The Ultimate Woodburning Guide: How to Master Pyrography
The term Pyrography meaning “writing with fire” dates back to the Chinese Han Dynasty where it was called “Fire Needle Embroidery”. Other ancient cultures such as ancient Egypt and Africa adopted the craft but it wasn’t until the Victorian Era that the term Pyrography was coined and more intricate techniques began to take form.
Today, instead of using fire to heat up a poker… we have awesome tools at our disposal to make our pyro-dreams come to life.
Let’s get started on your new hobby!🔥
Your Pyrography New Hobby Box includes:
2 Basswood Surfaces
4 Woodburning Points
6 Colored Pencils
Woodburning Tool with Stand
The wooden surfaces included in your New Hobby Box is Wisconsin Basswood. For woodburners, this is the number one choice due to it’s uniform, light golden color, and fine texture with little grain. Basswood burns easily and it’s natural color complements the warm brown of the wood burning. Your Basswood surfaces are already fine sanded and ready for use, but if you would prefer to sand them again, be sure to only sand in one direction.
Get to know your woodburning pen & woodburning points
We recommend playing around and practicing with the woodburning pen before starting your first project. The universal point currently attached to your woodburning pen is the best place to start.
This point is versatile - having a point, tip, blade, and sides making it great for lines. Simply by moving or holding your woodburning pen differently with this point will create a variety of effects.
We assume this goes without saying…. But hey, we have to say it:
🚫 DON’T TOUCH THE TIP! 🚫
Flip one of your surfaces over and practice making lines. For greater control, always move the pen towards you. Hold your pen lightly- squeezing it will fatigue your fingers and make them hot.
Draw the pen slowly toward you at an even pace, making a narrow line with the sharpest part of the point. Don’t press down, or your fine line will wiggle and vary in width.
For a stronger or darker line, lay the tip of the point on the wood and press down on the blade edge. To vary boldness, hold your pen to the wood at slightly different angles. Move the pen slowly and carefully and you will get a dark, bold line. More pressure yields a deeper and darker line.
Woodburners most commonly create soft lines to produce curves, backgrounds and quick sketches. Lean the tip on it’s side and “float” it on the wood surface. Let the tip barely glide over the wood surface without pressing down.
CHANGING OUT WOODBURNING POINTS
All woodburning starts with lines. For example, forming a design, sketching a picture, or even writing words all start with lines. Your woodburning pen is very versatile in creating lines by moving or holding it differently and even more versatile using the interchangeable points. The more you master the points, the more visual interest you’ll bring to your work!
In addition to the universal point already attached to your pen, (inside of the sealed bag containing color pencils) you will find a cone point, shading point and flow point.
The shading point offers a wide variety of shading subtleties. Use the shading point for large, dark areas. Move the shading point over an area slowly to create a rich, dark look. Moving it faster will create a lighter woodburn. To create a graduated shading technique, pull slowly at first and then gradually get faster.
Use the cone point for lines, curves, dots, and small details. By grouping fine grouping fine point lines together, you can make a crosshatch pattern. Crosshatching gives any piece a rich textured look. Grouping the small dots together creates another interesting shading technique.
The flow point woodburns curves and makes dots with speed and ease. Perfect for creating bold lines, dots, and dot patterns. This point can also be used for cursive writing. To create dark dots, hold the flow point in the same position for a longer amount of time.
Great places to find inspiration for your project include:
Once deciding on an image or pattern - using the transfer paper included in your kit, place the carbon side down on the wood. Secure the transfer paper with tape to the wood. Then simply place your pattern on top of the transfer paper- design side up. Finally, using a fine ball point pen or pencil, trace your pattern through the graphite paper onto the wood pressing firmly. (But not too firm- it could scar the wood)
Using Colored Pencils
When using colored pencils, apply color either in lines or in a circular motion. The amount of pressure applied affects the intensity of the color, producing a light medium or dark shade of color. The colors can be softened or blended very easily. There are three basic techniques you can use to apply color to your woodburning design: burnishing, transparent layering, and flat color application.
When burnishing, the goal is to apply heavy pressure to an area as to completely obliterate the texture of the wood so that the colored area looks like one solid color. Use this technique over the transparent layer technique (explained below) until the colors are opaque and solid.
When transparent layering, it is very important that you plan your color sequence carefully. Before you begin to burnish, make sure to lay down a preliminary series of undertones with gentle pressure. Begin this technique by filling in a succession of multiple colors with a sharp colored pencil and very gentle pressure to a specific area. Using the same color sequence, reapply the color using a successively heavier pressure.
Flat color application is known to be the easiest of the three and the best for graphic designs. To create rich, flat, graphich colors on wood, you will use the burnishing technique, but instead of layering multiple colors underneath, you may use just one color in each section. Press hard enough so that the texture of the wood completely disappears.
Our advice for using applying color: EXPERIMENT AND HAVE FUN!
Expert burners will tell you to use the three techniques above. But after having fun and experimenting….
We came out with equally satisfying results. 🦊❄️
Don’t know where to start? Check out our wood burning board for some inspiration!
Our hope is that you fall in love with this hobby and make gifts for love ones or some really great works of art. Please let us know if you have any questions about pyrography or your new tools!
If you take photos of your creations… share the love and make us smile by tagging #NewHobbyBox 🙂
We look forward to learning something new with you NEXT YEAR!
Your friends @NewHobbyBox