Introduction: Stencil for Wood Burning / Fire Typography

About: Sabanci University visual arts graduate

Ok so I was trying to find a cheap diy option for stencils. It would have been easy if we were going to use paint but we wanted to burn the design on wood.. I found metal stencils but that wasn't an option cause I just needed a stencil to use once, and laser cutting metal or anything other than paper is expensive =D

So I looked around for materials and found a cheaper way. It may be wrong or there might be even cheaper materials that I could've used, if you know any please comment below so other people can also use that information.

Because for this project we needed huge stencils this isn't exactly a do it yourself project.. But for smaller projects this method can be used if you have sth like a cricut machine..


Wood (we used unvarnished OSB )

Thin double sided tape

Torch (it could be a gas blow torch or flame torch, there are several different ones you just need to find the one you are comfortable using)

Plastic acetate sheet (Some people said we could've used aluminium vinyl sheets but we had acetate sheet so I used that..)

5mm forex (NOT foam board!) (or several 1mm ones)

Step 1: Stencil

STEP 1 - The stencil

Make sure to read the notes on the pictures ;)

1-Have your design cut on forex and on plastic acetate sheet

2-Use double sided tape to stick the plastic acetate sheet on top of your forex stencil. Make sure to use the tape on all the borders. İf not the acetate would curl up because of the flame.

3- Stick your stencil on wood and make sure that it doesn't budge.

Step 2: Start the Fire =D


Each torch is different, so I suggest get the one with that has an adjustable tip. Just ask around when buying your torch and explain what you want to do. What do you want? to burn your wood fast and have a dense black outcome, to burn your wood slowly and have several degrees of burnt wood effect etc.. The sellers would give the best one according to what outcome you want to see.

MAKE SURE TO PUT A MASK ON. any mask would be ok, I'm pretty sure that smoke from the burnt stencil is toxic..

1- This is how it looks with low flame and we were going really slow.. but we weren't getting the crispy edges we wanted so we turned up the heat.

2- Start burning the edges first. If you want a crisp finish on the borders have 1-2cm between the torch and the wood and burn with a 90 degree angle, move fast. You need to make sure you are not melting the stencil.

3- Have a stick or sth that you can hold down the stencil, even when you tape the stencil the middle parts sometimes rise a little, so its always handy to have several sticks around. And for bigger parts we even used a block =)

Step 3: 1 Letter at a Time

STEP 2,5 =D

Don't go all over and just do the edges of all the letters or whatever designs you have. Finish the first than on to the next one.

Burn the edges first, than fill in the other parts.

Since we used an unvarnished wood some parts would burn more and some would just stay brown. We like that effect so we kept it like that. If we had wanted it all black we could've just used black paint I guess =D

Step 4: Cleaning Up


Take off the stencil and but make sure you look at every corner, incase you missed anything you would want to find that out before taking off the stencil.

Than just varnish it and voila its finished. Ok its not that easy but well there aren't many steps to explain that much after you get the correct materials =)

Step 5: Final

And this is the final result . As I've written before, there may be better options but this is the one that I've used.

hmm maybe I could've used aluminium foil, next time I'll try that =)

I'm open to any questions, suggestions and corrections =) so please feel free to comment below.

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