Wood burning for beginners (pyrography) – how to get started

Wood burning for beginners (pyrography) – how to get started

Woodburning is one of those rare hobbies that’s cheap, easy
to get into and you can start making awesome things in just a few days. How easy you ask? I have the artistic skills of a dead horse and yet I was
able to make this on my first day. Keep watching to see it really is that easy to get started, with a bit of trickery. When you’re just starting out, it doesn’t make sense to
spend a lot of money. Just buy the cheapest one, it’s good enough for now. In fact, if you already own a soldering iron, then you don’t
even have to buy the extra one for wood burning. Just don’t use your best soldering tip and you’re good to
go. You’ll obviously need some wood. If you want to use normal wood, then you’ll have to sand it
first. Otherwise, the surface will be too rough and you’ll have a
really hard time trying to make decent shapes. The best thing you can do is buy a piece of plywood and then
cut it up into smaller sections. Plywood is really smooth with a nice texture and is ideal
for wood burning. Best of all, no sanding required. You’ll also need a piece of sanding paper, something around
300 to 400 grit. As the wood burns away, soot begins to collect on the tip. This can leave marks and will reduce the heating effect, so it’s a good idea to quickly wipe the tip every so often. Finally, don’t forget about your health. Inhaling smoke is never a good thing, so make sure you have
some sort of ventilation in place. For example, I’m using my 3D printed solder fume extractor. That’s actually all you need to get started, so let’s go! You should spend the first few minutes getting familiar with
your new tool. Try making straight lines, circles, bold lines, a bit of
shading. See what happens if you press down harder. In short, play around until you get the feel for it. It’s easier when your hand stays in the same position and
you move the work piece instead. By now you might be wondering what’s next? Unless you’re one of the lucky few who can actually draw,
you’ll have to use some sort of a stencil. You’ll find plenty of different methods online, but they’re
either messy, don’t work well or you have to fiddle around with chemicals. By far the best and easiest method is to use an inkjet
printer. If you use empty sheet of sticker paper, you can print
directly on it. The surface is smooth and plastic-like, so anything you
print doesn’t get absorbed by it. This is perfect for transfering the image. Carefuly put the paper in place, hold it down and then use
some sort of edge to transfer the image. A quick clean-up and you can use the same paper over and
over again. Ok, now comes the easy part – tracing the image. Start with the edges first and then fill it in later. Try to be as consistent with your speed and pressure as you
can. Once the outline is done, you can move on to filling it in. I’ve found that making small circles instead of lines gives
you better results. You have more control over how much it burns and the surface
should end up looking smoother. As a side note, if you have a 3D printer, you can make any
kind of stencils you want. Once you get some practice, you’re ready to move on to
shading. You should use a wide tip for shading. Shading is tricky because it’s easy to overdo it. Just a split second too long and it won’t look good. Just keep practicing and it’ll look better every time you do
it. Before we move on to the last step, don’t forget that you can combine your work with paint as
well. If you’ve already familiar with caligraphy, you can use the
same skills with wood burning as well. The only difference is that instead of pushing down on the
pen, you simply slow down, which will increase the width of the line. If you haven’t done calligraphy before, why not give it a
try? I’ve made a separate video on how you can get started, so be
sure to check it out. Once you’re done, it’s a good idea to apply some kind of
protection. Going with the easy theme, there’s nothing easier than using
spray lacquer. And there you go, we’re all done. I hope I’ve convinced you by now to give it a try. It’s cheap and easy and I can’t wait to see what you’ll
make. Until next time…


  • Hobby Hoarder says:

    It's all fun and games until you burn a finger! Especially when you're trying to change the tip, so be careful.

  • Maxence Dreuillet says:

    Perfectly balanced, as all thing should be… I've tried wood burning a long time ago but without these method, it wasn't very beatiful…

  • Potent Printables says:

    Another amazing intro and "how to"- thanks so much! This looks like a lot of fun to try out!

  • tetra3dprint says:

    Great video! and thanks for bringing back a distant memory!

    I did this way back in my young teens (more than half my life ago;) at school, combined with metal work to make a custom house name plate.

    Mine featured a rectangle of wood with the house name burnt onto the surface in this way. They had some glorified soldering iron then too 🙂

    I printed out text created in some application on the Acorn Archimedes (there's a clue:) but I think I just cut out the text as a stencil.

    As I lived on a small farm and my mum had a couple horses, I decided to make a simple horse plough on top and some styled spirals on the bottom.
    So I bent some metal strips using heat, an anvil and a hammer, then made a very simplified horse plough with a angled length on top, a circle for the wheel and then an elongated circle but shaped into the outline of a plough blade.

    Come to think about it, what a great school that was!

  • Marcus Shaw says:

    Finally a good use for my ruined Lidl soldering station!

    The inkjet transfer is simple and ingenious. I haven't even thought about that… It would even be perfect for stamping small pieces of wood without wood burning!

  • Scott Conger says:

    Really good video, im new to wood burning , this has been a big help, thank you.

  • seventyfive1 says:

    Perfect timing on this. My wife wants to make a giant 6' wood ruler growth chart for our son, seems like the easiest way to make the markings is burning.

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