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Hello everyone!

This tutorial will give you a nice compilation of techniques and tricks for wood burning in any level of detail. As someone who loves drawing, I was fascinated by how easily I could transfer those skills into wood and finally make 3D art. Since now I have some experience in the subject, it's time to teach whatever I can!

This instructable was made for the Burn It! contest, since it will talk about burning 100% of the time. Let's get started!

Step 1: Wood burners

Tools for wood burning can come in many prices and control levels.

My first one was very cheap (US$10 at Walmart) and did a good job. It comes with five different tips and I still like to use it for background filling. I would recommend this one if you want to have the feel for it, and find out whether you like the burning art. However, as you start burning for hours and hours, this little guy will literally start slow-cooking your fingers. You also hold the burner far away from the tip, so you lose some precision.

It all led me to buy a professional Colwood burner. Having the heat regulation option was really handy when it came to burning different types of wood (we will talk about that) and doing some careful shading. Instead of changing the tips, you switch the whole "pen" for new effects; the big advantage here is not having to wait until the tip has cooled down to switch it.

Just so nobody can say I am praising Colwood, I must say their costumer service is terrible. It was impossible to order another pen from Brazil when mine broke, they simply would not answer.

My starter kit it the one on the picture, and to be honest I still don't feel in need for anything else!

For way more information on burners, I suggest this excellent review by Nedra Denison:

http://www.sawdustconnection.com/pyrography-woodbu...

This was my first endeavor into wood burning
Where do find instructions for the coat hanger/ hidden compartment? ?
<p>I am looking to get into a new creative art and release some positive energy and have turned my eye to woodburning. I have not drawn seriously since middle school ( I am 22). Do you all often buy your wood? I didn't know if finding wood cuts on trails and such of a hard, dry wood would not do well with burning? I wanted an inexpensive hobby to start out with and grow.</p>
What would be the best way to avoid cooling the tip so quickly. I have a rather cheap wood burner and as I burn the lines get too light within 5 - 10 seconds. Would this be because of the quality of the tool or would this most likely happen with any burner?
What would be the best way to avoid cooling the tip so quickly. I have a rather cheap wood burner and as I burn the lines get too light within 5 - 10 seconds. Would this be because of the quality of the tool or would this most likely happen with any burner?
<p>Thank you.New to woodburning and this was very informative.</p>
<p>This is great, thank you. Just did my first project and I definitely need a better tool and wood. Hopefully my future projects will look much better!</p>
<p>I'll love to see it! Thank you :)</p>
<p>Here it is, and thankfully the recipient loved it.</p>
<p>It looks awesome! Great job!</p><p>Lord of the Rings projects are so fun to make :D</p>
<p>Thank you for the great tutorial! I didn't know how to fill in black or do gradients yet. <strong>One question</strong>: What is a flat gradient tip exactly? Do you maybe have a picture? <br>I've done some wood burning myself and I think <strong>beech</strong> is very well-suited. It's the right degree of hardness to allow for fine lines - I have used both pine and beech up till now (pine: slytherin logo and beech: owls and tree). I had a lot of problems with the grain of the pine wood - though some sanding might have helped there. </p>
<p>Hello and thank you! Here is the link for the shading tip I use, although they may come in many different shapes: <a href="http://www.woodburning.com/toolshop/detail.asp?iPro=358&iType=25">http://www.woodburning.com/toolshop/detail.asp?iPr...</a></p><p>You did some great pieces! Your line work is amazing. I'm assuming you are used to drawing, since your burned art seems so natural :D</p><p>I still haven't tried beech, although I recently fell in love with mahogany for the same reasons you stated. I was never able to put so much detail into a piece before! As for pine, I'll admit the grain is a nuisance; sadly, sanding might not help much in this case. My latest work on pine had very hard areas, so I had to work very slowly.</p><p>On the bright side, a drawing using mostly lines, even for shading, will not show much of the difference you feel between soft and hard areas. A gradient shading will be harder to make uniform.</p><p>(I can't believe I'm helping a Slytherin... what will my fellow Ravenclaws say?)</p>
Thank you - yes I'm more used to drawing, but I found that doing woodburning's a lot of fun. I'll try to get a shading tool like yours - some things just can't be done with only linework.<br><br>Mahogany sounds nice, too! Though I expect that beech is more on the cheap side. Maybe I'll try it out next time. <br><br>Hard and soft areas made it difficult for me to draw a good line before, so I'm probably just going to avoid pine in the future.<br> <br>(Thankfully I'm also a Ravenclaw - I did that logo for a friend - so all's well)
<p>You do beautiful work and your tips were very informative. I do have a couple suggestions though. One, I have no clue what hatching is or how its done, that segment of your post was a little vague, II would be interested in learning more about it. Two, I noticed that your instruction was based mainly on the use of the more expensive wood burner, an item most beginners do not own, would be nice to have you share more tips based on the use of the less expensive tool. Something that may be helpful, I to have a cheap burner that gets mighty hot down by the tipped end. I used some silicone tape and wrapped it around the area behind the tip so that I am able to hold the burner closer to the tip without getting burned. </p>
<p>Hi there! Thank you for the suggestions. You have a good point.</p><p>Hatching is a technique of shading by drawing parallel lines in a determined area. You may cross many layers in different directions to create more depth. It's often used in comic books.<br>On your second point, I might not have a wide range of suggestions on the cheaper burner. I made the jump from the Walmart-bought one to the professional tool after a few weeks of woodburning. But my main advice is to keep the tips clean with a high grit sandpaper or a wire brush, even as you work, as their tips tend to accumulate more residues than finer ones. Also, give the burner time to re-heat between strokes, since it tends to lose heat rather quickly. The drawing and shading techniques don't really change from a hobby to a professional tool, the process just becomes faster.</p><p>The idea of silicone tape is great! I sometimes use band-aids on my fingers when I need to burn for longer periods with the hobby burner, even though I'm holding it at the &quot;right&quot; place. It really cooks your hand! Does the grip feel clumsy because of the weight of the burner, when you hold it close to the tip?</p><p>Thanks again and let me know if you have more questions or suggestions :)</p>
Thank you for the swift response. I find I have a lot more control over my burner when I am able to hold it more like a pen. I am left handed though so my grip may be different from a right handed persons. Since the majority of the weight is in the front of the burner to begin with, adding the tape and extra weight at the front doesn't change the way it handled to begin with. Thank you for the tips, I will be sure to use them on my next project!<br>
<p>Thanks! I used a normal soldering iron to do my burning. This is my first burn ever</p>
<p>It looks great for a first attempt! If you'd like to try some different techniques with the soldering iron, take a look at some dotted shading techniques. I think it would add some cool complexity to your work in a beginner-friendly way :)</p>
<p>This is a wonderful ible. Thanks so much for sharing this. I now I have a bunch of ideas for gifts. I will post once I make something. </p>
<p>Thank you! I'll love to see it :)</p>
<p>might use this idea on cross cuts of oak to wright gests names so they know wear to <a href="https://online-unblocked-games.weebly.com/" rel="nofollow">site</a> at wedding party for me and my other half</p>
<p>That idea will sure look gorgeous. And congratulations for the wedding! </p>
<p>I do a fair amount of woodburning and really appreciate this information and these tips and photos. Thanks for taking the time to post this. You have done some gorgeous work. </p>
<p>Thank you so much! Glad to be helpful :)</p>
<p>Fantastic work! But please <strong>really</strong> avoid all artificial / pressed wood boards like MDF and chipboard. They are made with glue, epoxy or other stuff that most likely is not that nice to breathe in a slightly roasted state.</p>
<p>Do you mean like in California? (roasted state- pun intended) good tip tho!</p><p>This whole instructable has got my creative juices flowing again, I used to carve goose eggs with a high speed drill (like a dentist drill) but my hands are a little wobbly now. Working with heat like that may not be the best choice, but I am creative, so I will keep my ear to the grindstone, or my nose, I forget... Really nice work, do you varnish or treat the wood after burning to seal it?</p><p>The egg isn't my best work, the best ones were given away before I got to photograph them (my dumb mistake) they were also broken as people did not believe they were real eggs!</p>
<p>Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing and hope you keep on with such a nice work.<br>As for the varnish, I usually do not treat the wood afterwards. I think none of the pieces used on this Instructable were varnished, as the wood gets quite sealed with the heat alone (specially when it has some resin inside).</p>
<p>Beautiful job on the egg. You are indeed creative - thanks for sharing.</p>
<p>That egg is gorgeous!</p>
<p>Thank you very MicheleG26, this isn't even representative of my better work. I called them &quot;Legendary Lace Eggs!&quot;</p>
<p>Thank you so much! You are totally right about MDF fumes, burning resin/glue and formaldehyde is definitely bad for you. I did so many projects with it because it was my only option of ready made boxes/chests blanks, but always used some kind of exhaustion to avoid breathing fumes.</p>
<p>Did you mention that precaution in your 'ible? If not, you might still add it so nobody tries without exhaustion.</p><p>To everyone who really cannot have an exhaustion, think about getting one of <a href="http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3M-PPE-Safety-Solutions/Personal-Protective-Equipment/Products/Product-Catalog/~/3M-Half-Facepiece-Respirator-6000-Series?N=5548558+8690968+3294361846+3294529207&rt=rud" rel="nofollow">these</a> or similar, they can filter out gas and particles and are cheap for what they do. I am always wearing one of these when spraypainting.</p>
<p>Updated =)</p>
<p>Just wanted to thank you for the inspiration and techniques. Did my first piece today thinking it would turn out badly and it went pretty well. You can definitely see where I have an unsteady hand at times but some of that was learning to use the burner though. </p>
Bass wood is the best to wood burn
<p>Damn. Now I got another hobby to learn. You should send the KISS thing to Ace or Gene - you'll be in the Army for life. Seriously, this stuff rocks.</p>
<p>Again something I haven't tried but something I thought about. Could you copy the image you wish to transfer to a type of paper thin enough (tracing paper, maybe) that would allow you to place the image face down on the wood then use your woodburner with perhaps a shading tip to transfer the individual lines? If this works if there was part of the image you didn't want to transfer you simply don't transfer those lines.</p>
<p>That could potentially work, but it seems like twice the work. What I do in most of the pieces is printing the scaled artwork on a regular paper and use black carbon paper to transfer the outlines.Granted, sometimes it is a lot of work, specially for more intricate drawings. I have tried experimenting more methods in order to reduce the transferring effort, but they all have their limitations. Toner transfer, for example, is relatively easy with a flat-solid-circle shaped tip, but if you put toner on the wood and burn over it the toner will melt, gunk up on the burner tip and potentially smudge your work. </p>
<p>I have found pyrography fascinating for some time but I have more hobbies now than I am able to keep up with. One thing I was thinking about doing though was to purchase a powerstrip. You know, the ones that let you plug in 4 or 5 different device. I was then going to purchase 4 or 5 cheap woodburners, mount each with a different head and then plug them all into the powerstrip. Then you have whichever tip you need when you want it without the wait. You'll be using more electricity but I doubt it will be that much and you have the conveniency.</p>
<p>I've never though of that idea. Assembling it so that the workstation does not get crowded with wires and woodburners could result in a nice setup. Each woodburner draws between 10W to 30W depending on the model, so I guess it wouldn't be too stressful for the power strip.</p>
<p>There is money in that for you,really nice work.</p>
<p>Wood Tatooing :D Awesome... </p>
<p>You are so inspiring! I got a decent woodburner for Christmas and love how much easier it is than the cheap craft-store ones. I've stuck to just outlining things so far, but your Instructable makes me want to try more ambitious projects. Thanks!</p>
<p>Hey thanks for sharing your pictures too, seems like you put up a good effort on the tree, looking neat =)</p>
<p>The tree was a way to test all of the tips, on the cheapest craft store wood I had. I can't wait to try out cherry wood and all of your techniques!</p>
Just a tip, (no pun intended): When I work with my interchangeable tip burner and want to change tips, I simply use a pair of needle nose pliers. Be sure that you have an ash tray or other heatproof surface to place the hot tip on. Also, use the pliers to screw in the new tip as it will heat faster than you think! Lastly, since the metal is hot you may notice some marks from the pliers, so make sure you grasp it as close to the bottom as you can.
<p>That's right, you can use pliers so you don't have to wait for it to cool. However, pliers are made of steel, and the tips on those woodburners are brass, which is a softer metal and therefore scratches easily. Some precaution is needed so that you don't scratch/damage the part of the tip that makes contact with the wood.</p>
Wow!! You've done some awesome stuff. My wife would love the owl with the Celtic knot. Do you have some of these patterns available or do you just find images online?
<p>Hi, thanks for the comliments. A lot of people seem to like that tribal owl desing. A good number of the work I've done was based on images sent by people who requested a piece, I assume they probably found them on the internet.</p>

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