I first discovered the art of pyrography, or wood-burning as it’s often called, in 2005 through a creative accident. And I don’t think I’ve looked back since.
Pyrography – the art of writing with fire – comes from the Greek pur (fire) and graphos (writing).
When I first started, I began with one I bought at a local craft store. Unlike this one, it wasn’t temperature controlled, bust just a basic wood-burning pen with tips to change out.
I initially wanted to wood-burn on beads for my macrame jewelry, but while I was at the craft store, I also bought several wood planks.
My favorite blanks are the ones that are more natural with the bark around them but you can find many shapes and sizes even without bark.
Something that I recommend is to have some practice wood handy so that you can get a feel for the wood-burner and the wood you are using. I want to caution you though that not all woods are safe to be burned on. In general, the ones you get at the store are good to use but if you want to venture out and experiment with wood other than basswood, a little research can save your life.
You are going to need sandpaper, graphite paper, and a pattern. The sandpaper will help you prep the wood. It’s easier to burn on wood when it’s smooth and without bumpy grain sticking out.
The graphite paper will help you transfer the pattern onto the wood. This is the safest way as burning on ink if using a heat transfer can actually harm you.
Once your wood is prepped, the pattern is transferred, you’re ready to wood-burn. To get started, press it gently against your wood piece. You do not need a lot of pressure. It’s easier to start off with lighter burning and darken it layer by layer than to press and hold down to scorch the wood.
One key thing to remember, this is an art form best not rushed through but to embrace patience. It can be incredibly healing, calming and you’ll be amazed by what you can create with a hot pen and some wood.