How to Wood Burn Using Stencils

Getting Started

The first “how to wood burn using stencils” did so well that I decided to do another one with a Mandala this time. I’ve got a small Walnut Hollow Basswood Round. I’m also adding color using India Inks.


I love to burn texture and shapes. Mandalas are a great way to do both. I’m only using a portion of this mandala design, then I’ll add my own touch by free handing new designs to add a border.

Even though this is a How to Wood Burn Using Stencils article, don’t forget you can always add your personal touch with a few free hand designs.

Using Carbon Paper to tTransfer
Free Hand Sketching the Border

Burning the Outline

I’m using my Colwood Super Pro II to burn this design. I like to start by burning all of the outlines. The straight edge tip is perfect for that. It lets me keep my lines nice and straight. This particular canvas is a center sliced piece of wood, so all of the tree rings are in the center. if you use a rounded tip, you’re likely to get a lot of bumpy edges on this type of basswood canvas.


Using the burner tip, I burn each outline and make sure I’m covering up all of my pencil marks. When you’re learning how to wood burn using stencils, you want to make sure you burn over all of your marks from the transferred design. Don’t leave any of the carbon showing.

The curved designs can be tricky. I just turn down my heat and go slower.


Once all of my outlining with the straight edge tip is done, I switch to my ball tip. It lets me burn some of the smaller details that are harder to read. Plus, I can add dot patterns to some of my designs.


Adding texture

The rounded lettering tip is perfect for adding texture. The round edge lets me cut through the wood easily adding lines to the inside of my outlined designs. My lines don’t need to be straight here. Now it’s just about filling in the shapes with texture, so the messier the better.

I’m using the JATAI Finger Guards for heat protection.

Now for Color!

I’m using India Inks here. I like to layer colors on top of each other in order to get a shaded/gradient effect. Reds and blues are one of my favorite color combos, so I threw in a little red to pop against the blue.

Adding color is another great way to add your own style when you’re learning how to wood burn using stencils. You can take any design, and jazz it up with color.


All done!


Watch the Video


This FREE (and highly detailed) digital packet is overflowing with information for getting started in pyrography.

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I put together a digital download packet that highlights wood burning tools and projects perfect for pyro beginners.

“what burner should I use?”

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“what should I burn?”


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