burns differently and every artist creates art differently. Over time you ’ ll discover your own personal style, what you enjoy burning and how you like to burn. But for the purposes of this blog I ’ thousand going to show you what I do and you can use these techniques in beginning while you ’ re learning how to wood burn .
If you only take away one lesson from this web log, it should be this : Always remember to experiment, try new things in wood burning and develop your style and skills as you grow as a wood burner. You can learn the basics here, but it ’ s up to you to continue to develop the skill and find what you love about it.

Technique

I love to fill in silhouettes and lettering with texture. It adds more ocular appeal and sake to a plain piece of art. You can use a shader tip and fill in the spaces with a flat burn, but you can besides kick up the creativity a notch and add some character with texture. There is something about texture that makes the spectator want to engage with the assemble, possibly feel the texture or take a deeper look at the shapes .
line texture
The goal here is to fill in those letters or silhouettes with cut and how to do it is truly up to you, so wear ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate overthink it. There ’ sulfur no one technique that should be used here. Don ’ thyroxine worry so much about “ should be ” and barely have fun. There ’ sulfur no correct or improper way to do this .
When I burn texture, I burn on high heats because it ’ s precisely plain fun and why not have fun with it. It ’ s not necessity to burn on high heats in order to learn how to wood burn, but it is satisfying. There are consequences to burning on high heats that every newcomer should learn .
fill with texture
I explain all the consequences of burning on high heats in this video recording, check it out .
You can silent create texture with a gloomy heat, it just takes longer .
fill with texture

Best Wood Burn Tips for Texture

Round tips.
These are big for texture. You can create a stipple practice ( distribute of dots ) that fill in your spaces. Or you can use the round tips to create line texture inside the space. Remember have fun with it !
stipples

Shader tips.
Every kit has a shader gratuity of some kind. It ’ s the tips with a apartment bottom airfoil. Depending on your kit, the shader topple possibly be rounded like a spoon or it may be completely flat. Either manner, you can inactive create a courteous convention. When you dab the shader tip on the wood, it kind of looks like scales or knight shoes. This is one of my favored textures to add because it creates therefore a lot ocular matter to and it ’ s sol easy to do. Turn your front-runner podcast, show, music or what ever you like to listen to, and precisely dab the tip on the woodwind and fill in your quad .
learn how to wood burn
texture

Straight edge tips. ( skew or universal )
You can use these to create patterns excessively. If you ’ rhenium space is big adequate, you can burn straight lineage patterns inside. Or, create a parque radiation pattern like the one in my book .
This is the fun part. Take the fourth dimension and experiment with all your tips and see what kind of textures and patterns you can create to fill in your artwork .
Fill-in Highlights:

  • Use textures
  • Experiment with your tips
  • There’s no right or wrong way to fill in your artwork
  • Have fun and make it your own

STEP EIGHT – ADDING COLOR

If you follow this blog or any of my sociable media, you ’ re going to hear me say this a lot. There are multiple ways of accomplishing any task. We as individuals have methods that we prefer over others. And again, as you learn how to wood burn and develop your expressive style of forest burn, you will become attach and comfortable with adding tinge in a finical way .
There are indeed many ways of adding color. Acrylics, Inks, Watercolor, Markers, Stains, Paper, Fabrics, and many, many more. What strikes you as an obvious inaugural choice ? If you have an answer to that interrogate, beginning there .
For case, when you imagined adding discolor to your woodwind burn, did you picture paint ? If so, pick up some acrylics or watercolors and go for it. Did you picture staining the wood ? Pick out a light dirt ( don ’ metric ton slipstream out your burn with a black mark ) and try it .
Watercolor pencils and Inks are my top two favorite ways to add coloring material. But honestly it depends on the look I want to achieve. I ’ ll tell you why I use these two the most .

Watercolor Pencils. 

I have the most see with water color pencils. I can color in a space and then blend the colors with water. They are super easy to use. If you want to do a identical simpleton color fill in, these are a good option and a dear position to start. Just color and blend .

Inks. 

I love inks as an all over color choice. They aren ’ metric ton as great at filling in a space because they bleed into the grains of the woodwind. I like to use these to add a color wash over my integral patch. I think of ink as more like a wood tarnish. It doesn ’ t cover up my burn area, it barely stains the forest grain with a semblance. You can use ink to fill in a space depending on how your musical composition is burn. I have a project in my reserve that is reversed burn, so I use ink to fill because there ’ south no where for it to bleed .
Keep in judgment that there are no hard and fast rules on which type of color you should and shouldn ’ thymine use. You need to try things for yourself and see which one you like best. I ’ ve used ribbons, wallpaper accents, woodwind accents, fake flowers, fake leaves, airbrushing, solder, family paint and so on and so on in my wood burn semblance experiments .

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I ’ ve found what I like and what I ’ ll never use again. You ’ re not limited to a couple of choices. You may try watercolor pencils and inks and not like it at all. possibly you prefer not to use color. And that ’ s absolutely approve .
Color Highlights:

  • Start with your first choice
  • Experiment with different ways of adding color
  • Develop your style of adding color

STEP NINE – VARNISH

The matter you need to remember about varnish first is that you need to do it. Wood is vulnerable to moisture and the elements. It may warp or discolor in humidity. And I don ’ thymine mean wax on rain, I mean like Florida humidity where there ’ mho fair constantly moisture in the publicize. It can warp the woodwind, so make certain to seal your nibble with something. And that something could be a lot of things, indeed get ’ mho discus .
adding-varnish
There are lots and lots of ways to varnish and if you are going to learn how to wood burn, varnish is a big contribution of it. I have my favorites and I know there are a long ton of ways to varnish that I ’ ve never tried that other burners love. indeed experiment… .. barely not on a finished piece that you love. experiment on trash woodwind and see what happens .
The second thing you need to know about varnish is that they aren ’ triiodothyronine all created the like. Some are trickier to use than others and may cause you problems. That ’ s why you need to test them on scrap and become familiar with them before using them on a finished piece. The last thing you want to do is burn a beautiful commissioned piece, then test a raw varnish and have it bubble or wisecrack. In most cases ( not all ) your lone option at that bespeak is to sand it down and start over .
The third thing, read the directions and follow them !

Danish Oil

I love to use danish petroleum because it ’ south easy to use. Plain and simpleton. You just wipe it on and let it dry. There ’ mho not a draw of risk of cracking, peeling or bubbling with this varnish. danish Oil seeps toss off into the grains and gives it a very ice saturated security from moisture. There are a copulate of down sides. It does add a yellow hue to the woodwind. it doesn ’ metric ton protect the wood bite from fading over time .

Spar Urethane

This varnish has a UV protection in it. That just means that it will help protect the burn and the wood from UV fading. Does that mean it will look precisely the same 30 years from nowadays, I actually don ’ metric ton know. I haven ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate been burning long enough to give a solid answer to that wonder. But I do know that varnishes like this will help .
Spar Urethane is one of the slippery ones. I ’ ve had issues with it not drying properly, which is more due to varnishing in bad weather conditions .
READ THE DIRECTIONS. Make sure you are following them. I use spar when a slice is going outside. For exercise, I made a minor table to go on the porch of my workshop ( watch on YouTube ) and I used spar as the varnish .
again, test, test, quiz. experiment, experiment, experiment. Find the varnish you are most comfortable using .

AND FINALLY….STEP TEN – FINISHING

To learn how to wood burn beautiful pieces, you have to add the eat up touches. Finishing is a actually dim-witted step of adding any final examination pieces to your wood burn. possibly you need to add a hanger on the back. Or possibly you need to add handles to a tray. possibly you need to glue on stress pieces. And therefore on .
For my small wall art pieces, I use a saw tooth hanger. It ’ s simpleton and easy to attach. You can buy a 100 pack on amazon. Easy peezy .
screw-in-sawtooth
For my larger wall art pieces, I use a wire and d-ring set. It holds more weight and it make it easier for the customer to hang it. You can buy a 100 pack on amazon. Use screw in the d-rings and marry on the telegram. now your man is finished and ready to be enjoyed .

Where to find hangers :

And that’s all there is to it……hahahaha! I know this was a long article, but now you have lots of information to think about. If you want to go deeper into your learn how to wood sunburn travel, I have on-line courses that go much far into detail and techniques .
learn how to wood burn
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learn how to wood burn in 10 easy steps

FREE PYRO PACK

This FREE ( and highly detailed ) digital packet is overflowing with information for getting started in pyrography .

  • 14 tools supply list – the best tools in pyrography
  • 5 pyrography patterns to use in burning
  • 2 step-by-step pyro projects with templates

I put together a digital download packet that highlights wood burn tools and projects perfect for pyro beginners .
“what burner should I use?”
“what’s the best wood to burn?”
“what are my safety options?”
“where can I get these tools?”
“where can I get pyrography patterns?”
“what should I burn?”
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