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Learn the Art of Wood Burning or Pyrography Designs and Patterns

By Edited Jan 2, 2014 1 3

What is wood burning?

The craft of wood burning is burning pictures, verses or signs on to pieces of wood. Another name for wood burning is pyrography.  To achieve success with this craft you need to have patience.  With practice and patience you will soon learn the skill of using a wood burning pen.

Have you ever been to a craft show, where they display different types of crafts?  If so, you will have seen some of this type of work on display.  You can write (burn) verses of poetry or anything at all into different shapes of wood. Make signs like “gone fishing” or don’t call me I’ll call you” type of signs.

It does not matter what you write, although a little humour will not go astray for this type of craft, especially if you want to sell the products you make.

You can also burn patterns into lids and sides of boxes, frames, whatever your imagination can conjure. You can add colours into your wood burning or pyrography by scorching over coloured non-wax based pencils.

Wood burning designs book

Pyrography Workbook: A Complete Guide to the Art of Woodburning
Amazon Price: $19.95 $11.93 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 2, 2014)
This book will guide you step by step for the beginner that has never attempted wood burning before.
You will gain confidence as you work through this book

Tips for the Beginner

Start practicing on old pieces of wood or bits of pallet wood to get the hang of the art of wood burning. Bear in mind that some types of wood will be easier to work with than harder type woods.  Once you have the hang of it buy some of the prepared pieces from any craft store.  Then if you are happy with the results, challenge yourself with something more difficult.

You can buy all sorts of different types of wood already, some of the wood with the bark still on the outside of it will add character to your craft, although it will depend on what you are putting on them. 

How to transfer designs on to the wood

There are literally thousands of different designs and patterns available.  The simplest way to find animals, birds, planes is by looking through the children’s drawing or cartoon books.  They are full of different types of artwork.

They are also available to download from many websites and buy from the hobby stores.  Alternatively, like I said earlier use your imagination and create your own out of this world creations or monsters.  The choice is yours. Once you have decided on a pattern, you need to trace it on to a piece of tracing paper.  Place a piece of carbon paper face (ink side) down on the wood then place the drawing in the required place. Be sure to keep the paper very still, now draw over your pattern, this will transfer it ready for you to use the wood burning pen.

Dremel Tools

Dremel 1550 T2 Versa Tip Multipurpose Tool Kit
Amazon Price: $34.61 $20.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 2, 2014)
This has a short shaft which allows better control. It comes with six different tips. It is ergonomic and stays cool.

Wood burning tools

If you have not bought your wood burning tools you need to dash out to your nearest hobby store. If you can wait and you know what type you need then buy them over the internet.  If buying locally, ask the salesperson for advice on which one to buy. The types of wood you are working on will dictate the size of the pen. 

The pens look a bit like a normal pen, with the plastic holder keeping the pen heated at a steady temperature. Controllers are available to either increase or decrease the heat of the pen as you work with different work. Wider tips are best for heavy work and narrow for lighter lineage. Learn tips on using a dremel tool for burning and carving wood.

Burning your pattern on to wood

As with doing anything new, you need to practice on scrap pieces of wood first. Do not destroy your good woodwork until you have practiced on a similar type of wood first.  If you do not have anyone to show you, you could be cheeky and ask if the person at the hobby shop could tell you.  After all, you are buying their goods so they may prove helpful.  Otherwise, it may pay to join a local club to gain more confidence.  If all else fails, then give it a go, trial and error is the only way to learn anything new.

Be careful not to rest your hot pen on the wood or you will burn it too much.  As you gain more experience, try using a variety of colours to enhance your work.

You can finish off your wood burning or pyrography project by giving it a coat of stain to complete the effect and make it more professional.  This will also seal the colours in at the same time.  Now give yourself a pat on the back for creating something different with wood burning.

Whichever type of new craft you decide to try, make sure you enjoy the challenge of trying something new.

Wood burning Kit

Weller WSB25WB 25-Watt Short Barrel Woodburning Kit
Amazon Price: $19.10 $18.26 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 2, 2014)
This is an ideal toolkit as it comes in its own container. It will therefore keep all those small tips together in one place preventing loss.
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Comments

May 19, 2014 2:57pm
Lisa_W
Haha - this brought back memories!

We tried it in school but we called it 'poker' or 'poker work'. I decorated a wooden spoon with flowers and gave it to my grandmother who still on display in her kitchen decades later (it gets a regular dusting).
May 19, 2014 9:15pm
shar-On
Thanks Lisa, I love it when you read something that brings back memories. I had not heard it called that before. It is amazing what you can do with it though.
May 19, 2014 10:16pm
Lisa_W
Yeah it was probably a kiwi colloquialism due to the similarity between the wood burning tool and the fireplace one.
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