Picture of Use duct tape, a sandblaster, and a torch to make a sign
There are a lot of ways to make the artwork on a sign.  I decided to try something new.  It turned out faster than carving and the result was exactly what I was looking for.  I still used a couple computer programs to design the sign and for the griding, but I wanted to keep it as low tech as possible.  Kind of a tribute to times before all the CNC routing and 3D printing.  (Not to say that I am anyway against such things and have a huge desire to own anything high-tech!)  This is a nice project to get back to getting your hands dirty.

Yes, we can mark this down as another use for duct tape!

Before we go any further, I need to address some safety concerns.  You need to be very comfortable with fire, and have an environment where you can use open flame.  Sandblasters are very messy and you need to be prepared.  Also, a well grounded knowledge of woodworking is not necessary, but will come in handy.  I will try to fill in any gaps in how to work with the wood where I think it is unique to this project.

Materials you will need:
Hardwood boards glued into panel (size is up to you, but you should have it rather thick).  I chose 2" thick rough cut hard maple.  It will work better if you use a closed grained wood (no open pores).
Duct tape
Metallic tape, usually used in automotive applications
Sandblaster and relevant equipment i.e. mask, gloves, sand
MAPP gas torch
Small butane torch
Xylene or other solvent
Scotchbrite pads/steel wool 0000
Marine varnish
Razor blade
Sharpie marker
Artwork, either full size or to scale with gridlines

PACW3 years ago
Very nice! My husband keeps telling me we need a media blaster. . . . now I'm thinking he's right.
dockholiday (author)  PACW3 years ago
Thanks! It's good to know that I was helpful in the decision to buy more toys! I love toys!
widget20073 years ago
looks great, wonder what would happen if you reversed things and left the design raised and sandblasted the background?
dockholiday (author)  widget20073 years ago
That's a Great Idea! I bet if you did that and ramped up the pressure and area of the sandblaster by standing back a bit (granted the tape stays on...) you could get some weathered wood pattern showing up. You might have to retape in reverse to protect the wood while burning the raised areas. I dunno. Sounds like a good project....
Pat_Maroney3 years ago
That is gorgeous, nicely done!
dockholiday (author)  Pat_Maroney3 years ago
Thank you!
Tupulov3 years ago
UBER cool! Now I'm dying to try it! Keep up the good work!
dockholiday (author)  Tupulov3 years ago
thomp5km3 years ago
This is AWESOME! good use of tools...can't believe i havent seen this yet :)
dockholiday (author)  thomp5km3 years ago
Thanks! Gotta use what ya got. :)
Interesting way to go about large scale pyrography... Most of the pyrography I've seen done is either with a wood-burning iron (mainly for small scale projects) or done using a flammable gel (like Sterno) basically painted on...

Your method is great for large areas and high detail... though instead of duct tape I would use aluminum tape (generally meant for AC/HVAC duct work), as the aluminum would distribute the heat across itself, and shouldn't burn as easily.

Unfortunately I lack access to a sandblaster, though I think one could probably get away with not using it, though you would lose some of the finer texturing.
Also the ridging from the sandblaster would be great if you are using a flammable gel instead of a torch.

Great Project, Excellent 'Ible.
Keep up the great work and,
Happy Making!
dockholiday (author)  BrefelanDesigns3 years ago
Thanks for the input.

I sandwiched the aluminum tape between the layers. It worked pretty good, but with the melting duct tape it tended to roll out of the way. Mainly when I used the larger torch.

I figured that using a wood burning torch would have been to tedious for something this large. I haven't heard of the gel though. Sounds interesting.
Someone posted an 'Ible on it a while back... let me see if I can find it...
(sometime later)
I give up, I can't find it...

Searching Pyrography yields either 'ibles using a woodburning iron/soldering iron or are using a brand (another way, great for marking multiple items...)

Searching through my favorites would take hours,
(most likely days.. I most likely would get distracted by on of the 'ibles....)
Instructables needs a way to easily search through one's favorites... Especially when one has 1739(!) favorite instructables.

Your method is quite a bit more controllable though, so your method is a lot safer... though if you're a pyro like me, then the gel method is more fun... though it probably would scare the neighbors! Either way it's done, it's still a good idea to do outside (duh!) and have a fire extinguisher (or garden hose) on hand.