Wood Finishes for Pyrography Art – Types and When To Use

Wood Finishes for Pyrography Art – Types and When To Use

Hi. Welcome to Pyrography Made Easy. I’m Brenda Today we’re in the shop to talk about finishes or sealants for wood. This is a subject I get a lot of questions on, so I’m hoping that this video will be really helpful. So first off I get asked do I have to? No, but you should. The important thing with providing a finish or a sealant to the wood is that it provides a barrier. It keeps the moisture levels constant. When it gets really muggy and hot out the wood can swell and when it’s dry it’s going to shrink. What will happen is The wood will start bowing or it will get cracks on it especially at the ends and providing a sealant is going to protect the wood from doing that. Plus it will protect against handling and dirt and grime from people touching it you know we all have oils on our hands and there’s dust in the air so it just protects the artwork and mostly it protects the wood. So there’s a couple guidelines you
should follow when applying your finish First of all it should be in a warm environment. The room should be about 70 degrees If it gets too cold or too warm it’s going to affect how the finish cures and sets up. Also apply at least three coats of finish on all surfaces at the board including… if you have a board that has a bark on the edges you put it on the bark it will help the bark stay adhered to the wood. Also make sure the room is well ventilated. Most of these finishes have a pretty strong aroma. They’re not good for you to be breathing in. and the last thing is never mix your finishes. If you start out with the polycrylic you finish with a polycrylic. Also don’t dip your brush in the can. You can contaminate it. Pour a small amount into another container and use that to apply the finish. The next thing I want to cover is using a spray-on or a brush on finish. Either one will work. I mean there’s no huge advantage to one or the other I mean the spray-on is more convenient but it’s also more expensive. This is going to cost about ten dollars and it’s going to cover about 3 to 4 art projects Whereas this gallon jar is costs around thirty dollars and it’s going to cover twenty 20 projects So between my artwork and Todd’s woodworking We go through a lot of finish, so it’s more economical for us to buy it in the gallon cans than to buy the spray cans. Now I do want to mention if you have applied color to your artwork then you want to use a spray-on finish for the first couple coats at least. Then you can finish up with a brush on, but just make sure they’re the same type. So this is a spray-on lacquer. If I started with that I would finish with a brush on lacquer. So another thing I need to mention is keep in mind that while I will be showing you different brands or types
of sealant I’m not endorsing a particular brand or manufacturer. I live in a small town, so I have a limited selection of brands to choose from You may or may not have the same issue, but that doesn’t really matter. What is important is to use the right type of sealant for the project. For me the majority of the stuff that I do is all is wall art. So it doesn’t get handled a lot. What’s important for me is that it be non-glossy or matte finish and it doesn’t impart a color to the wood. So the first finish I’m going to discuss
is lacquer. It provides a tough and durable finish but it’s not good in high moisture applications like coasters It’s great for artwork though. The first layer of lacquer should be mixed with a lacquer thinner. It should be mixed about half and half so this top part is the thinner and the bottom half is the lacquer and it will settle out but you can mix it back up that’s not a problem so this will help it penetrate the wood and flow more evenly for that first coat. Now lacquer is my preferred finish for artwork. I like it because it remains fairly clear and doesn’t impart a plastic feel to the wood. So my next finish is mod podge. I found this at the craft store and saw that they recommended it for sealing wood I decide to try it out right. Now the only place I have used it is on a test panel, but I will give it one thing is the only finish we have tested that was not offensively smelly to my nose. It kind of reminded me of glue or acrylic
paint. I would recommend this one if you’re going to be decoupaging a photo or something onto your project so you want to glue and seal the wood in one step. But it has a 60-day cure time so that’s pretty long. So the next finish is oils. This is tung oil and Todd just has it in the jar. There’s also walnut, mineral oil, there’s
a number of them. Oils are good for items that come in contact with food and high heat. So Todd uses a food grade mineral oil on cutting boards and these trivets. And the wonderful thing is I have taken a pot out of the oven that was the 450 degree oven I put it on one of these trivets did not have any problem whatsoever. The downside is it is an oil so it dust and dirt will tend to stick to it a little bit more but if you need something that is going to be in contact with food and high heat the oils are the way to go. So the next finish is polycrylic. It has become one of our favorite finishes because it’s tough and water-resistant. It has done very well on my test panel for remaining pale in color. The only thing I dislike about it is it imparts a plastic feel to the wood. Now this can be used for all indoor applications and it’s a great choice for coasters because it will resist the water. The manufacturer claims that it is food safe once it’s fully cured and that generally takes about 30 days So polyurethane is the next finish. It’s extremely popular it provides a really durable tough finish but it does add a yellow hue to the wood. Which is great in some furniture applications it gives it a warm feel. So I would recommend it for furniture to help give it that warm tone, but personally I don’t like it on my artwork. Our next one is shellac. It’s made from a resin secreted by the female Lac bug. It’s popular because it can dry to a high
gloss finish and it’s food safe once it’s fully cured. Now I personally don’t like glossy finishes on the artwork because I think it interferes with being
able to see the artwork. but keep in mind that’s my personal preference Now shellac is good for furniture musical instruments and items that will be in contact with food. So spar urethane is one of the toughest and most durable finishes in this group that I’m discussing It’s also one of the most smelly. If you are making something for outdoor use like a sign or some furniture Spar Urethane is the best finish for durability and resisting the
elements, but keep in mind just like polyurethane is going to impart a yellow hue to the wood. So the last finish I’m going to discuss
is Tru-oil. It’s very popular with people who refinish gun stocks. It also imparts a very yellow hue to the wood. We don’t use it, but I put it on the list because I was getting numerous inquiries about it So as I mentioned before you need to apply at least three coats of finish to all surfaces or sides of the wood. And with the exception of the shellacs and oils and stuff like that the lacquers you will need to lightly sand the board between coats This is super important especially with your polycrylics and your urethanes to have that slightly scuffed up texture on the finish and that’s going to help the next coat
adhere Without that it’s not going to bond properly. On my website: Pyrography Made Easy I have a test panel that I update at least once per year to show how the different finishes are aging. I’ll put a link to that article in the description below. Now I want to mention I don’t have spar urethane on the test panel but it is going to be the same color as polyurethane maybe even a little bit
darker. Well that’s it for finishes. I hope I covered the questions that you
have on this subject Thank you for watching and I will see you next week


  • My Art and Music says:

    Great sharing…very helpful big thumbs up my friend. Like 1 πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ™

  • Ryn Shell: Artist, Novelist & Vlogger says:

    The first thing I noticed was that fantastic work space and the materials. Then: You are wearing my peony painting! You look stunning. Thank you. πŸ™‚
    All EXCELLENT advice. This is a tutorial I especially found interesting. Thank you. πŸ™‚

  • Γ§izim yap says:

    6.lk.. nicee sharing.. good luck

  • Draw with Jonny says:

    Fantastic work Brenda, excellent tutorial congrats on the 2k followers πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  • Fernando Ochoa says:

    Hola Brenda….gracias por los tips…para mejorar los pirograbados🌹

  • HappyAngel Drawings says:

    Hi Brenda! Not only is it to finish the artwork but also the wood in which you made the art, that was really interesting! I am learning so much from you ^^ It is always nice to see you ^^ you are such a wonderful and lovely person ^^

  • Mgt Jones says:

    Another great video thumbs up from the UK πŸ‘

  • DAVY. J.Y. Art with a pen. says:

    Now i dont know anything about wood working or how to take care of your wood, but i must say this was very informative. You create excellent torials Brenda i must say. That work shop is amazing ! Great video Brenda Q O P πŸ™‚

  • Dixit Koteshwar says:

    Very nice information. Big thumbs up πŸ‘

  • Pyrography Pete says:

    Excellent tutorial Brenda. Very informative and you've answered a lot of questions that I've always wondered about. I've seen videos where Mod Podge has been used to transfer images and photos onto wood. I've always been tempted to give it a try but I'll leave it for a later date. There have been other videos where I've seen conflicting messages. Some say that when you finish a piece that the whole panel should be varnished – front, sides and back. Others say don't varnish the back because it allows the wood to expand and contract and won't crack the varnish. What is your suggestion?

  • chrissycanvasart says:

    This is good advice Brenda, when we used to build horse drawn vehicles in wood we used alot of yatch varnish, you explained in this video excellently,hugs my friend πŸ€—πŸ‘

  • Valarie Connell /DrawingWithFire says:

    Hey Brenda! 😁 Great video! For the most part I completely agree with everything you said. πŸ˜† I have 2 technical & 1 opinion that is slightly different. πŸ˜‰ The first being, if someone isn't cleaning their burning when done (denatured alcohol), it's better to use a spray layer first to seal the loose carbon down. If not, you will brush it all over the place. The second is glossy actually works better for burnings. I used to be in your camp with never using glossy. Then I learned an additive is used to cut the gloss. More is used as you go down to matte. This additive dulls and muddies the burning. With gloss is helps to show the different tonal values & color in the burning, because they aren't being interfered with by the additive.

    Here is the opinion part… lmbo 🀣 I love polycrylic! I never have a plastic feel to my pieces. I have heard woodworkers use that term & for furniture that may absolutely be right. I love that the polycrylic doesn't shift the wood very much. As to mod podge, I don't trust it for burnings. I'm hesitant to use any craft supply on a piece that I have work for so many hours.

    Ok I have interjected enough… lol! πŸ˜„ Great job!

  • Make itu says:

    Hi pyrography…..beautiful video….full watched my friend…..thanks for sharing….have a nice time…..

  • draw easy channel says:

    very nice guide ,useful upload ,,big thumbs up frnd

  • Amy's Arty Corner says:

    Hi Brenda, thank you so much for sharing this video. What a fantastic workshop! πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘

  • ozzie says:

    Great video Brenda very useful, also a Massive congratulations on reaching 2 Subs well done

  • Eve Harvey Art says:

    Hey there Brenda! This was such a cool setup! Loved this video and it was really interesting to watch

  • Ist mir Wunst says:

    A very informative tutorial. Have a great weekend Brenda.

  • uma rangoli art channel barsha says:

    Excellent tutorial videos …..and helpful video…..πŸŒΉπŸŒ·πŸŒ·πŸ‘πŸ‘

  • Tejaa Artists says:

    Hello Brenda

  • Richy Coelho says:

    Hi Brenda. This is The Video. I've never seen such a good , complete and well structured explanation about this. The thing about Polyurethane is that they claim it doesn't yellow the wood, but it does a little. Just like the board you show at the end. I would like to share the link to your video on my channel. Can I have your permission?

  • Dennis C. Nolasco says:

    Wow, cool! Love seeing the different variety of topics you provide. Your shop looks awesome Brenda πŸ˜€

  • DRAW2NIGHT says:

    Big enjoy to listen your very kind and calm professional art supplies recommendations! After your help almost everybody become an artist:)πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸŒΉ

  • Ash Kusanagi says:

    Thank you so much Brenda ! Very useful video.

  • TatianaBeeArtist says:

    Thank you for a wonderful explanation!!! πŸ‘πŸΌ

  • David Denton Art says:

    This is really useful Brenda. there are so many sealants out there I'm never sure which to use. I'd often wondered about what to use when decoupaging and it sounds like Mod Podge is the way to go. I'll have to look and see if I can get it in the UK πŸ™‚

  • Paint with Pastels says:

    Excellent advice, Brenda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *