Today’s Blog and Tutorial is a quick start to finish look at our wood burning process and how to wood burn letters for beginners. I receive a lot of questions about this process, so I like to put these “how to” articles together for wood burning and pyrography. Please leave comments, ask questions or give suggestions for more tutorials.
Clay’s Wood Working
Let’s start with the canvases. Clay builds 95% of our canvases. His wood shop is in our garage and he’ll get creative with the canvases and create something that has a miter art style, patchwork or reclaimed rustic style and I’ll try to find inspiration for a burn that goes with it.
He also creates new pieces for us to experiment with from time to time. We have recently started trying to create picture frames. Clay builds wide edge frames so I can burn in a quote, a family name or an anniversary date.
Once Clay is finished building the frames, he brings them to me for burning.
Creating a Digital File and Template
The first thing I do when I get a new canvas is decide what to burn in it. For these new frames, I like to choose a quote about family or something most people can relate to and would likely go with a picture.
Wood Burning Template
Once my template is ready to go, I tape it to the frame and place a sheet of carbon paper underneath. I’ll spend about half an hour copying the letters onto the wood. Copying the letters will help insure the letter sizing, spacing and accuracy. I will occasionally try to freehand letters, but for a finished professional piece I don’t chance it. I want to make sure the finished piece is high quality and something someone would be excited to display in their home.
How to Wood Burn Letters for Beginners
The next step is burning. I choose a tip that fits well in the letters and requires the least amount of strokes. I focus on keeping the letters filled and the lines straight with my burner tip. This amount of lettering takes a while to burn by hand. I like to put on a good pod cast or a movie and let it play while I burn.
Safety Gear for Wood Burning
I also make sure I have on my safety gear. I wear a 3M respirator with Vapor Filters, gloves or thermal finger guards and I have two fans that move the smoke. One fan is right next to my burner tip to pull the smoke and another fan is in the window to pull it out of the room.
Adding a Stain and a Finish