Picture of Make a woodburning brand

So, this all started because I'm getting married. And for wedding favors we wanted to hand out little wood disks with a magnet glued on the back, with a monogram woodburned into it. Sounds great right? Except we need to make like 200 of these things. So no way I'm doing it by hand. Thus..

Why not make a custom brand that you can use as much as you like?

I wanted to make one that would last and that could be used many times over the years. I thought a simple coat hanger wire one would distort after lots of use, and I wouldn't be able to get the detail I wanted.

I had never done anything like this...

But I won a cordless Dremel from the Halloween Challenge! Time to put that thing to use!

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Total cost of construction was only about $25, it would have been even cheaper but I needed to buy special bits for my Dremel.

What you'll need:

- The design of whatever you want to wood burn
- A piece of metal plate stock - I used 1/4", that should work for most everything
- A solid or hollow metal rod for a handle

- A Dremel or other rotary tool - I won one from Instructables in the Halloween challenge, thanks Instructables!
- Tungsten Carbide cutting bits - get a fine and regular size
- A hacksaw or other metal cutting device
- A vise to hold the workpiece
- A sharpie, and a pencil or carbon transfer paper
- Safety gear - earplugs or headphones, safety glasses
- Some sort of welding gear to attach the handle to the brand, or a high temp bonding agent of some sort

First thing to do is make up your design
- Some things to know - A design with straight lines is easier to carve than one with lots of curves (not that it stopped me)
- You need to remember to MIRROR your design! Or else your brand will always be backward!
- The smaller the detail, the harder it is - again, didn't really deter me but just FYI

Choose your metal stock
- You need the metal you use to be thick enough so that you wont cut through, but not so thick as to be tough to heat
- The handle should be generously long - you don't want a brand on you!

Once you've bought or scavenged everything, time to get started... 
Bigpurpleb made it!1 month ago

This tutorial was great! A total money saver and a lot of fun. There were a few things that I did differently, but I couldn't have made my wood brand without this tutorial. Thanks a ton!

(My brand is about 2" x 3")

My Changes:

I reversed my image on the computer, printed it, cut it out, and glued it onto the metal. I couldn't make the graphite transfer work, but this was perfect. I used regular copy paper and a very thin layer of regular Elmer's glue.

I used a Dremel engraving bit, a teeny tiny round one, to outline the design and just barely scratch the metal below. I was using a rusty old hunk of steel that was pretty tarnished, so I could lightly score the design into the rust. Then, once the design was one, I scrubbed off the paper.

I had purchased a set of cheap tungsten carbide bits for my Dremel off of Amazon. It was thirteen bucks and it was a huge lifesaver. They were infinitely better than any of the diamond bits I've used from Dremel and, despite being abused for this, every one of the ones I used is still in working order.

Anyway, I ground around the design with a ball-tipped bit and then used a variety of bits to eat away at the rest of the blank space surrounding the Bee. Without the set I bought, this wouldn't have worked, because of my unsteady hand and the odd little shapes in my design.

After I had everything done and I'd tested the brand to satisfaction, I cleaned it up and used some jeweler's polishing compounds to, well, polish the whole thing. This isn't necessary, but I think the finished piece looks more professional even with the tarnish, once it has been polished.


Again, thanks to jonathon.ewell for an awesome Instructable! I spent twenty bucks on supplies, instead of eighty on a manufactured brand, and I was able to do it myself!

very nice! I wonder if something like J B Weld would work to hold the handle to the brand, will have to try it and see. Thanks!

jonathan.elwell (author)  woodland sprite3 months ago

Depending on the flavor of JB Weld you use, it looks like temperate ratings range from 300-500 or so degrees Fahrenheit. If you're using a torch you'll get a lot hotter than that, and in general I think repeated heating/cooling would end up separating the bond. There may be some other high temp bonding agents out there however.

jeffkino3 months ago

I am IMPRESSED! Here's a few things which I really liked about your instructions...First, your easy going delivery didn't discourage a novice like me... Second, you took time to stress safety which is often just mentioned...Third, you are polite and positive; you didn't come off as a KIA (Know It All)...And finally, the tone of our replies shows you to be very approachable without the person inquiring left feeling like a dummy. Thank you!

jonathan.elwell (author)  jeffkino3 months ago

Thanks! I definitely want anything I post to be helpful, I've had (and continue to have) lots of people help me learn, so I want to pass it on. Best of luck in your building endeavours!

FN641 year ago
Nice 'ible Johnathan! I'm a woodworker and would like to make one of these for branding my projects & have a couple questions. Could this be done with aluminum? Would it take the heat and hold its form? I think it would be much easier to cut the pattern into and I have the stock, tools etc. Thanks.

I actually just posted a full tutorial on how to do just that!

Using aluminum as your branding material actually works very well, in addition to being much easier to shape.

photo 2 (22).JPG
jonathan.elwell (author)  FN641 year ago
Hmmm, aluminum would definitely be easier to cut or mill, but I think it would deform over long term heating/cooling cycles. By all means give it a whirl, if you use aluminum you'll probably want a relatively thick block, maybe an inch or so thick, and you'll need to make a threaded handle or something (unless you have a TIG welder and can do aluminum, in which case props to you).
Hopefully that helps!
Really awesome idea. Thanks for sharing :)
Tupulov3 years ago
Well done!

To help with the mirror image, I use Microsoft Word or a copier that has a setting to make reversed images.
jonathan.elwell (author)  Tupulov3 years ago
I use GIMP (open source image editor) to do a lot of stuff, its super easy to flip or rotate images in that too!
cerene3 years ago
My wedding ring is part tattoo, part branding :D
Kiteman3 years ago
Wow, a wedding brand.

I only bought my wife a ring...