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Pyrography (wood burning) for beginners

Pyrography (wood burning) for beginners

Pyrography is a pretty easy skill to learn. These are the first two pieces that I made
and I’m very happy with how they turned out. Let me take you through the process and I’ll
also share some tips and tricks with you that I found out along the way. Pick an image that you like and print it out
in a size that matches the piece of wood you have. I really want to make a woodburning of this
Haida artwork representing a killer whale. And I will. But to give myself something easier to practice
with, I drew up a compass rose on the computer. That will give me some good practice with
making lines and filling in areas. The first step is to transfer your image to
the wood. Carbon paper works great for this, but I don’t
have any and the shops are closed. So I’m improvising. I took a soft pencil and covered the entire
back of the image. Then I placed the image on the wood and traced
all the lines with a pen, pressing down pretty hard. This method works, but the lines were a bit
faint. So once I was done I made them clearer with
a pencil. You’ll need a wood burning tool, which looks
something like this. They usually come with different tips that
you can screw onto the end. I started with the thin tip, because it looked
the easiest to me, but I tried a few others along the way as well. Plug it in and give it a good 5 to 10 minutes
to heat up. In the meantime, open up a window or two to
get some ventilation going. I started making some practice lines on the
back of the wood, but I quickly got bored with that and moved on to the real thing. Take it nice and slow. If you go too fast, the tool cools down too
much and it won’t leave a nice line. But if that happens you can easily come back
later and fix it up. You don’t need to push it into the wood
very much, a light touch is enough. It usually becomes harder the more you push,
because the grain of the wood gets in your way. If you’re getting sidetracked by the grain,
just lift up the tool and put it down where your line needs to be, making little dots
or dashes. Once you get your first line down, you can
go over it again more easily. I found it worked best to rotate the work
piece to align it with my hand instead of the other way around. Dragging the tool definitely works better
than pushing it along the surface. Keep turning your work to match your hand
position. The thin tip bends pretty quickly when it’s
hot, so I just kept rotating the tool every now and then to keep it sort of straight. Carbon also builds up on the tip, which makes
it less effective at burning, and the rotating helps with that as well. As I expected, the curves were a little bit
trickier than the lines. But it’s not bad for a first try. I let the tool cool down and then switched
to a wider tip to fill in the areas in between the lines. This worked really well. The color is much more even and smooth than
with the thin tip. And of course, once I got the hang of it and
stopped paying attention, I filled in one of the wrong areas. Aargh… Well, that sucks for me, but I guess it’s
good for you, because it gives me a reason to try out a way of fixing mistakes that I
heard about. I finished up the rest of the design while
the tool was still hot, and just hoped that I would be able to fix my mistake later. So I heard that to fix any mistakes you basically
just sand the black area away with some sandpaper. I only want to sand away the part that’s
actually wrong, so I grabbed a paper nail file, which gives me much more control than
just a piece of sandpaper. For the really tight corners, I folded some
sandpaper around the nail file and used it on its side. Some careful sanding later it worked out pretty
well. The only downside is that it leaves a bit
of a dent in the wood, since the burning goes pretty deep and you have to sand all of that
away. And I also got some color difference with
my wood. But all in all, it’s a pretty decent fix! I came back with the burning tool to redraw
some of the lines, and that’s that. So this is my first ever pyrography piece. I’m pretty proud of it and I feel totally
ready now to move on to the design that I actually wanted to make, which is the Haida
whale. I love the Haida artstyle and to me it’s
always reminded me a bit of the patterns that you see on a log in a fire. So it seems like a perfect fit for a wood
burning design. I followed the same steps I just showed you
for the compass piece. The many curves on this design are a bit trickier,
so I’m glad I got some good practice in. But it still wasn’t too difficult. You just need to take your time and enjoy
the process. It’s a great time to listen to your favorite
music or podcast, or just let your thoughts wander. These are the final pieces. The whale is definitely my favorite, but I’m
very happy that my practice piece came out so nice as well. If wood burning is something that interests
you, then I can definitely recommend it. It’s a lot of fun. Also, the compass that I made turned out to
be a great practice piece, so I put a free download link in the description for you,
as well as a few links to the YouTube videos that I watched to get started. If you enjoyed this video, then please leave
me a thumbs up, and subscribe for my future videos. I’ll see you next time. Bye!

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47 thoughts on “Pyrography (wood burning) for beginners

  1. What wood burner are you using, how much is it, and can you feel the heat/ does it burn you? My friend said her "cheap" wood burner burned her

  2. rotating the piece definitely helpful. Sometimes though, the pieces I do are too big for turning them around. like the most recent one of an audi r8 that is 5ft long.

  3. Instead of using sandpaper to erase the burning, try a razor blade and scrape the burning away. I used to use sandpaper, before I found out how well the blade works. It leaves a much nicer edge and surface. I have another video talking about erasing wood burnings. And hey, thank you so much for putting my video link in your description!

  4. Searching YouTube for Woodburning beginner videos and this one with the least views is the best one just from the first minute.
    Transferring the image using paper and pencil is probably the most useful bit of information to help when starting up without carbon paper or other ways to trace.
    thank you.

  5. Brilliant video! I just bought my first pyrography pen and will be giving it a go soon. I think I'll try that compass that you made because I loved how that turned out! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. I totally enjoyed this video sweetie ๐Ÿ™‚ I just found you and I have to say I am VERY Excited by the things I see on your channel. I am a Woodworker AND A Maker, I see many things that you do and make that look fun and are interesting ๐Ÿ™‚ I am very glad to meet you. My name is Shelly, most call me MOM, But I am OK With either ๐Ÿ™‚ I LOVE The MAKER Community and now I know one more Maker….WHOOT WHOOT…From MY Channel to YOUR Channel, I hope you have the Very BEST Day EVER!!! Stop in and say HI Sometime, I invite you!!!! I just subscribed to your channel and left a LIKE And will SHARE Your video too ๐Ÿ™‚

    Shelly Cole
    MOM ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hi there thanks for the tips on pyrography I've tried it but not that brilliant at it but I'll keep trying. I tend to dig into wood and it makes it harder like you mentioned in your tutorial.
    Thank you
    Tim from wood 4 nothing

  8. I just got A wood burner and will try and see if A 71 year old man can learn A new skill lol You did A great job explaining . I definitely learn something listening to you

  9. With simple designs I have taped the image to the wood and burned the basic outline right through the paper.

  10. Nice! I;m going to try it. I couldn't find the compas link to download it though. i love the haida whale. going to look for that on line

  11. Good video.. Nice Orca whale.. & it's pronounced "Hi-dah" (check our Tulalip casino artwork (Tulalip covers a group of different Pnw tribes) thanks again for your info

  12. Great Video. I'll order me a beginner set. ๐Ÿ˜Š Do you know if there's a time limit to a session of burning?

  13. Thanks. My first project will be "Plan your Work then Work your Plan"
    But would a magnifying glass work?

  14. There are other kits that use various wire shapes, which is the best type to get, the pen and changeable nib or wire type? cheers

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