What You’ll Need:

We are going to put our wood burning shading techniques from our previous blog post into practice using two different burners.

Safety Equipment

Don’t forget your safety equipment. It’s always a good idea to wear a mask and have your gloves or finger guards ready. I also typically have a fan nearby to pull the smoke away from face.

These are three products I use when I’m burning. I’ve tried other masks, but the 3M mask with Vapor Filters have worked the best for me.

The Jatai Finger Guards are actually for use with curling wands, but of everything I’ve tried these keep the heat off my fingers the best.

Setup

I start by setting up a simple still-life with a while sheet of paper and an apple. I then took a picture of the setup and printed it out.

still-life
wall link
Wall Lenk L30WBK
super pro
Colwood Super Pro II

Before I start with each burner, I roughly sketch 2 apples on the scrap wood. I will burn one with the starter burner and the second with the pro burner.

Shading with a Starter Burner

I loaded my burner with a flat shading tip and once it is warmed up, I use the flat shader tip to burn the outside bottom edge of the apple. For this, I use a pulling motion across the wood surface.

shadetip1

My starter burner doesn’t have heat settings, therefore, I have to achieve different shades with the speed in which I burn. In other words, the slower I burn the darker the shade and the faster I burn the lighter the shade.

shadetip2

After completing the bottom-right edge of the apple, I use a circular motion with the very edge of the flat shader tip to add a dark shade. It’s a simple and easy way to add shade without leaving dark spots in one area.

To achieve a lighter shade I’m using a circular motion at a faster pace.

shadetip4

This illustration highlights the lines or stripes in the apple that  I will be burning darker than the surrounding area. I use a circular motion and follow the line patterns in the image of the apple to create the look.

To add more shade to the bottom left side I use the flat side of the starter burner.

The best way to add an overall shade to one area is by using the flat side of the starter burner and pull it across the wood surface until you get the desired shade.

On the lighter shades, I use a pulling motion and the circular motion and just follow the pattern of the image of the apple. I then finish it all the way across to complete the image of the apple. I use faster speed to add the lighter tone of shade to the top right side of the apple.

shadertip4

I will minimize the amount of time the burner is on the wood to create a lighter look.

Here’s the finished apple using the starter burner wood burning shading techniques.

apple1

You can see the overall shades; both the light areas and the dark areas.

Shading with a Pro Burner

For the pro burner, the techniques are the same as the starter burner. I use the pulling motion across the wood surface and circular motion for a more consistent shade.

shadertip5

As already stated, the actual motions I use to burn are no different from one burner to the next. I hope seeing the exact same thing being burned by both the burners is helpful for someone who wishes to see how they act differently.  You will notice that the pro burner has a smoother burn. The tips of my pro burner get hotter than the starter burner I am using. It pulls across the wood with fewer skips or catches in the wood.

shadertip6

I use the same illustration with highlighted lines again to burn the darker areas of the apple.  I use the pulling motion up and down along the wood surface to create the striped texture of the apple.

You may leave the burner on the wood a bit longer for darker shades and a faster burn for a lighter shade.

My pro burner has heat settings. I can turn up the heat for darker areas and turn it down for the lighter areas. Doing so makes it easier to achieve the shade and minimizing my mistakes. 

Nonetheless, it’s still important to know how to adjust the speed of the burner in order to achieve different shades of light and dark.

shadertip7

I use the circular motion to add the lighter shades on the top right of the apple. The heat is turned down so I don’t accidentally burn too dark.

Even if I do want a bit darker shade I can just leave the tip a bit longer on the wood instead of constantly switching heat settings.

Here is the final look of the apple using the pro burner wood burning shading techniques.

apple2

Here is a comparison of both.

apples combo
Left – Pro Burner Apple | Right – Craft Burner Apple

You may see that the pro burner (on the left) is a bit smoother with fewer hot spots. You can see for yourself that you can achieve the same shading techniques with either a starter burner or a pro burner.

Let me know what you think of it. I’m always open to suggestions for more wood-burning tutorials.

More Tutorials

Check out these other tutorials on wood burning from Pyrocrafters.

wood-burned-lettering
Wood Burned Lettering
wood-burning-for-beginners
Wood Burning for Beginners