Picture of Pyrography: Burning Pictures into Wood
Plain pcs Basswood.jpg
One of my Irons.JPG
Basswood w-bark.jpg
Pyrography is the burning of sketches or drawings into wood. Color is sometimes added with oil pencils after the burning is complete, but it is normally kept to a minimum.
Although some skill is required, good work on pieces is mostly gained through practice and one will learn their own style and best ways to get the results they desire.

The biggest dangers involved are:
  • Burning one's self with the iron,
  • Burning anything else that should not be burnt (most pencil style irons have no off switch with the iron, and no ON indicator lamp).
  • Sawdust getting into the eyes.
  • Using improper wood and asphyxiating one's self.

The equipment and materials we will be using include
  • A pyrographer's iron
  • A metal stand for the iron
  • A standard multi-faced tip for the iron (as you become proficient, you can add specialty tips)
  • Some sandpaper (150-180 fine grit if only a light sanding is needed, 80-100 medium grit if some ridges need removed from the wood). It is best to wear some kind of eye protection when doing any sanding of wood.
  • Some carbon paper may come in handy as well as a sketchpad and tracing paper is helpful too
  • A WELL ventilated work place.
  • Wood, something flat, and untreated. Many art stores and craft stores will carry Basswood for this purpose (this is best). Do NOT use pine. It emits a very corrosive smoke when burnt/scorched, and it will not do your lungs any good at all. Besides that, it is very hard to burn a decent line into pine as you come across sap pockets, and moisture pockets. The burn is very hard to control.
  • and possibly some Oil based colored pencils

Although there is already an Instructable on making a Laser wood burning pen I thought it would be useful to show how to do that actual burning, especially if you are not able to make the laser burner and need to use a standard iron.

PS: I will be adding more info to this in the coming weeks, but I had promised this for so long now, I felt the need to finally get of my horse and get this published. I hope you find it useful.

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What is the "right" kind of wood?
Goodhart (author)  dont_unplug_me3 years ago
Basswood is best IMHO. It is what is normally sold in the kits.
ilpug Goodhart3 years ago
If you can get it, old growth redwood is hands down the best burning wood I have used, and is jaw-dropping when finished, but is extremely hard to find unless you are in Northern California or south Oregon. Try salvaging decrepit furniture for useable slabs at thrift stores.
Could you expand on what you mean by "on it's side"?
Goodhart (author)  dont_unplug_me3 years ago
Oh sorry that isn't very clear is it, I meant simply to turn the piece so you are not drawing the iron away from you or in an awkward direction, i.e. position it so you are drawing the iron towards you or towards the back of the hand holding the iron.
Thanks for clearing that up for me!
Goodhart (author)  dont_unplug_me3 years ago
You're very welcome
LoneWolf5 years ago
This is great!!!!!!!!! I remember you had showed me some of your Pyography pictures, I didn't know you had an instructable on it!!!

Well done :)
Goodhart (author)  LoneWolf5 years ago
Thank you  :-)  

One of my earlier ones  :-) 

Your welcome :)

Nicely written :)

mg0930mg6 years ago
I hate your drawing skills. Not because they're bad but, because they're better then mine. Nice I'ble.
Goodhart (author)  mg0930mg6 years ago
thanks... Well, I am actually better with the pyrograph pen, then I am with a pencil or regular ink pen :-)
Goodhart (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
Well, I don't think they are amazing, even if they are good.

Take a gander at a REAL artist Sue Walters <link>
woah, she is... she is... is... is... you know what, i can't find words to describe it

but you, you are AMAZING.
Goodhart (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
? I am not sure how to take that. Everyone is amazing in some way or another, it is just many people don't try hard enough to find out where or with what :-)
i see...
Goodhart (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
Thank you for the compliment though. :-)
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Goodhart (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
Happy All Saints Day

Goodhart (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
All hallow's eve, is Nov.31, All saints day is Nov. 1.....just picking a little ;-)
ohhhhhh.......wait, what???
Goodhart (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
um, the above post should have read: All hallow's eve, is Nov.31, All saints day is OCT. 1.....just picking a little ;-)
all hallow's eve is oct.31 and all saints day is nov. 1st right?
Goodhart (author)  mg0930mg6 years ago
Yeah, somehow I reversed the months *duh*
hahaha.. it's cool, we all make mistakes Goodhart.
Goodhart (author)  mg0930mg5 years ago
I'm wired to make mistakes it seems at times
oh ok...
Still, very nice. Oh, yeah the instructable is great. I'm going to do one for the diy halloween contest. Two-face. YAY! Are you going to post one into the diy halloween contest?
Goodhart (author)  mg0930mg6 years ago
I don't know. The wood can be costly, and for me, it is fairly time consuming.
My apologies, I was unclear. I meant a two-face costume, and are you making an Instructable for the diy halloween contest. Again, my apologies.
Goodhart (author)  mg0930mg6 years ago
No apology needed, I was probably just as much at fault for only seeing one way to read your post :-) A costume? Probably not. I have troubles with costumes :-) My field is electronics mostly. But I was thinking about a "floating ghost" (projection of sorts), one that actually looks like a phantasm that can be seen through, floating in the doorway when the door opens. But I can not find the circuit schematics for it, and I am not going to try to do that from scratch :-)
That would have been cool. Maybe you could make a costume with leds, and other fun electronic things! :D
leonardml5 years ago
Great instructable goodhart.  You are very talented.  We just picked-up a used cedar chest and I was thinking pyrography would be the way to go, but am a bi leery now.  Think I'll need lots of practice first.  Thanks for sharing.
Goodhart (author)  leonardml5 years ago
Thanks.   Two things:  Yes to the practice (practice with several types of wood, but make sure if you practice with ANY soft sappy wood like pines or Cedars, that you have a LOT of ventilation going (maybe even a fan on the work area) as the fumes from burning the sap can be toxic....and they can flare up in splotches and make burn puffs where you don't want them sometimes.
Derin6 years ago
☺ /|\ /\ Excellent drawing.
Goodhart (author)  Derin6 years ago
Thanks :-)
this is great goodhart! by any chance do you do scrimshaw ? it reminds me a lot of this.
Goodhart (author)  mynameisjonas6 years ago
Thank you. I don't really, I seem to do better with the pyrographer's iron, then a pen or pencil.
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