Interested in pyrography art but not sure exactly what it involves? You've come to the right place. Follow our pyrography guide for everything you need to get started.
What is pyrography?
Pyrography is the art of decorating wood with burn marks using a heated object like a metal pen.
The term literally means "writing with fire" and comes from the Greek words "pur" and "graphos".
It's believed the age-old art of pyrography dates back to the cavemen, however it can officially be dated back as far as the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD), where it was known as fire needle embroidery.
Also known as wood burning, pyrography can see some exquisitely beautiful and detailed pieces of art created. It's a great technique for skilled sketchers to try their hand at a new material, creating wonderfully decorative patterns.
Different tips on pyrography pens and equipment allow you to create a wide variety of brushstrokes for different effects, while different amounts of pressure allows you to achieve different colour tones. Keep scrolling to discover more about pyrography, to get top tips and tricks, and for the best pyrography starter kit to get you going.
You will need:
* A pyrography pen
* A piece of nice soft wood
* Assorted pyrography tips (around four of five)
* A polishing compound like fine sandpaper
* A pen holder
You should be able to get everything you need with a good pyrography starter set. This one comes with the wood burning tool set, which gives you a pyrography tool, pen holder, stand and five screw-on tips. The box itself is the perfect place to try your art out on, too.
Pyrography tips and tricks:
Monochromatic pictures and designs are best suited to pyrography art, with wildlife, swirling patterns, pets, and geometric prints being popular.
Preparing the wood
The wood you choose should be a nice soft wood, like pine, ash or maple. They are easier to burn and lighter in colour to give good contrast to your artwork. Yo will need to sand down the wood with a good 320-grit sandpaper, going in the direction of the grain. Make sure the surface is clear of dust and clean by wiping it with a damp cloth afterwards.
The smooth surface will make it easier for you to transfer your design and create a clearer finished product.
Transferring your design
You may feel confident enough to draw your idea freehand. But, if not, you can transfer your template pattern onto the wood. Graphite or carbon paper is a good way to achieve this. Simply print out the design you would like, place the carbon paper over the wood with the image on top, and trace the outline. Or you can use basic tracing paper.
When it comes to your designs, it's a good idea to turn to social media, like Instagram or Pinterest, for inspiration.
Preparing pyrography tools
You should have a handful of different nibs to work with. Insert the nib you wish to try before turning on your pen, and rest the pen on a holder while it hots up. It's a good idea to practice on a sample piece of wood before attempting your final design.
Wood burning techniques
1. Use light strokes and don't press too hard with your pyrography tool. Build up layers of colour from light to dark. You can easily make light areas darker but not vice versa. Sometimes you can use sandpaper to correct a mistake but if it's too dark this might not work.
2. Go with the grain when burning, so position it in a way that when you pull the pen towards you it's the right direction to go with the wood. Going against the grain will create resistance and make it harder to do.
3. It's a good idea to create the outline of your picture first and then fill it in.
4. Take time out to clean your tips as carbon build up can affect your pen use. You can use aluminium oxide on your pen when it's cool.
The writer is a freelancer
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