THIS IS FOR YOU! If you like simple, useful, and easy processes, give this a try. this just takes a few simple steps, and is very easy to do. You need NO experience with tools. If you can stick something with tape, and use a knife, you're set. If you can't... well, there's not much I can say about it, but that now is a good time to learn!
Below is a picture of a stickman and a camp fire. That's they type thing you should get when you're finished! The best thing is, it takes very little to master this technique! Once you get the hang of cutting curves on the tape, the rest is simple!
One KEY advantage to this method VS say a spray paint stencil, is that I can make REUSABLE stencils with ISLANDS. That means that I can do letters WITHOUT having to worry about those annoying "legs" that are needed to create blank spaces in the middle of a figure.
*please note* steps 8-12 are on making a stencil for repeated use of a particular design
Step 1: Step one: get those materials!
-DARK sunglasses- very important! We prefer to keep our eyes intact. if you've got welding goggles, those'll work too.
-Aluminum foil tape- the shiny stuff, you COULD use aluminum foil, but, it's going to be one heck ova lot harder that way.
-Razor blade- Exacto knives are preferred.
-Magnifying glass- one larger then 3" (~10cm) diameter circle, or rectangular equivalent.
-Material to be engraved- dark objects or wood are best
-A sunny day
*a side note, please try to steer clear of carcinogenic materials, However, if you must burn them, wait for a breeze, and stay upwind of the object, and downwind of other people (or a good ways away from them!) I'd prefer if you just take simple precautions to keep others safe. While probably not a problem, it's a good idea nevertheless. HOWEVER, plain 'ol wood is no problem, and you don't need to worry about that!
Step 2: Step two: apply tape
*it has been asked why I use this reflective tape, for all that are viewing this, I'd just like to clear any confusion. Because we're using light to do the burning, we need a way to keep it from burning portions of wood that we want to remain normal. Because it's light, it has no "radiant" heat (excepting that coming off the burning material) therefore we can get nice precise figures if we just reflect the unwanted light on the portions that we don't want to burn. Nice easy, carefree engraving, no worries about "coloring out of the lines"
Step 3: Step Three: cut figures
As seen below, a stick figure and a camp fire. You can cut out letters... ECT, it's all up to your imagination. Just remember, everything must be a "bubble figure" unless you cut it so there is some of the material beneath exposed, you can't engrave it.
Step 4: Step Four: remove cut tape
Also, if you need help lifting the tape off the object, use the point of your knife.
Step 5: Step Five: BURN!
Also, try to do the edges first, then work your way to the middle!
Step 7: Step seven: you're done!
You're done! Pat yourself on the back and do another!
Step 8: Making a stencil for repeated use
So how do we solve this? We'll build a stencil!
-sheet of glass or plastic (glass is VERY MUCH preferred)
Panes of glass in small sizes are readily available from scanner tops (on the 4-in-1 printers) and old window panes. If you've got a junkyard local, you might be able to lift some off of them for pretty cheap.
Step 9: Apply tape
*if you can't get the wrinkles out, use your thumbnail to smooth them out.
Step 10: Cut and remove the figures
If you'd like to re-use the piece for another shape, just make sure to tape on the side that has already been scratched by the knife during the cutting of the figures. This will keep burning power to a maximum, even if the old scribed lines fall where you want your figures. If you use plastic, you will have to move to another part of the sheet.
- as a side note, a good suggestion I've received (thanks for your comments all) is; just leave all your cut figures on the sheet of glass. As you can just move the stencil to use different figures, it'll save you a lot of time to just leave them all on the sheet of glass. Besides that, you can build your own "library" of stencils and have all the figures you've made!
Step 11: BURN!
*as a note, if you used plastic, I found that you burn until the engraving turns a black, then a slightly golden color, you'll see why in the next step.