Pyrography: Using Rubber Stamps With Your Burnings




Introduction: Pyrography: Using Rubber Stamps With Your Burnings

About: I am a third generation artist with a background in oil painting and watercolors, I fell in love with pyrography in 1984 and have won numerous awards, written 6 books, am a regular contributor to major print m…

Not everything needs to be a gruesome struggle. Some things like a gentle breeze on a hot summer day are joyful in their simplicity. In this article I will share one of my favorite techniques to create quick, fun and simple burnings.

Instant gratification can show us how to find pleasure in what is at hand, and more so it calls us to share these simple joys with others around us. Because these projects are so very quick, it is easy to gift them.

So today I invite you to open your mind to some new approaches to my favorite medium... burning!

One of the things I love most about wood burning is the immediacy of the technique. Wood burning can be a very fast way to achieve a finished result. Burning has a look that is more polish and complete than either pen or pencil. So in less time and minimal effort you can finish small projects that are ready to be enjoyed and imbue them with your love and personality.

One way to accomplish this without the added work of finding patterns and transferring them is to use rubber stamps and water soluble markers. In this issue I will walk you through one of my favorite ways to create beautiful gifts for friends that are both personal and quick.

Step 1: Selecting Your Stamps

Find or purchase a rubber stamp that has a nice image on it. You want to find stamps with nice clean lines that will be easy to see once they are stamped on wood. Stamps with too much fine detail will get blurred and are not suitable for what we are attempting.

Step 2: The Right Ink

Purchase water soluble markers (generally made for kids and labeled as Washable). You will need a tan marker. The tan color will be burned over and should be sufficiently light in color that it will not detract from your finished burning.

Step 3: Apply the Ink

Color the rubber part of your stamp with the tan marker.

Step 4: Activate the Ink

Breathe on the stamp just as you would if trying to fog up a mirror or clean your glasses. This will moisten the ink with condensation (from your breath) and reactivate it.

Step 5: Stamp on the Wood

Immediately stamp the image on your wood. Practice this on a piece of paper first. You need to stamp immediately after breathing on the ink or it will dry up. Be sure to reapply the ink prior to stamping each time. NOTE: be sure to know where you want to stamp your image - there is no way to erase the ink marks other than sanding off.

Step 6: Burn Your Image

You are now ready to begin burning. The tan ink will show you where to burn.

From outlining to filling in detail keep your burning minimal.

Step 7:

The light tan ink should not detract from your final image although it may show slightly. Do not burn too much shading if you intend to color in the burning. Shading will limit how much color adheres to the wood.

Step 8: Apply Color

To finish off I like to use colored pencils (not oil or watercolor pencils) Crayola pencils work well as do Prismacolor and other professional brands. These are wax based and can be erased if needed. They do not work the same way as watercolor or oil pencils so substituting them will yield different results.

Apply your colors very lightly and use layering whenever possible to give a richer look.

Step 9: Blend in the Colors

Finish off with a blender pencil (specifically made for wax based pencils). This will create a smooth finish on your surface.

You can purchase these pencils at art supply stores and hobby shops that carry artist's grade pencils such as Prismacolor (they are called Blender Pencils). The blender pencil will smooth the pigment creating a richer finish and blend your overlapping colors.

Don't forget to seal your work with a protective finish such as Deft (lacquer based sealer).

Step 10: Finish Up

These little projects are such fun and the instant gratification of a "finished" piece is so uplifting that I always enjoy making them.

These easy little projects hold many "gifts". They gift the artist with the feeling of accomplishment from finishing a project. They gift the recipient with a lovely personalized work of art. They also create the priceless gift of interaction and community. Try asking friends about rubber stamps, I guarantee you will find yourself enjoying wonderful conversations as you sift through treasured collections.

By moving through life in the spirit of curiosity and wonder we enrich not only our lives but the lives of others. We can become a living example of true appreciation and a light to those around us. Who knows the final impact we can create in our world by simply proceeding in love and joy.

If you have enjoyed this article and are interested in learning more about woodburning I invite you to check out my FREE Burning Basics Video Series at

NOTE: Rubber stamp courtesy of

Be the First to Share


    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge
    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest
    • Make it Glow Contest

      Make it Glow Contest



    4 years ago

    that looks fantastic!